Task batching is a planning process that groups similar activities together to improve focus and productivity. A lot of us finish a busy workday exhausted, but we may not have actually crossed anything off of our to-do list. That’s because we often interrupt our focus with distractions like emails, and we start to jump between multiple projects instead of completing one.
This is where task batching comes in, helping to remove the want to check-in and multitask. By breaking projects into specific steps and sorting by similarity, you can better focus and reduce time spent switching perspectives. We know time is money, and finding the best way to utilize the 24 hours in a day is key to success and proving your value at work.
Organizing your day by function can be particularly helpful for those with a lot on their plate. Whether you’re working full-time or running your own business, task batching makes large projects digestible and improves your productivity while reducing mistakes. Clearing to-do lists with quality of work can set you on the right path to increase your income.
What Is Task Batching?
When you task batch, you plan your day to be as efficient as possible while minimizing stress. There are two things to consider while scheduling for task batching—how you can organize your responsibilities to maximize productivity, and when you are most and least focused.
Different tasks require a switch in thought process, so organizing by similarity allows you to concentrate and gives your brain a break from playing catch-up. It’s also important to resist doing multiple things at once, as it’s almost impossible for humans to multitask. When we think we’re multitasking, we’re actually just rapidly switching our focus between projects, reducing accuracy and increasing mental strain.
When you begin scheduling your day, consider that the start of the day is when many people feel most refreshed and focused. It’s the ideal time to power through intensive tasks that require a lot of thought and processing. Alternatively, many people experience an afternoon slump and have a harder time concentrating on their work. So the early afternoon may be the best time to finish simple daily needs, like emails and general organization.
Benefits of Task Batching
Task batching organizes projects in a way that improves productivity by training your brain to focus and avoid multitasking.
Improve Your Focus
The time spent switching attention and thought-process between projects can cause fatigue and reduce your ability to focus, making distractions a habit. Task batching allows your brain to stay in one mode for longer, building your attention span.
Reduce Your Stress
Simplifying projects by specific tasks makes your workload feel more manageable, and a polished schedule can help you to let go of work at the end of the day and know that you’re right on track.
Organizing your day by workflow and task means you’re spending less brain power on switching projects, and devoting your productive hours to the high-priority work that needs it most. Detailing a schedule also prevents you from the stress of crunch time and potentially missing a deadline.
How to Task Batch Your Day
Task batching requires practice, and the first step is to make a habit of scheduling your day. It takes time to build out, but it gets easier and can save you time in the long run.
Step 1. List and Prioritize Your To-Dos
Start by listing your goals and to-dos for the week, and then prioritize them into what you need for the day. You can prepare daily lists for the week at once but remember to check-in as you learn a task’s time cost.
Step 2. Break Down Large Projects
Make sure tasks are specific so they can be categorized with similar tasks. Any projects with multiple steps should be broken down to make the project easier to tackle. This gives time to catch mistakes and allows you to re-evaluate the quality and direction of the project with fresh eyes.
Step 3. Label Each Task by Function
Once you have your exact assignments for the day, you want to label them by their function. A great way to do this is to list all of the tasks then color code them, like pink for low-effort communications and blue for high-effort research.
Step 4. Organize Your Schedule
Once you see all of your to-dos and how they group, you can organize your calendar. Build blocks of tasks with similar functions, so group all of the blue high-effort/research work you need to get done, and reuse the color code in your calendar. This way you can easily identify what kind of work you’re focusing on and train your brain to switch flows.
Tips to Be More Productive During Your Work Day
When you know what’s expected of you each day, it can be easier to measure your success and improve your productivity. It can also reduce stress and facilitate a healthy work-life balance, which all contribute to your professional performance and growth.
- Tip: Turn off notifications, like email or messenger apps, so you’re not tempted by distractions and can maintain your focus.
- Tip: Sometimes priorities pop up and interrupt your schedule. It’s okay to reschedule a block of tasks when you need to. Resist the urge to split your attention between needs.
- Tip: Find a block of time when you’re most productive to schedule your more complicated or higher priority tasks. It’s a good idea to set “do not disturb” mode on notifications and communicate this with your team.
Check out this infographic to see more tips and the cost of daily distractions.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by projects and deadlines, and it’s a struggle to focus and ignore the barrage of daily notifications. Task batching helps you organize your work so that you can promote productivity and learn to truly engage. Prioritize your work to submit stronger projects and build your financial potential.