For my entire life, I’ve been a list fanatic. There’s nothing more satisfying and productive than writing down a task and crossing it off. I’ve been known to write down a task I already completed so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off.
Have you ever done that?
I was happy to see my daughter following in my footsteps with her own list making at an early age. And I swear I never taught her about list making she started doing it all on her own. Though sometimes when she was younger she did take it a little too far by wanting to schedule her leisure activities and play dates. Not all little girls want to play according to a schedule. But I was proud of her all the same.
For many years I’ve taken my list of to do’s and my practice is to block time for each task on my calendar. I do a decent job at being proactive and making sure I have a time slot for everything. While this method isn’t for everyone, it’s been very effective for me. It means fewer things slip through the cracks. I typically plan out my schedule a week in advance (Sunday nights) but fine tune it the night before, since things always seem to come up at the last minute.
I’ve recently noticed it gets harder and harder to switch from one task to another. For example, my mind doesn’t want to shift from working on a current fiction project to scheduling social media or paying bills. I waste a lot of time refocusing my mental energy on the new task. Especially if the task I’m leaving isn’t done, but I feel like I have to move on anyway because there are 25 more things that need to be completed by the end of the day.
Trying to be more productive, I recently switched to batch tasking. It’s where you take all your similar tasks, group them together, and then knock them all out in one time block. When you have one thing, or several related things to focus on at a time, you’re more likely to be more efficient and effective. This process made sense to me, which is why I felt it was worth trying.
Contrary to what most of us think multi-tasking isn’t the most efficient way to get things done. It’s very inefficient for your brain to constantly have to refocus on a task (though I’m a total boss at multi-tasking, aren’t you?)
On my calendar, on a typical day before batch tasking, I might set aside an hour for writing a blog post, an hour for blog social media, an hour for book social media, a few hours for fiction writing, and an hour for emails. I don’t use all-round hours, but you get my point. My day was a smorgasbord of tasks, and this method caused me to bounce from one thing to another. Many times I’d just get into a groove when I’d have to stop and switch. That was frustrating and not productive.
When I decided to attempt batch tasking, I changed my schedule, so one day, I might focus on writing blog posts and fiction. Then the next day, I’d get all the images together for the blog posts and schedule out social media. I still had to schedule a time for emails and such each day because I can’t go a day without checking email, but by grouping each of my main tasks together, I found myself to be much more effective. I was able to output more work in that one longer time stretch than what I was doing when it was 5 days a week but in short spurts. And by more, I mean a significant amount more.
Now when I’m in a time crunch because I’ve procrastinated and watched too much Netflix and haven’t given myself enough time to adequately batch my tasks, I feel so inefficient.
If you struggle with getting things done in a day or feel your productivity is low, then batch tasking is something you should try. Start small and use bigger groups if the process seems overwhelming before you try and break down every little step.
You’ll also be more productive is you close your Facebook account and cancel your Netflix subscription, but I don’t know anyone who would go to those lengths. That’s crazy talk.
If you’re struggling with getting it all done, try this method. I’d love to hear how it works for you!