How I Became More Productive and Way Less Stressed by Batching My Time

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Batching Have you heard of it before? It is also sometimes referred to as “time blocking” or “grouping.” It is AMAZING and will completely change your life! If you let it.

What is batching?

The main principle behind batching is collecting a group of similar activities and doing them all at the same time, with no interruptions. The reason batching is so helpful and so important is that it cuts down on the time it takes for your brain to switch from one task to another.

Why I use batching?

I am a mom and a wife and my “to do” list is never ending and miles long! To make matters worse my mind is constantly moving at warp speed. If I am not careful it tends to fly in directions I never intended for it to go.

To be honest, I use to pride myself on my ability to multi-task. I thought it was a badge of honor to be able to take a phone call, cook dinner, help my son with homework, all with the music blaring in the background. Yikes! No wonder I felt frazzled and crazy all the time!

I use to think it was all of the things on my “to do” list that were making me frazzled and crabby. However, it is not the actual items on our “to do” list, as much as it is the effort it takes for our brain to switch from task to task.

Did you know…. that it takes approximately 25 minutes for your brain to actually refocus on a new task? Now ask yourself, how many of your daily activities are more distractions and less about being productive?

How many times per day do you check your phone or email? This is a great example that I believe all of us deal with to some degree or another.

How do I start batching today?

  • Start with your “to do” list. If you don’t have one, you should make one.
  • Next, you need to group all like activities together. This will really help you to segment everything and see it in big picture format.
  • Once you have everything written down and grouped together, now you can decide what on your list needs to go in what time slot.

Here are some examples of things on my list that I batch together….

  • Emails – Every morning I check my emails and respond accordingly to anything that needs my attention. I only do this once per day.
  • Cooking – I try to do all of my food prep for the week all at one time. It is so much easier to make one big mess in the kitchen, than multiple messes throughout the week.
  • Cleaning – I have a specific day that I do all of my cleaning for the week. I love having my entire house clean at the same time. I do however do minimal maintenance in this area every single day, but the bulk of my cleaning is done in one day.
  • Laundry – I used to do one load of laundry per day. However, I found it more efficient to divide it up into two different days. One day I do all of mine and my husbands laundry. The other day I do all 3 of my kids’ laundry. These are also the days where I plan to do as little outside the house as possible as to avoid not getting it all done.
  • Errands – Like I mentioned above, there are days that I try to stay home and focus only on things at home. There are also days I designate to running errands. This can be a wide array of things such as grocery shopping, Target, the bank, meeting with friends, etc. Anything that requires me to leave my house mostly falls under this category. I also try to be mindful as to what errand is located where and knock out things that are geographically located together.
  • Family Time – Life is busy, life is chaotic, and as silly as it may sound, family time is something that can easily be put on the back burner if you are not careful. Of course you can and should add in family time wherever you can. For our family though, we make Sundays “our time” and other than going to church, Sunday is the day we mark on the calendar to spend as much time together as we possibly can! It is by far my favorite day of the week!

Lets get REAL for a moment….

Hopefully all this talk has inspired you dabble in the art of batching. It is truly a game changer and a tremendous stress reliever. Especially if you are one who always feels scatter brained and never really seems to have a game plan.

However, lets get real for one minute. What I don’t want you to think is that batching will solve all your problems. The magical batching fairies will not come down and sprinkle you with magical batching dust which will then allow your schedule to forever go according to plan.

Why? Because life happens. Nothing ever goes exactly according to plan! If you keep thinking it will, you are lying to yourself! You need to leave room for error and give yourself grace when it does not go as planned. Especially when you are first starting this batching thing. You may need to tweak it a few times to figure out exactly where you want everything to go. If you need to move one task to a different time slot, or adjust the amount of time you spend on a certain task, that is ok! We were all once beginners, the key is to keep going! But whatever you do, just don’t go back to multi-tasking!

Many things in this life are not equal. Everyone gets the same 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. We make time for what we truly want.

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