Modern workers are expected to juggle multiple projects and responsibilities every day. Switching between different types of work costs time, brainpower, productivity, and even happiness. Time batching is a method that promotes flexibility in completing a variety of tasks while capitalizing on the momentum by batching similar types of work together.
When people multitask and switch between disparate tasks, they have to shift their goals and activate new job rules. Moving plans is, simply put, deciding to make task A instead of study B. Regulation activating comes after the goal is set when the brain turns on the processes necessary to achieve the new goal. Each time a worker switches between tasks, they lose time and momentum.
The basic idea of time batching is simple—an individual looks at their tasks for the day or week, sorts them into buckets and blocks of time to complete tasks in a specific bucket—the buckets group similar goals together, minimizing the amount of effort spent on rule activating between functions. The time batcher then sets aside time to do each batch of tasks. There isn’t a magic formula for which buckets the time batcher should use or how long their working windows should be. It’s completely customizable from person to person.
Some time batchers find success in dividing their tasks into shallow and deep tasks. Superficial jobs are things like responding to emails or data entry work—things that require less brain power to complete. Deep duties might include creative work or strategic planning—heavier lifts that may require more mental resources.
Another option for batching time is to group tasks by the outcome, not level of effort. For example, one-time butcher’s buckets might look like this.
- Administrative tasks like managing appointments and tracking time
- Project communications, including project-related emails and meetings
- Creative work where the individual comes up with new ideas
- Strategic work like project planning and goal setting
Everyone’s time batching buckets will look different. The beauty of time batching is that it’s a customizable approach to time management that each individual can tailor to suit their needs. Batching time wisely allows workers to get more done in less time, increasing productivity, happiness, and job satisfaction.