How To Use Time Batching in 5 Steps (With Benefits and Tips)
Updated June 24, 2022
When managing responsibilities, people might try different time management techniques, like time batching. Organizing your tasks into similar categories with this method can help organize workdays into separate segments to improve productivity. Learning about this technique and the ways you might implement it can help if you want to better manage your workload. In this article, we discuss what time batching is, its benefits, how to use it and tips for using this technique.
Related: Why and How To Organize Time
What is time batching?
Time batching is a technique where you group similar tasks together and work on them together. This typically includes grouping smaller tasks that contribute to larger goals. With time batching, you might work on these tasks for a specific amount of time or until you complete a certain number of tasks. There are two ways you might categorize tasks:
Deep tasks: Deep tasks often require a high amount of concentration to complete. These might be tasks that take longer to complete, like writing new documentation.
Shallow tasks: Shallow tasks are simple tasks that you can quickly complete. These might include tasks you can use while distracted, like sending emails.
Benefits of time batching
There are several key benefits from using the time batching technique:
Minimize distractions: By setting clear goals to complete, you can minimize the number of distractions you can encounter by switching tasks.
Improve productivity: Multitasking can cause you to adjust your thought process between tasks. By continuously working on similar tasks, you can improve your productivity.
Increase focus: By working on one specific task at a time, you can increase your focus more than you can if you need to switch between different tasks.
Relieve stress: By setting focused goals with time batching, you could minimize some of the stress caused by thinking about how many other tasks you may need to complete.
Improve prioritization: Categorizing your different tasks, you might identify priorities that can help perform them in a particular order. For example, you might answer all emails early in the morning to respond to urgent requests before starting the next group of tasks.
How to use time batching
There are several steps you can take to start using time batching:
1. Define your larger goals
Before identifying the specific tasks you have to complete, consider the larger goals you hope to achieve. These can be both long- and short-term goals. This can motivate you when listing your tasks, as you can understand how your contributions achieve larger goals. Knowing your goals can also help you ensure you evaluate each area of a project and what resources you might need to complete your tasks.
2. Determine your tasks
Once you have project goals, you can list the tasks you need to complete. You can simply write each item you need to do on a bulleted list. Considering your goals, you might link these goals to your timelines. For example, you might list all the tasks you want to achieve in a day, a week or a month.
3. Categorize and batch your tasks
Reviewing your task lists, you can categorize similar tasks. You can group your tasks in a few different ways:
Tools: You can group tasks based on the tools you need to complete them. For example, you might group all the tasks you need to complete in a customer database in one category.
Function: You can group your tasks based on the function you perform to complete them. For example, you might group all marketing tasks together.
Objective: You might group tasks based on the objective they complete. Software developers might group all the tasks related to one application together.
4. Determine a loose schedule
Once you have your batches, you might determine when you plan to complete each. For example, you may decide to perform all social media tasks between nine and 11 each day. Keeping each batch separate helps you focus on the tasks you have in progress. Considering the priorities for each task group can help you define a loose schedule for these groups. It can also help to estimate the time you spend on each task and generate the sum of time spent on each task. This can ensure you have enough time to work in each area.
5. Review your process
Once you start time batching, you can review how it can work best for you. You might want to re-categorize each batch as you receive more responsibilities or if you find different ways are more effective. For example, you might try to work on everything for one account in a batch but decide to batch tasks by tools. Instead of focusing on one account, you might send emails to all accounts from nine to 10 every day. Reviewing your process and adapting can help you become more productive and focused.
Tips for time batching
Here are several tips you can use for effective time batching:
Use digital tools: There are several task management tools and programs you can use to batch your tasks. Although all you might need is a notepad and a pencil, technology can help you easily access your categories.
Eliminate other distractions: Although time batching can minimize distractions you might experience when switching tasks, consider eliminating other distractions.
Gather feedback: Consider sharing your plan to time batch with others on your team or in your organization. This can help others adopt similar techniques and let them know when you might be working on certain groups of tasks.
Take breaks: Although the main purpose of time batching is to focus on a group of tasks before moving on to others, be sure to take breaks. You can feel motivated or refreshed after a short break, even in the middle of completing a batch.
Set rules: Set specific rules for yourself that can help you focus on completing each batch. This might include only performing administrative tasks during their batch time and leaving anything in that category when you move to the next batch.
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