Productivity Hack: Work More Efficiently by Batching Your Time

Jul 27, 2015 - Joe Matar
Do you remember that Saved by the Bell episode where Jessie Spano rants, “There’s no time! There’s no time! There’s never any time!” Even if you haven’t seen the episode, I’m sure you know a lot of people like that – or perhaps it’s even you. I used to be a slave to time. I was always too busy to make time for a lot of things that were important to me. I was chronically late and time was always the excuse for everything. But it all changed when I learned one simple trick: by batching my time, I can maximize my productivity. Time batching is a simple time-management productivity hack that allows you to take advantage of your full concentration by grouping a bunch of similar activities together and doing them all at the same time.

Why use time-batching?

Streamlining your efforts in this way has three main benefits:
  1. It reduces your start-up and slow-down time. The time it takes for you to shift gears -- whether it’s opening your inbox or running to a coffee meeting -- might not seem like much, but it adds up over time. Even worse is the mental delay it takes to switch from doing one type of task to another.
  2. It reduces your daily clutter. Instead of taking five different days to work on a short project, you have one. Instead of having several scans of your inbox each day, you have one. It just simplifies everything.
  3. It improves your focus. As you work longer on a task, you can begin to enter “flow.” Flow is the state of mind where work becomes easy and distractions melt away. Successful batching is like meditation for your work.

How to start time batching to increase your productivity

Not sure how to get started? Here are some ways that you can consider time batching in your life to save time, reduce stress and increase your productivity: (Click here to tweet this list.)
  1. Email: Set aside batches of time solely focused on email so you can knock out all of them in an hour.
  2. Reading: Compress your personal development reading into one or two time slots per week.
  3. Blogging: Write multiple posts at a time, then schedule using your blogging platform’s scheduling feature.
  4. Phone calls: Keep a running tab of the people you need to call and empty it once per day. When scheduling calls, block out a section of time to do them all in one sitting.
  5. Entertainment: Batch all your fun and play time at the end of the day so you’re motivated to get your work done.
  6. Assignments: Try to do all your assignments or tasks for a specific project or client in one sitting. This can mean spending several hours one day working on a single assignment. Having this time carved out prevents procrastination.
  7. Cleaning: Do all your cleaning-related chores at one time during the day or week.
  8. Shopping and errands: Save some gas and do all your grocery shopping and errand running to the post office at one time.
  9. Cooking: No time to prepare proper meals? Set aside a few hours Sunday to prepare quick meals for the week.
  10. Thinking: Schedule time so you have an hour or two of uninterrupted thinking, brainstorming and clarity.
  11. Planning: Set several hours aside to do all your planning for clients, your next big goal or specific projects.
The best thing about time batching is that it helps you avoid distraction. Every time we become distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus, and that adds up over time. That’s why it’s important to intentionally manage your time -- otherwise there’s a good chance that you aren’t focused during most of the day. To be your happiest, be as effective and productive as possible during the workday, so you can enjoy more time with your family, have new experiences and prioritize play and fun. Sara Davidson is founder and CEO of Hello Fearless, whose Boss School and Core 4 courses help women discover their passions, overcome their fears, and build a successful business and fabulous life.