Try Batching to Increase Your Productivity

You just got into the office. You have a busy day ahead of you. Emails to read and reply to, voicemails to respond to, projects to work on, errands to run, meetings and multiple interruptions.

How are you going to get it all done? Your head is spinning, just thinking about everything you have before you. When should you do each? How do you plan out the day or week?

Instead of just taking things as they come, I’d like to suggest making a plan. More importantly, try batching similar activities rather than allowing them to interfere with one another. Checking your email multiple times an hour, while working on a project and taking phonecalls that can wait, is very unproductive.

Batching is a great way to get more done quickly. Rather than running errands multiple times a day, decide you are going to run all errands at once. Instead of checking email throughout the day, decide to check it 2-3 times. When you are checking email, do not take phone calls, check social media or research a project. Just check email.

If you can, try batching meetings back to back. Decide to return phone calls at a particular time each day. Focus on one type of activity at a time and make boundaries, keeping other types of activites out of that time.

Is it always possible to batch? Absolutely not, and we must be flexible. However, when you can batch, you should.

Have you tried batching? What was your experience? Please share in the comments below.

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  1. Stu Lester

    Interestingly, this book would disagree with you: He devotes a chapter to encouraging smaller (less) batching. It seems very counter-intuitive to me, and I don’t know if I fully believe it, but it is another viewpoint (and a very good book).

    January 28, 2015
    • adamsuter

      Thanks Stu for the recommendation and contrasting view. I read part of the book, but don’t remember that chapter. Could be a context thing. In some cases, people don’t have the ability to draw such clear boundaries. In this case, another strategy might be necessary.

      January 28, 2015