Have you ever been sitting at your desk in deep focus mode, working on a really important project, and then suddenly remembered something else that you needed to do like RIGHT NOW?
And by the time you complete that task and get back to your most important work, you realize it’s been more than just a few minutes, and you’re out of the time, focus, or energy you need to get it done?
If we’re being honest, we’ve all been there – I know I have. It’s so tempting to bounce around from task to task throughout the day, letting your work be determined by whatever is most urgent from moment to moment.
Enter the power of task batching!
What’s Task Batching?
Task Batching is simply grouping similar tasks together in order to spend less time multitasking or task switching.
Building task batching into your schedule can increase your focus and productivity while giving you your time and freedom back as a small business owner.
Why should I batch my tasks as a small business owner?
It’s easy to underestimate how much time it’s actually costing you if you’re constantly multitasking. But the research shows that multitaskers are losing HOURS every week!
- Research by David Strayer, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah, showed that 98% of people focus best when doing one task at a time instead multitasking.
- A study at the University of London found that multitasking can lower your IQ score as far as to replicate the work level of someone who’s smoking marijuana or staying up all night.
- Research by Gloria Mark, Professor at University of California, Irvine, shows that when people try to get a task done while being interrupted they are more stressed and exert more effort to complete their work.
- Professor Gloria Mark also found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task after you’re interrupted.
- John Medina, author of Brain Rules, cites that when task switching, on average, it will take you 50% longer to finish a task, and you’ll make up to 50% more errors.
- David Meyer, PhD, has shown that switching between tasks can cost as much as 40% of your productive time.
How to Batch your Tasks as a Small Business Owner
So if you’re a small business owner who is constantly multitasking – you’re wasting hours and hours of your precious time each week! But if you’re ready to manage your time and energy more effectively, download the Task Batching Workbook and tune into this week’s podcast episode to learn how to batch your business tasks and productively schedule your weeks.
My Six Step Process for Batching Your Tasks
01 | Identify your Most Important Work
Write out each task you do for your business (marketing, finance, operations, client work, etc. Be as detailed as possible. Circle the tasks that directly led to revenue within the last 6 months. Highlight the 20% of tasks that contribute to 80% of your success.
The 80/20 rule shows us that there’s a huge imbalance between causes and results. It’s likely that you could do 20% of the tasks on your to-do list and still achieve 80% of the results in your business! Think critically about which tasks are directly driving your key metrics like revenue, clients, speaking events, etc.
02 | Delete, Automate, Delegate, Batch
Now separate your tasks into 4 categories: Delete, Automate, Delegate/Outsource, and Do (batch). Once you determine what you can delete, automate, or delegate/outsource, you can focus on batching and prioritizing your most important work. These tasks should be tasks that only you can do, where you’re operating in your zone of genius.
02 | Create Batching Categories
Next, batch your work into categories. You can group your work by type or by context. For example, you may batch errands, phone calls, or meetings. You may also batch marketing tasks, admin tasks, and client work. Use a combination of both to effectively create your batches.
04 | Create your Batching Schedule
Now, schedule a day or time when you will batch your most important work. You don’t need to schedule every hour of your week, in fact I’d highly recommend that you create plenty of margin in your week! You may only need to batch certain categories each month, quarter, or even year, so schedule them accordingly!
05 | Protect your Ideal Schedule
Now that you have your ideal batch schedule planned out, start setting boundaries in your business and sticking to them! Did you say that you would only check email twice per week? Then you should probably delete your email app from your phone! Did you say that you’d only schedule client meetings on Tuesdays? Then adjust your appointment scheduler to only allow Tuesday bookings, and get comfortable with saying no when people ask for exceptions. Setting boundaries allows you to serve your clients better because you’re making space for more focussed work. Make a list of actions you will take to protect your ideal week.
06 | Review and Adjust
It’s unlikely that you’ll execute your ideal schedule perfectly on the first try. Regularly review what’s working and what isn’t. Take note of the things that keep getting in your way and problem solve until you’re able to live out your ideal schedule consistently. Like anything, it takes time and effort to build a system that works seamlessly, but it’s worth the effort!
Download the Task Batching Workbook to Create your Ideal Batching Schedule!
If you haven’t already, download my free Task Batching Workbook and go through this process today. Your most precious resource as a small business owner is your time – once it’s gone, you can never get it back. Small steps in the right direction can help you protect your time and focus on the tasks that help you really move the needle – in your business and life!