How much time do you spend transitioning between tasks each day? According to a study by University of California, Irvine, ”people switch activities on average of every three minutes and five seconds.” Then, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.”
It may sound simple, but batching similar tasks together will decrease the amount time you waste transitioning between projects and increase your productivity.
Which tasks should you batch together? That depends on the nature of your job and industry. Here are 6 ideas to give you a jump start:
1) Schedule networking meetings on the same day
Cut down on driving time and schedule meetings in batches according to geographic location. It’s not efficient to zig zag your way across the city. Instead, see if the people you’re meeting can meet back-to-back at the same coffee shop.
2) Set specific times to respond to emails
Instead of checking your email every 10 minutes, schedule specific times to check emails. Too often we waste time reacting to what comes through our inboxes instead of proactively scheduling blocks of time to tackle our incoming emails.
3) Write content in large batches
As much as possible, our team at Innovatively Organized tries to set aside large blocks of time to write content for our blog and social media. It can take some time for the creative juices to start flowing, so batching blog posts together encourages us to write as efficiently as possible. We recognize that not everyone has content writing in their job descriptions, but the same concepts can be applied to any projects you work on consistently.
4) Read articles & newsletters at designated times
It seems like there is a never ending supply of articles to read and industry newsletters to peruse. Instead of reading them as they come to your inbox, create a “Read and Review” folder. Then add a recurring appointment to your calendar to read through the folder (perhaps Friday afternoons when the office has quieted down). You can do the same thing with your RSS feeds. The key is to schedule the time on the calendar.
5) Scan papers once a week
When you’re trying to go as paperless as possible, your electronic files will only be as good as the last time you scanned your documents. Set aside time once a week to scan all of the paper notes and documents that you want to have access to electronically. If you don’t have time to do it, delegate it to an assistant.
6) Process expenses once a month
It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with personal finances or business expenses, schedule time once a month to organize and process all of your receipts and invoices.
What tasks do you batch together? We’d love to hear your ideas!