Editor’s note: This is a guest article by our friends at G2 Crowd, a peer-to-peer review site headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
Workers must embrace the idea of working smarter, not harder if they want to keep up with their peers—but that is much easier said than done. Time batching (or task batching) is just one of many time management strategies you can use to work smarter and increase your productivity.
How to use time batching to increase productivity
The idea of time batching is similar to the assembly line—an innovation that transformed the automobile industry and spurred the industrial revolution when it was implemented at Ford Motor Company in 1913. By assigning a specific task to each worker at the Model T factory, Ford could manufacture cars much more quickly, enabling the company to sell them for much less and eventually revolutionizing transportation as we know it.
Time batching challenges you to look at your assignments like Ford did Model T production and group similar tasks together. You’ll then give yourself a set amount of time to complete each batch of tasks. Eventually, you’ll find that you can focus on your job duties more easily and effectively increase your productivity. Ready to revolutionize the way you work? Follow these steps to utilize time batching.
1. Batch your tasks
Before you begin your work for the day, take a moment to group similar tasks together. For example, you might group reading and sending emails, preparing for meetings, and doing research in separate batches. Then, figure out how long each group of tasks will take you—you can use a time tracking tool to give you a more accurate estimation of this. You’ll end up with a to-do list or schedule that you can follow for the day. Complete each batch.
2. Complete each batch
Begin with your first batch of tasks. Try not to get distracted and only work on those specific tasks you’ve assigned yourself in the first time batch. After a break, move on to the next batch until all of your batches are complete. Keep track of your progress with project management tools so you don’t forget where you ended at. As you go along, you may find that certain tasks take more or less time than you initially thought, but don’t worry, that’s just part of the process. Either make a note to adjust the number of minutes you spend on that task batch the next time you do it or look into a way to use process automation to help you knock out tedious, time-consuming tasks more quickly.
3. Take Breaks
Taking breaks is crucial to your time batching success. You’ll need time in between batches to recalibrate and address anything that might have come up. Take 10 minutes or so to check Slack, answer urgent emails or texts, and maybe grab a snack or drink, then move on to your next time batch. Backup software can help you save your work when you take breaks.
4. Re-evaluate the process
As you wrap up your workday, ask yourself what parts of the time batching process worked and what didn’t. Be mindful of how you procrastinated throughout the day, and how easy it was for you to transition from your breaks back into work. You might want to be more or less specific about how you batch your tasks, or you might want to work in longer or shorter time increments. Your time batching method will evolve the more you use it.
Batch your way to victory
Continue to track your time and attendance at work to watch your productivity increase as you become better at time batching. The more you nurture good time management habits, the more you set yourself up for success. Soon enough, you’ll be getting more done in a day than you ever thought possible. You’ll feel great about your increased productivity, and your manager will too.