Time batching is a time management technique that involves grouping similar tasks together and setting aside time to complete them all or work on them until a predetermined point of progress. Time batching is analogous to doing laundry: You do not wash your clothes, socks, et al. every time you wear them, you batch the laundry of the clothes for a particular period of time: Saturdays or Sundays. Batching reduces the setup time for achieving certain activities and you become more effective and efficient with your time.
Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and author Cal Newport describes this process of concentrated time batching as “Deep Work.” In his book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Newport writes.
To produce at your peak level, you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction. Put another way, the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work. If you’re not comfortable going deep for extended periods of time, it’ll be difficult to get your performance to the peak levels of quality and quantity increasingly necessary to thrive professionally. Unless your talent and skills absolutely dwarf those of your competition, the deep workers among them will outproduce you.
“To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.”
Cal Newport also described in his book how bestselling author and organizational psychologist Adam Grant batches his time.
Though Grant’s productivity depends on many factors, there’s one idea, in particular, that seems central to his method: the batching of hard but important intellectual work into long, uninterrupted stretches. Grant performs this batching at multiple levels. Within the year, he stacks his teaching into the fall semester, during which he can turn all of his attention to teaching his students. By batching his teaching in the fall, Grant can then turn his attention fully to research in the spring and summer … Grant also batches his work on a smaller time scale. Within a semester dedicated to research, he alternates between periods when his door is open to students and colleagues and periods when he isolates himself to focus completely and without distraction on a single research task.
In particular, by consolidating his work into intense and uninterrupted pulses, he’s leveraging the following law of productivity:
“High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)”
Bestselling author and behavioral researcher Peter Hollins writes in his book: In Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing, & Self-Discipline:
Batching is when you group similar tasks together to complete them all at once. Ford’s assembly line was essentially 100% batching because his workers only performed one task incredibly efficiently. Perhaps more importantly, it teaches the lesson that saying no to some tasks is just as important as saying yes to the correct ones. Batching teaches the art of purposeful, deliberate ignorance so you can focus on other tasks.
“Batching allows you to save your mental energy for the tasks themselves and not waste your energy on the process of switching back and forth between them.”
The more you divide your attention among different activities, the less productive you’ll be. However, if you begin doing something similar to the previous activity, you’ll find it’s much easier to get going because your mind is already geared toward doing a certain kind of task. Do all the similar tasks together, one after the other, and then move on to the next batch of similar or related activities. Effective batching can skyrocket your productivity no matter the context.
“You can also batch your distractions. This isn’t to distract and amuse yourself more efficiently; it’s to make sure that you are conserving your energy and allowing your focused time to be exactly that—focused.”
One of the great time management techniques that could enhance your time batching is the “The Pomodoro Technique”. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
The Pomodoro Technique was created with the aim of using time as a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do the way we want to do it and to empower us to improve our work or study progress continuously.
The Stages of the Pomodoro Technique
The process underlying the Pomodoro Technique consists of five stages:
- To implement the Pomodoro Technique, all you need is the following:
- A Pomodoro: a kitchen timer
- A To Do Today Sheet filled in at the start of each day with the following:
- A heading with place, date, and author.
- A list of the things to do during the day in order of priority.
- A section labeled “Unplanned & Urgent Activities” in which any unexpected tasks that have to be dealt with should be listed as they come up. These activities could modify the day’s plan.
Here are some tasks and activities that you can easily batch your time:
Batch your daily routine
One of the greatest ways to getting things done is to have a routine. Batching your routine and sticking to it daily is super powerful. My daily morning routine includes:
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Fill daily planner and gratitude journal
- Morning stretch – Daily Calm
- Take bath, Brush and Floss.
Batch Writing/Creative Time
The first thing I do when I get to my workspace is to write for at least 30 minutes – This Long-form writing involves writing about topics for the blog, ideas I want to expand on, etc. I write two new posts per week on the blog and batching it has been the game-changer.
Batch Reading Time
One of the activities I commit to daily is to read a non-fiction book for at least 2 hours. I try to read at least 100 books per year, and it is one of my favorite things to do daily.
Batch Talking Time
One of the greatest time-wasters for most of us is that we pick up every call that we see on our phone. I try to make my calls during break time and Sundays to speak with family and friends.
Batch Social Media Time
We average 3-4 hours daily checking timelines, tweets, pings, and navigating social media platforms for dopamine rushes. Social Media is one of the greatest tools on the internet, and it is also the greatest time-waster. Batching social media time can be a great way to get ahold of your time and priorities.
Batching your time is not an easy task to follow through on daily, just like any task that requires discipline. You need to Decide, Commit and Execute on the batched time. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle once quipped: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” They are many distractions, emergencies, crisis et al that would come up daily but the key to following through is to commit and execute continuously.
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.