If you’ve ever felt like you’re bouncing from task to task like a ping-pong ball, never quite getting the satisfaction of checking something substantial off your to-do list, you might benefit from the batching method.

So, what’s this all about?

Imagine you’re making sandwiches for a picnic. If you put together each sandwich from start to finish, one at a time, it would take forever. But if you do all the bread first, then add all the cheese, and then all the lettuce, you’re using the batching method. This way, you save time by focusing on one step at a time for all the sandwiches.

For example, in professional kitchens, chefs often practice ‘mise en place’, which is all about organising and arranging ingredients to maximise efficiency. They chop all the veggies, measure spices, and prepare meats all at once, so when it’s time to cook, everything flows smoothly.

Another example of batching is the assembly line technique, pioneered by Henry Ford. By dividing the construction of cars into specific tasks and completing those tasks in a sequential order, Ford was able to reduce production time significantly. This principle is now standard in many manufacturing industries and shows how batching tasks can lead to enormous efficiency gains.

In short, task batching helps eliminate context switching, which is a huge productivity killer.

For instance, one paper found that multitasking can lead to as much as a 40% drop in productivity – when we constantly switch between tasks, especially those that are dissimilar, our brain has to stop and refocus, which consumes time and energy. And Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that jumping between tasks makes it harder to enter a flow start, where we’re fully immersed and focused on a task.

But, batching isn’t about becoming a robot and crunching through our to-do list without stopping. Instead, it’s about recognising patterns in our day and optimising them.

Think of it like a rhythm to our work.

Maybe Mondays are our meeting days, so we group them all together. Perhaps we set aside an hour each morning for emails and social media, then shut them off for the rest of the day. It’s about finding what works for you.

The idea is to free up mental space and time for those big, juicy projects that need our full attention, and also give us room to breathe and enjoy life.

Quote of the Day

Highly productive people think about their goals a lot. They think about their biggest and most important goals, and they discipline themselves to start on their most important task and stay with it until it is complete.
Brian Tracy

Tool of the Day

📖 Shortform

Shortform has the world’s best library of book summaries. Their summaries are very in-depth: you get a one page summary, to see if this is the type of book you want to read. And then you get detailed chapter summaries. Even cooler, Shortform also bring in insights from other books as little ‘snippets’, so there’s so much value packed into each page. So, if you’re the sort of person who struggles to find time to finish books, using Shortform is a very productive use of your time.