Do you find yourself flitting between calls, your diary, emails, notifications, meetings and more calls? Does this approach work for you? Or do you get to the end of your day and wonder what you achieved? If so, batching work tasks together could save you a lot of frustration.
While batching work tasks together to save time and improve efficiency is nothing new, many people overlook the benefits it offers.
One of the reasons that batching productivity is popular is that it addresses the way our brain works. Studies show that it takes on average 25 minutes to fully refocus on a task after an interruption. If you are racing between different types of work constantly it is unlikely that you are working at peak efficiency or are fully focused on and engaged in the task. This is a poor use of your time and resources.
Email batching reduces waste and deals with FOMO
You spot the little envelope notification. What if it is important? FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a great motivator for frequent inbox checking. You’ll just stop what you are doing and check. Then you fall down the email rabbit-hole. By choosing set times to check and deal with emails throughout the day you reduce distractions and stay on top of communications.
Dealing with client emails is a familiar task for me as a VA, from weeding out the spam and recording information in the diary to responding to customer enquiries to filing emails appropriately for easy recall of information.
Invoicing – choose the right time
Checking, issuing and paying invoices, not to mention chasing payments all take up valuable business time. Instead of dealing with them as they come in or invoicing sporadically, send invoices once a month and pay your bills weekly. Decide what would work best for you and schedule time for you, your employees or your Virtual Assistant to work through these tasks all at once.
By batching work tasks this way you also significantly reduce the risk of mistakes and items slipping through the net.
Back-up your systems on schedule
This is an essential task. Imagine the fallout if there was a hack, if your website went down, if your email account disappeared or some unimaginable loss occurred. Scheduled automatic back-ups of all of your systems are an important part of running a business. In addition to scheduled back-ups, I also carry out manual back-ups for clients as an extra measure. I batch these tasks and do this once a month across all systems.
Diary planning for effective time management
Effective diary planning ensures that you know what deadlines are coming up, where you need to be, when and that you don’t overbook yourself. A well-run diary also enables you to identify meetings, tasks and more that you could delegate. Despite physical meetings, site visits and industry-specific appointments taking place largely online now, it is still important to plan time out effectively.
Setting specific time aside to go through your diary-related tasks, to book meetings in, to follow up, clarify etc is important if you are to maintain a manageable schedule. Unsurprisingly, diary planning is a batching productivity task I am regularly asked to provide support with.
These are just a few examples of how batching work together can help free up time, remove errors and allow you to focus better on the essential running of a business.
If you or your employees are in the habit of flitting from task to task, optimum efficiency can’t be achieved. In addition to this, the mental load that comes with this type of work methodology is tiring and will affect motivation, productivity and wellness over time.
Those familiar with deep work (thank you Cal Newport) will know that true focus is impossible if you are distracted. By batching work tasks and scheduling time to work through them, you will catapult your productivity to a new level while avoiding irksome pitfalls associated with flitting.
If you would like to know more about my Virtual Assistant experience and how I can help you with your outsourcing needs, including batching work tasks, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07970 955535.