Every day we have tasks that we really enjoy and look forward to. And there are also those tasks that we hate doing. Tasks that mostly feel like chores or boring administrative work like going to the bank, doing your laundry and buying food for your pet.
Those are not just annoying to have to deal with on a daily basis, but they also rob us of our productivity and focus. How much better would your days be if you didn’t have to worry about all those little chores?
Let’s look at some ways of how to handle those better so you can enjoy more distraction free time every day.
Hands down the most effective method for me has been to batch or group all the administrative and maintenance tasks in one big time chunk over the weekend. That time chunk of a few hours sure sucks, but after it’s done my weekdays are free for creative work.
The Advantages of Batching
The batching isn’t just about shifting the tasks around from one day to the next. If you create a good routine with all your chores batched in one you can find a lot of ways to optimize them and do them faster.
Another big advantage is saving that “ramp-up” time that your brain needs to get back to effective work after a distraction. Say you’re working on your big project, everything is going really well, you’re in the zone. But then you get a text notification saying that you haven’t paid your phone bill and you have to go pay it immediately.
Well even if the payment is online and it takes just a few seconds, you still got distracted. It would still take you a few minutes to get back to the same level of focus to work on your project.
A few minutes doesn’t sound like a big deal, but what if you have 10 of those administrative and maintenance tasks that pop up every day?
My Weekly Batch
I’ve been doing the weekly batching every Sunday for a few years now and I’ve managed to get about 90% of my administrative, maintenance, and chore tasks done in that time.
Here’s a list of the most important things that I do every Sunday.
- Wash, dry, iron and fold my clothes
- Change the bedsheets
- Change the towels
- Dust, Vacuum, Mop all rooms
- Clean the kitchen
- Clean the bathroom
- Cut my nails
- Shave neck, armpit, and chest hair
- Shave pubes (eww, I know)
- Recharge Fitbit
- Recharge electric shavers
Review My Budget
- See how much money I have left to spend for the monthly budget
- Collect all the receipts and write them in the budget
- Withdraw cash from PayPal (I get paid via PayPal)
- Clean my shoes
- Tighten the braces (for teeth straightening)
- Cook a pot of lentils soup for the whole week
Naturally, not all tasks need to be done every week so I batch those rarer tasks for the first Sunday of every month. That also coincides with the Weekly batch for the same Sunday, so I have to set aside some additional time to do both.
Here is my monthly batch.
- Get fuel (one full tank lasts me for the whole month)
- Check oil levels
- Check tire pressure
- Refill water tank
- Shave legs
- Shave nose hair
- Cut toenails
- Get a haircut
Update / Review statistics
- Review my coaching business spreadsheet
- Review my personal logs (weight, habit tracker, diet log)
- Review my blog and mailing list statistics
- Buy big water bottles for the whole month
- Buy cat food
- Buy house supplies (toilet paper, soap, detergent, toothpaste, etc.)
- Declutter home and office (throw away items that I’m not going to use anymore)
- Empty my physical mailbox (lots of clutter and spam in there so I only check it once a month)
Share the Workload with Your Partner / Roommate
As common sense as it sounds, I didn’t think of this for the whole first year of living with my girlfriend. Yes, we kind of split the responsibilities in the house but there wasn’t a clear boundary. We would both end up doing some responsibilities at times, and there was no set routine.
It’s much better if you completely separate the responsibilities so you can just take that chore out of your mind. For example, my girlfriend takes care of all the laundry and I take care of all the dishwashing. So unless my girlfriend isn’t sick or swamped with work I can completely scratch off the laundry from my chore list.
Some of the tasks can be completely automated so you don’t have to think of them at all. Notice how there are no “paying bills” in my weekly or monthly tasks? That’s because all my regular bills and taxes are paid automatically.
A lot of banks offer that service for free nowadays, and if yours doesn’t you can always use services like mint.com
It’s still important to maintain awareness of your expenses, though, so I’d recommend reviewing your bill expenses every month. That’s part of my budget review task.
What are some of your daily tasks that can be completely automated? Usually, those are tasks that don’t require any creativity, they’re routine and they follow the same steps every time.
Here are a few very powerful tools that you can use for automation:
This one would largely depend on how much your time is worth. It doesn’t make sense to do tasks yourself if you can afford to pay for somebody else to do it.
I used to do the cleaning myself when I was on a tight budget. But as my income grew, it didn’t make sense to clean for 2 hours every week when I could pay to have it done by somebody else. Instead, I can put those 2 hours/week into coaching work, which would make a lot more money than I would save by doing the cleaning myself.
You might not be able to afford it yet, that’s okay. But as your income grows, it’s worth reviewing your regular chores and see if you can afford to outsource the work.
The goal here is not to become a machine that does the same thing over and over again. It’s not about restricting and limiting yourself, even though it might feel like that in the beginning.
The goal is to round up all the annoying and unpleasant tasks in one big chunk, check them off and then enjoy your freedom for the rest of the week.