How to Be More Productive in One Simple Step
Batching — that’s the answer
The automobile industry recognized the benefits of batching when they created the assembly line.
What I mean by batching is doing one thing at the same time. Let me explain with examples:
My mom makes the best soup in the world. She is closing in on 80 years old so I thought it important to learn how to make it for my own grandchildren. We set aside a day for me to capture her on video and in still photos making three of my favourite types of soup: beef vegetable, chicken noodle, and tomato.
In addition to making three soups at the same time, we also batched the vegetables for another time. We cut enough cauliflower, celery, carrots, and onions to fill 8 freezer bags. Then the next time I want to make a pot of soup, the vegetables are already cut and ready to go.
Another way I batch things for improved productivity is as an editor for Koinonia publication on Medium. When there a few articles in the queue, I first go to each draft and add our logo at the bottom, then I go to each article and ensure the titles and subtitles are strong. Then I check that scripture is put in the right format. Lastly, I check each of the photos to ensure they are the right size and credited properly. I find it much quicker to ensure consistency in each our stories when I batch edit them in this way.
Another example is working in the garden. Gardening can easily feel overwhelming to me and so in frustration, I have been known to throw in the towel — or in this case the trowel. So I’ve learned to batch my plan.
I will seek out all thistles in my gardens and only pull those. I will purposely bypass the other weeds and just pull thistles. I feel much better about accomplishing this one feat and getting it finished. The next time I am in my gardens, I will spend time pulling grass or dandelions or other weeds. I batch the nasties I want out of my gardens.
I also batch doing household chores like dishes. I wash all the glasses first, then the cutlery, then the plates, and finally the pots and pans.
I even batch my writing on Medium. I will write articles when the muse hits, spend time researching titles for each of them using a tool such as Coschedule headline analyzer, then search photos for each on Pixabay or Unsplash.
Each batch requires a different skill set. I must be focussed when writing but I can have one ear on the television when looking for that perfect picture. It does mean that I can go days without actually posting anything, but when they are ready to be posted, I can have up to 6 in the queue waiting to be sent out.
Now granted there are some things in life that can’t be batched — like brushing your teeth. You don't’ want to wait until the end of the week to brush them!
I bet you’re already batching in some areas of your life — like laundry. You may already be collecting all your whites together for one large weekly load instead of doing small loads every day.
Give it some thought — how do you (or can you) use batching to improve your productivity?