Grouping similar tasks together increases efficiency
Batching refers to scheduling blocks of time in your planner for tasks that are similar in nature and require similar resources.
The length of time could vary, but I frequently tie it in with my practice of scheduling 90-minute chunks of time to work on projects in a relatively interruption-free environment. For instance, after a half hour or more of early morning start of time, where I get rid of minor but essential tasks such as checking email, voicemail, requests for information etc., I might have a 90 minute block of time scheduled for writing articles for my newsletter and blog, material for my teleseminars, courses or website – all requiring writing, creativity, voice activated software, reference books, notes my journal and so on.
A batching session could involve contacting various people by phone, text or email, whether that be business or personal related, at a particular time in the day.
Batching consumes less energy and causes less mental fatigue since you are using the same areas of the brain and not switching back and forth from one task to another or putting demands on your energy supply by having to make frequent and unrelated decisions. It also increases productivity since you are wasting less time locating materials, interrupting yourself or deciding what to do next.
I prefer 90 minute blocks of time, which are reasonable lengths of time to be unavailable to others, and seem to follow the waves of high energy throughout the day. But smaller tasks require less time, and anything down to a half hour would be feasible. Anything less than that defeats the purpose of batching, and the benefits are few.
Other examples of the types of tasks that lend themselves to batching are back to back meetings or interviews; errands, where you visit the places farthest from your home base first and work your way back; reading magazines, blogs, websites, books and other resources in search of information on a specific topic; posting and reviewing material on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter; organizing a specific area of your home or office.
Forming the habit of batching reduces the practice of multitasking, and eliminates time wasted and things overlooked that occur when you constantly transition between tasks throughout the day.