How and why I batch my work – October 27, 2020

I am absolutely the kind of person that thrives on a schedule and routine. As someone who deals with anxiety, having a schedule and a routine allows my mind to focus on what I’m actually doing rather than worrying about what’s coming next. And yes, surprises do happen in my days and I have learned/am learning to roll with things when they do. All of that being said, one way that I organize my tasks in my home life and my business is to use the method of “batch working” – grouping similar tasks to get them all done at one time rather than doing each when they come up. Here are a few examples of what that looks like.

1. Meal planning – I’m going to write a whole separate post about how I meal plan, but I’ve found that it works best for me to plan an entire month’s worth of meals at one time. I do one giant grocery shopping trip at the beginning of the month, and then each week I just pick up the perishables that I need.

2. Laundry – I find that there are two camps when it comes to laundry. Some do one load per day start to finish – wash, dry, fold, put away. I find that a little overwhelming, especially the putting away part. What works better for me is to do 3-4 loads in a day a couple of times per week, dump it all on the couch when it’s clean (what I lovingly refer to as ‘laundry mountain’) and fold it all while catching up on a TV show. I’m also at the point where my boys (ages 10 and 12) fold and put away their own laundry. I fold my daughter’s laundry and she puts it away, and the same for my husband.

3. Email – I read once that you should never even look at your email if you’re not prepared to actually deal with the messages. That was a game changer for me. I have turned off email notifications on my phone, and I try to only look at my email when I have time to respond, file, or deal with the information that the messages contain. I’m definitely an ‘inbox zero’ person – the only messages that sit in my email inbox are ones that contain info for upcoming zooms/events or messages that I’m waiting for a response on.

4. Small tasks/phone calls – Every day or every week (whatever your schedule demands) take a few minutes to make the phone calls that need to be made, fill out forms, place online orders, take care of returns, etc – all of those tasks that only take a few minutes each can be batched and knocked out all at one time.

Here is what batch work looks like in my business:

1. Making products – When I first started Gingersnaps Bows I would come up with an idea for a product, I would make one or two for photos, and then make pieces as orders came in. What a terrible idea this was! Now I make all of the pieces at once – I know exactly how many I have to sell and I can keep a better eye on inventory and restock supplies for a particular item quicker when it sells well.

2. Accounting – On the second of every month, I reconcile my bank account with QuickBooks, record my mileage for the previous month, and take care of any other financial tasks that need to be done.

3. Social Media – Once a month I put together a schedule of social media posts I’d like to share. When I’m really on my game I’ll use a site like Hootsuite to schedule all of them at one time, but most often I’ll sit down weekly to plan out the exact details of each post.

I like to batch my work because once I’m in the mindset of doing that particular task, it’s easier to do more of them. For example once my focus is on writing social media posts, I don’t have to switch quickly to also making products for an order and then to updating QuickBooks. Doing more of one type of task at a time will take me less time in the end. Having a routine and a plan for my days, spending my energy focusing on a batch of tasks rather than taking them one by one frees my mind for creative thought. Even though I have been working this way for a while, it’s still a work in progress rather an a work of perfection for me.

What ways can you use this method in your home or work?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *