How Task Batching Can Accelerate Your Productivity
As someone who writes blog posts pretty consistently and as a content creator in general, I find that I end up working on a lot of the same types of tasks quite regularly.
Come up with an idea for a blog post, outline the post, research and write it, create a cover image, publish, share on social media.
This content creation process acts like the process of tasks moving along a conveyor belt until completion.
Initially, when I started out writing articles, I started with a new post idea each morning. Then I would spend the course of the morning, if not most of the day working on that post until I published it.
This process did seem OK for the first few weeks but then I found it hard to stay focused for such a long period knowing the amount of work that was ahead of me.
It became unsustainable.
Once I discovered the idea of task batching, it’s fair to say my entire workflow changed. Not only did I apply this technique to my blog posts, but also my other work tasks.
In this way, I was able to work more effectively and I vastly increased my productivity.
If you’re not familiar with the idea of batching your tasks then I am here to share with you exactly how it all works. As well as that I’ll share with you how I’ve incorporated this practice of batching tasks into my daily workflow to get my work done.
What Is Task Batching?
Task batching, also called chunking, is what I would call a “productivity hack”.
What I mean by this is that it’s a strategy or technique you can apply to your work to get things done faster by leveraging your concentration or energy levels.
I hope I haven’t turned you off with the term “productivity hack”; sometimes these types of connotations seem a bit unpopular but whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t matter.
Anyway back to what this technique involves.
The process of task batching simply involves grouping similar types of tasks together so you can work on each group of tasks in a time-blocked period.
The process of chunking your tasks together in this way allows you to work on tasks that you are cognitively able for.
It provides you with the mental clarity to work on the same types of tasks for a set period.
In doing this, you can prevent the mental brain fog that comes with frequently switching between different types of tasks rapidly (which is incidentally what we do when we try to multitask).
If you can identify when your Biological Prime Time is (BPT) then you can focus on more demanding work during this time like writing or researching.
When you are outside of this BPT, that is to say, when you’re mentally drained towards the end of the day, you can work on less demanding tasks so your brain isn’t totally fried.
The topic of Biological Prime Time is one that is discussed heavily in the book The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey.
The core concept of the book is about learning to manage the three ingredients of productivity: your time, attention, and energy, throughout the day.
I recommend you check out this book if you are new to the idea of “productivity” and want to learn more.
If you’d like to learn more about the book before reading it, why not check out my book notes: The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey - Book Notes, Summary, Review.
How I Apply Task Batching To My Work
In this section, I’d like to outline how I make use of the task batching technique in my daily work.
There are actually a couple of examples but let’s start with writing blog posts.
Writing Blog Posts
The most effective application of task batching for me is when creating blog posts or articles like these.
By now I have a pretty well-established checklist or process that I follow to create a post from start to finish.
I was able to develop this process over time in Notion in my Content Creation Hub.
I’ve divided this checklist into various groupings:
- Content Prep
- Ready To Publish
Each article exists as an entry in my Content Creation system.
As I progress through the work on each one, it moves to the next state i.e. Ideas to Content Prep, Research to Writing, and so on.
I make use of the Kanban board view in Notion for a great visual display of all of the articles I’m working on and the current state they’re in.
This is really helpful for an overall indication of the work I have on my plate.
As you can imagine, each grouping or set of tasks on this list requires a different level of focus and energy to work on.
With that in mind, I typically spend my mornings on research and writing different articles.
The afternoons are generally spent creating cover images, pins and formatting the content in WordPress before publishing.
This of course depends on how my day is going.
If I have very low motivation after lunch, for instance, I might go and do something else for an hour then do at least 1 Pomodoro of work on a low energy/brain-power task.
Overall, I have found that by batching the work I do in this way, I can work for longer.
Once I’ve got the first chunk of writing done for the day, I’m extremely motivated to continue working.
Collecting & Reading Articles
Once I had established the process of batching my blog post tasks together, I was eager to find new ways to apply this to other items in my day.
The next way I made use of this approach was with the content I watched, read, and listened to.
A great article I read by Tiago Forte called The Secret Power of Read It Later Apps talks about the idea of collection mode vs reading mode.
This was the exact concept that I was looking for and it really resonated with me.
The idea of collection mode vs reading mode is that you dedicate time to collecting great articles and separate time to reading them.
You are batching the collecting process and the reading process.
This is something I’ve accomplished with my Library system in Notion.
It allows me to collect articles and videos easily, then store them for when I have time to read.
I talked about my whole process for this in my article: Notion Library Tour: How I Capture Knowledge On What I Watch & Read.
With that said, because it’s so easy to save articles for later, it can seem tempting to save everything in the hopes that you might one day read it.
Every article you look at can seem worth reading or at the very least worth collecting to read later.
This addictive behavior leads to us filling our collections with mostly junk that we’ll never make use of.
This is what’s known as the collector’s fallacy and it’s an easy trap to fall into.
The added benefit of batching collecting and reading is that there is time between when you collect an article and when you read it.
This helps you to overcome the collector’s fallacy as once some time has passed you may find that an article is no longer interesting or relevant so you simply delete it.
I’ve done this so often with articles I’ve collected and it’s helped me to weed out a lot of unnecessary reading.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it worthwhile reading all the way to the end!
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