This article is part of the Sales and Marketing Efficiency Hacks Series focused on helping entrepreneurs save time and increase productivity and effectiveness.
Distractions are the enemy of productivity.
And there are plenty of distractions for the busy #bossbabe. Emails, phone calls, instant messages, client issues, technology fails, meetings and impromptu conversations…
It’s super common for us to move through the day in complete reaction mode, responding to everything being thrown at us. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that need our attention.
I can remember my early days in business when I would sit back at 6pm and look over what I had accomplished that day and want to cry because I hadn’t gotten to any of the important tasks that I had outlined for myself.
I had spent all day responding to what was thrown at me. I couldn’t focus on the stuff that really mattered.
I had been very busy, but I hadn’t been productive.
Sound familiar to you?
Then I discovered the principal of batching.
Listen up because, batching is seriously going to change the way you work and make you insanely productive.
It literally changed my life. And it will change yours too.
WTH Is Task Batching?
It’s the magical unicorn of productivity that increases your mental sharpness, concentration, creativity and general awesomeness while also saving you time.
You’re paying attention, now right?
Batching (time blocking, task batching, or batch processing) is where you reserve chunks of your time dedicated to one specific task or group of repetitive tasks.
Here’s where the magic happens, during this time you will not allow anyoutside interruptions. When you are batching you use this time to focus only on the task at hand, literally the entire time.
Why Does Batching Work?
To fully understand why batching works, lets first take a scientific look at the impact of multitasking and distractions.
Multitasking lowers the quality of your work.
The brain works best when it is allowed to focus on one task at a time for longer blocks of time.
According to research conducted by Stamford, people multitasking and switching repeatedly between several different tasks “do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”
Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks most successfully.
Multitasking and interruptions are also mega time wasters.
Each time that you switch tasks it takes an average of 25 minutes to effectively return to the original task after an interruption, according to Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine.
That is 25 minutes you could have gained in your day by eliminating that one distraction and concentrating on the task at hand.
So, if you shift tasks 3 times while working on an article, that’s a total of up to an hour and 15 minutes lost!
“Aint nobody got time for that!”
Enter the power of batching your time and tasks.
Batching eliminates distractions and allows your brain to focus on one task at a time which allows you to not only work efficiently but also produce higher quality, more efficient outputs.
Batching allows you to find your flow – a psychology term that basically means to get in the zone. Flow comes from uninterrupted work. So, switching between writing your blog post and commenting in your FB group – that’s gonna cost you in time and quality.
Makes sense – right?
Here’s How To Start Batching Right Now
1. Take your to-do list and organize it into groups and major tasks. For example, return a prospect call, send out a follow-up email on a speaking gig and reach out to an influencer can all go under something like “Sales, Email /Phone Follow-Up”
2. Think about how much time you need for each of the buckets or major tasks.
3. Take those buckets and the time that you’ll spend on each and put them into your calendar as appointments.
You’ll want to think about your peak periods when batching out your day. If you’re a morning person, use that time to work on the tasks that require the most amount of effort and mindshare for you, since that’s when you’ll be at your best.
As you can see, my highest priority tomorrow is recording my podcast. I record my podcasts on the same day and time every week.
Everyone around me knows this, so there are no questions and no interruptions.
I block out a large chunk of time for it during a time of day that I know I’ll have a solid energy and focus, so I get the best results.
You can batch tasks daily, weekly, quarterly whatever makes sense. You can use the re-occurring appointments jobby in your calendar for things that you’ll be doing on the regular.
Batching Sales and Marketing Activities
Its UBER important that you batch plan sales and marketing activities into every day.
These are the activities that generate revenue and grow your business. You need to generate revenue in order to stay in business. Making sure they have a presence in your day and on your calendar will help you to stay focused on the most critical elements of your business.
I like to position those them very first thing in the morning because they are so critical and if something where to happen later in the day (kid gets sick, computer blows up, I get sucked into a work emergency), I can still breathe because I know I completed the most important work already.
I (almost) always have my sales and marketing activities prepped ahead of time so that I am prepared to blow through them in the time allotted.
Tomorrow for example, in the morning session I am focused on generating 5 client referrals.
I have my list of clients to reach out to and a rough script to use already prepared. My computer will be off, there will be no distractions. This way, I can establish a flow and reach out to all 15 of the people that I plan to touch base with tomorrow.
Task Batching Truths
- It takes some prep. Lots of things require prework so you need to plan that out as well.
- Stuff happens. Even with the best intentions and a solid plan, sometimes your attention will need to be elsewhere. Don’t be over attached to the structure, flexibility will prevent you from getting stressed.
- You ABSOLUTELY MUST avoid distractions. If you don’t, this won’t work. Hide your phone, turn off your alerts, find a special place to work if you need to. If you think that email will be a huge problem for you, try blocking yourself from it.
Bringing It Home
As busy boss ladies (and moms, wives, friends and everything else), we need all of the time we can squeeze out of a day.
Using task batching I have been able to get more done, more quickly and better.
Many of my clients have had the same results.
And that’s a HUGE win.
If you want in on this magical productivity hack, follow the steps above to give it a shot.
Feeling if-y about batching your whole day and life?
If your a a more free-spirited lady who prefers a little less structure, start small by just batching out the most important activities or projects. Then you will know that you have dedicated, and undistracted time set up for what’s most important.
If you need help prioritizing what’s most important: always prioritize your clients first, followed by revenue generating tasks and then project work.
Have you tried task batching? Share your best productivity hacks with the Selling with Soul Community.