Nobody likes doing dishes but most people would agree that dishes are tasks that need to be done. If you don’t, you’d eventually run out of clean cutlery to use. We all have repetitive tasks that no one particularly enjoys but can acknowledge they need to get done. Tasks like these are the ones we are more likely to procrastinate on either.
Unpleasant but necessary tasks such as doing the dishes are best done by batching them. For example, if you washed all the cutlery you used for breakfast before getting out of the house, you wouldn’t have to come home to an overflowing sink. If you tried to wash each item immediately after you use it, you might get bored but if you made a commitment to wash each item after meals, you would be committing to doing the dishes only three (or 2) times a day and this seems more manageable.
If you are a teacher, you probably have to mark scripts. This necessary part of your job can seem like a chore. Every teacher knows marking is best handled as a batched task. Perhaps you mark test results by class wing. 4A in the morning, after that 4B and then 4C. Or you might choose to mark 50 scripts today, another 50 tomorrow and so on until you finish marking them all. It doesn’t matter how you do it. As long as you are able to meet your goal.
It’s not just teachers that can benefit from batching tasks. I write and schedule posts for this blog one month in advance. It’s easier to sit down and upload posts for the month on a quiet Saturday morning than to commit to writing and uploading new posts every week. Life gets in the way. There will be work to do. Emergencies will come up but if I schedule my posts in advance, I can carry on with other tasks knowing I have one less important task to worry about.
Can you think of a few repetitive tasks that you have to do? How many of them can you batch? It’s easy. Follow these steps:
- Decide what task you want to finish.
- Agree on what you want to achieve in each batch of work.
- Block time to get it done.
- Get started.
- When you are done, reward yourself. I’m off to get some tea.