Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
One of the concepts that has shown up in quite a few productivity methods is to “batch” activities. This means that you do all like activities on your list at once.
If you have four emails on your list to send, you would send them all at once.
There are pros and cons to this technique. In this article, I will present the pros.
Switching activities takes time. The human brain needs time to jump between different activities. If you were to intersperse the four emails with three other activities away from the computer, it would take longer to do than to do them in one sitting. Another way of looking at this is if you were to run to the bank, the library and the grocery store, it would take less time to go from home to the bank, to the library, to the grocery to home than to go home in between each errand.
Open loops are created by unfinished tasks. A task is not finished if your materials to do that task are still not put away. For instance, if I have a batch of mending to do, but set up my sewing supplies on the dining room table, then mend throughout a few days, the task will get done, but I will have the unfinished business of putting away my supplies. This interferes with other activities, such as eating dinner, and actually creates more work in the long run.
Batching means you can ignore incoming things. If you know that you process all your email at 1 in the afternoon, you can ignore your incoming email until that time. This gives you more attention to focus on the tasks you have at hand.
Batching can be used very effectively to keep people on track, while minimizing the time and energy of distractions and switching tasks.
Next time: the Cons of Batching
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