Batch the Little Things

Do you ever find yourself looking at your to do list and noticing a bunch of small, non urgent tasks staring at you? You know, those smaller tasks like book oil change, make a doctor’s appointment, ship that return back at UPS, buy stamps, drop off donations, and clean the inside of the microwave where that pasta sauce got all over. They’re those tasks that keep nagging at you on the list but can often get delayed by a week or even a month. So, how do you get them done?

You batch them! This is another of the 9 practices from Laura Vanderkam’s book, Tranquility by Tuesday.

So how do you actually implement it?

First, designate a window of time for these items. It could be a Saturday morning, or a Tuesday night, or potentially over a lunch break. I will often pick an evening or lunch to do them because I like to keep weekends for myself.

For example, right now I have a few returns I need to take to UPS, two boxes for donations, a vet appointment to schedule, library books to return, medication to purchase for the dogs, and a hotel to book for an upcoming trip. I will likely batch the house of house things together and the computer work together in how I complete it.

To get these done, on Tuesday night after work, I may go to UPS for the returns, return my books to the library and then stop at the donation center on the way back since I can do them all in the same town. Then I’ll grab my laptop and book the hotel, schedule the vet appointment online, and purchase the dogs medicine. This may take me a total of 2-3 hours but by the end, all those little things are done, and I didn’t get distracted throughout the week trying to do them.

Rather than making a call one lunch break, running to UPS one night, then the library another, and then trying to book a hotel and such, I can just take care of it all in a few hours.

In your job, this practice can look like batching non urgent phone calls, emails, creating content or administrative tasks together. This obviously depends on your role and what type of things need batched but it can be applied there too.

To take this batching rule further, while I try to batch the small things together throughout the week, I also try to batch bigger things as well.

For example, I plan out the two blog I plan to share each week at the beginning of every quarter. I pick each topic and write out which day it will be posted so that I ideally don’t have to think about it when it comes time to write. I do end up moving some around but I still stick to the topics chosen for the most part. I ideally also try to batch writing blogs. Rather than taking 1-2 hours two days during the week to write each week, it would be most ideal for me to pick 2 nights during the month to spend 3-4 hours writing all the 8-9 blogs for the month. To take this a step even further, I may write all the content first, then go back and work on the scheduling and keywords and then create all the covers at the same time.

Another example of batching is planning for the week. I will spend time on Saturday or Sunday looking at our schedule for the week. This means looking at commitments, determining how many meals need prepared which also then means purchasing groceries. During that time, I may also determine what days make sense for what chores if they’re not pre scheduled. I’ll try to make sure any meat that needs defrosted for the week either goes right in the fridge or comes from the outside freezer in the garage inside to the house to make it easier during the week. In all, saves me so much time during the week.

I’m positive this practice will help you spend your time in more intentional ways. So as you move forward think about the following questions so you can put this into practice for yourself.

  • What would it look like for you to batch the little things and maybe even some of the big things
  • When during the week would make sense to do this?
  • Where will you keep your list of things so it’s easy to access?
  • How will you know if the batching is helping? What can you use to measure sucess?

Leave a Reply