Batch tasks to boost productivity (here’s how)Posted on 24/07/2019 by Jess O'Connor
When you study from home, you’re not only in charge of your own learning – you’re also in charge of time management, administration, technology, email communication, and all of the other little things that come with remote study.
If you’re not careful, you could find yourself spending an entire ‘study day’ doing tasks like emailing your tutors, updating your laptop or smartphone, or making tweaks to your study schedule.
Before you know it, you’ve lost a whole day to ‘admin work’ that’s not actually getting you much closer to completing your assignments.
This type of work is still important, but only if you manage your time wisely.
The magic answer? Batching tasks.
When you batch similar tasks together, you’ll boost productivity and save precious time wasted on switching between jobs.
And the best part is, batching tasks is easy. All it requires is a little forward-planning and a dash of discipline – two things you’ll already be good at as a study from home student.
Here are some tips.
Identify common tasks
The first step to becoming a task-batching-master is identifying which little jobs are similar. Review all of your responsibilities and categorise them under similar titles.
For example, ‘admin’ might involve email and computer updates; ‘research’ could be for doing research work about your assignments, and ‘review’ could be for doing the final proofread over your work before you submit it to your tutors.
Set email boundaries
Many successful entrepreneurs only check emails once a day at a specific time (for example, every morning at 9 am). Then, for the rest of the day they close their inbox to focus on other tasks – in your case, actually studying.
Of course, whether or not you can ignore your email will depend on the communication with your tutor and how much support you require. If you’re considering setting boundaries around email, it’s a good idea to speak to your tutor first.
Batch tasks by hour
If it’s too hard to clear an entire day to focus on one type of task, try batching tasks by hour, instead. You’ll still get the productivity benefits of grouping certain types of tasks together, while also doing a variety of work each day.
Incorporate batching into your study schedule
By now you’ll know that your study schedule is your golden document – the weekly or fortnightly calendar which tells you exactly when you’ll fit study in around your other commitments, such as work or family.
Once you’ve batched your tasks, layer these into your study schedule. For example, make Monday a day for doing research, Wednesday a day for concentrating on your assignments, Thursday a day for revising your work, etc.
Don’t give up!
Sometimes, it won’t be possible to batch tasks. Other days, interruptions will appear out of nowhere. The trick to long-term success is to get back into the routine of task batching even after a rough day or week.
Remember: it’s what you do most of the time that counts the most. So don’t let one challenging day throw off your entire month.
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