Tim Ferriss of The Four Hour Workweek talks about “batching,” a technique he uses to be more efficient with his time.
Batch printing can be used to explain how it works. When a t-shirt is produced and the design is printed onto it, the cost of 1 t-shirt might be $151, while the cost of 5 t-shirts might be $155 (given that the the cost of a plain shirt is $1). $150 is spent towards the set up and plate creation fees.
So, the bulk of the time and expense in producing t-shirts is due to the burden of setting up the printing plates.
Similarly, when you get ready to do a given task – whether it is answering emails, doing bills or stuffing envelopes – it takes you a certain amount of time to get prepared and set up to do the task. Then, once you finally get “in the zone” and are busy executing the task, you can be extremely efficient and get a lot done.
Batching from a time management perspective means that you save time when you do a good number of tasks within a certain category at one time, at intervals that are not too frequent but still effective. With emails, for example, Ferriss batches his by answering them twice a day to avoid spending time in getting in and out of the zone of processing emails.
I’ve experimented in doing this with my lunches and, as someone who can get excited about leftovers, it’s a technique that I love.
On Sunday afternoon, I’ll decide on a menu and plan out my meals for the week. I’ll then head over to the grocery store, pick up groceries for the week and cook a few huge pots of food that I can eat during the week. This has also helped to be more efficient at the grocery store, given that I actually plan meals and the ingredients which go into making them ahead of time.
Try it! It saves me time and hassle during the week, plus it gives me a fresh and healthy lunch option during the work day.
Do you batch in order to save time during the week?