One simple way to increase your productivity is to bunch similar tasks.
Instead of doing one errand each day you do three days of errands in one afternoon.
Instead of responding to emails throughout the day you reply maybe just twice or once a day. Or week.
The advantage of bunching is that you can really get a lot done in a pretty short time. You just have to get into doing a task once. Then you can ride on the flow that the task creates to get the other similar tasks done quickly. I have found that this is often a whole lot better than if I just do one task at a time. If I do that then I have to start over and get into a flow with each task each time which wastes a lot of minutes and makes the tasks seem harder to get done.
Some of the things/tasks/activities you can bunch are:
– Online Habits. I have found the method of removing easy access to bad habits to be effective to reduce procrastination and wasting of time. This little trick has reduced my normal web-browsing a lot and made me check things that had become annoying habits – things like blog-statistics, email and my RSS-reader – a lot less than the previous 8 times a day. Now I usually check all this stuff bunched once in the morning and sometimes once before I go to bed.
– Writing Your Blogposts. While reading blogs for the last year I found that a some prominent bloggers like Steve Pavlina and John Chow like to write a whole batch of posts in one sitting. Then they just use the future post-function in WordPress – which enables you to set a future date when the post automatically goes live – and go do something else for the day or week. I have found this way of working to be very attractive and useful for a blog like mine where the topics are pretty timeless. Also, on a related note, I remember a good advice from Yaro Starak on this topic. He said that when you get inspired, donÂ´t just write one post, write a whole bunch of them. And then just post them when you feel itÂ´s appropriate.
– Running Errands. An obvious one. Visit the barber, post-office, library and pick up some new flowers in one big swoop.
– Shopping. Instead of shopping for food and related products each day, or when you feel hungry, try to get most of grocery-shopping done once a week.
– Phone calls. I donÂ´t really do a lot of phone calls but have found that when you do a lot of them in a row then the first ones can feel a bit stilted and perhaps awkward. But when you have done a few of them you get warmed up and it getÂ´s easier to relax and get your points across to the people you are talking to.
And thatÂ´s some of my thoughts on bunching right now. IÂ´m sure IÂ´ll return to this topic again, possibly quite soon as IÂ´ll start listening to Tim Ferriss “The 4-Hour Workweek” this week and I hear that heÂ´s a big fan of bunching.