What is batching? Can it reduce stress around our to-dos? We’ll get to that first one, and yes. For many people that try out batching, it’s a huge win for their stress, time, and happiness.
If you’re a mom like me I bet between you and your partner, there is an endless list of things to do. There’s always something I can be doing and sometimes it’s hard for me to turn that off. I’ve worked really hard at experimenting with different productivity strategies to reduce the amount of time (and mental load) I spend on thinking about our to-do list. I’ve also worked really hard at letting go of my high high expectations of what our house should look like (eat-off-the-floor clean) and leaned into the fact that in this season of life, with young kids, expectations need to be recalibrated.
Part of me has just had to accept that there will always be something else we could be doing, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it.
Here’s a little tour of what we’ll cover in the post…
- What is batching?
- What is the alternative to batching?
- Benefits of batching
- Ideas for how to try out batching today!
Let’s get started!
What is batching?
Batching definition: batching is the process of completing similar tasks all at once, rather than doing them individually and spreadout over time.
Let’s use an example that has come up recently on my Instagram stories. What does batching mean in terms of laundry? If you’re batching you’re laundry, you’re likely picking one day to be laundry day and do all of our laundry.
Batching vs. chunking
Batching and chunking are both strategies used to increase productivity and manage time more effectively, but they involve different approaches.
While batching meaning is doing it all at once, chunking is the opposite. Chunking means that break your larger task into several smaller, more manageable tasks spread out over a period of time.
Sticking with the laundry example, chunking your laundry might look like doing one load of laundry each and every day.
Both batching and chunking can be effective strategies for managing time and increasing productivity, and which one to use will depend on the nature of the task or project at hand. And I believe, as with most things, it’s a spectrum. Let’s think about batching on one end, chunking on the other, and so many mish mashed alternatives in the middle.
Let’s use the laundry example one more time — doing your laundry everyday might be overkill, but doing it once a week might be overwhelming, maybe you decide to batch laundry twice a week doing three loads each day. Ultimately, the key is to experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you and your specific needs.
Benefits of batching
- Save time. There’s no start, stop, restart. With batching, you get it all done in one swoop. It takes more time upfront, but saves time in the long run.
- Reduce stress. Who else likes to check things off of their to-do list?! I love the feeling of takings some off of my mental load and batching allows you to do that. Once you batch, you’re done. In terms of laundry, you’re likely only done for a week, but STILL! You get it 🙂
- Increase efficiency. When you’re doing the same thing over and over again, you get in a rhythm and increase your efficiency. (Think, batching some meals and only having to clean dishes once).
Batching in action — try batching these 6 things!
There are a bunch of ways to test out batching. I’ve found that my favorite things to batch don’t become a headache when you shift from batching to chunking. If it starts to overwhelm, it might be worth exploring a different structure on that glorious spectrum we talked about above from batching to chunking.
I know people who meal plan one month in advance or two weeks out. Right now, I meal plan weekly and it works really well for us in terms of keeping things interesting and not wasting food.
I’ve you’ve ever gotten into a meal prep algorithm on Instagram or TikTok you know that there are many people in the world how LOVE meal prepping. I can totally see why and I have experimented with it a few times, but I don’t like to fully meal prep for the week. For me this is definitely an example of a time when I do something in the middle of batching and chunking. On Sunday, when we get all of our groceries, prep our Monday crockpot meal and wash + chop our weekly fruits and veggies. That way half of the work is done, but I’m not spending all afternoon on Sunday in the kitchen prepping food.
Household chores are a great thing to test out batching with because there are some real efficiencies. I know many people who tackle their chores list one room each day (chunking), but to me, that sounds like a lot more work to pull the vacuum out on five separate occassions vs. once. I love batching household chores. Here are a couple of things I batch — on Mondays and Fridays I vacuum the whole house, and on Thursdays I clean the bathrooms.
Picking up all the things throughout the house
Have you ever found yourself going from one room to the next, then back to the first room, and ping ponging around your house as you try to put things back where they belong that are scattered? Whenever I get in that mode, I end up calling it quits and coming back to it again the next day. So instead of doing that, I batch it! Most nights, I take a plastic laundry basket and walk around the house putting anything that isn’t where it belongs into the basket. When I’m done picking things up I swing back around and put things away where they belong. I call it a basket clean up!
Let me be clear — I am not telling you to only batch self-care, I truly believe that self-care should be daily and that it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to have impact. But if you could have a few hours to yourself each week, how would that feel? AMAZING, right? My husband and I have implemented what we call Parent Time Off (PTO), which is one night each week that we get to do whatever we want after work and our partner handles kids and clean up. I wrote a full post about the awesomenes that is PTO — check it out and try it out!
Buying new clothes
Whenever Old Navy has a huge sale, I like to batch shop basics for our family. A bunch of leggings for the girls, some activewear and jeans for me, some tees and hoodies for my husband. Batching some shopping helps reduce the number of shopping trips and online orders (and when I can align it with a sales that’s a huge bonus!).
Back to this example one last time! Batching or chunking your laundry are good options. I do a double batch for our laundry — on Wednesdays I do laundry for the girls and I and on Sundays I do our sheets and towels. It’s working out great for now!
Get out there and try some batching!
I hope now you can answer the question, what is batching?? And that you have a few things you’re excited to try out. Report back on what you’ve tried and how it’s helping you reduce stress and save time! Cheers.