One of my Tranquility by Tuesday rules is Rule #8: Batch the little things. On one level, this rule is very simple. Keep a list of all non-urgent, not-terribly-important tasks, and do them at a designated time.
On a deeper level, though, this rule can be absolutely life-changing. Those of us who are managing complex family and personal situations, and those of us who don’t have an incredible amount of administrative support at work, can feel like the little things eat up our lives. In many cases the little things don’t take a ton of time (at least individually). It’s just that they are always options, nagging at us. Or we worry we’ll forget them so we keep thinking about them. Or we don’t want to do them so we procrastinate them. Or we do them during times when our better selves have decreed that we should be doing deep work (or relaxing!)
When there is a designated time for the little things, though, we both know they will get done and, since they are not always options, this reduces the guilt and the sense of being pulled in a million directions.
I’m currently writing this blog post as a break from my Friday Punch List. During the home renovation process I learned about “punch lists,” which are all-in lists of stuff the contractor still needs to take care of after the major work is done. During the week, I make a running list of all the little things I need to take care of, and then I attempt to plow through these things on Fridays.
So, this morning I have been a busy bee indeed. I filled out permission slips so my 15-year-old can go to a Science Olympiad competition. I paid the fee on an airline and chose seats so we could all sit together. I made a hair appointment. I MADE 5 ANNUAL PEDIATRICIAN APPOINTMENTS (shout out to the receptionist who worked with me to batch the kids into fewer days). I called my OB/GYN office to make my appointment but they have not called me back yet. I talked with the fridge repair guy about stopping by to check out a problem which we thought was solved, but was not. I made a stock purchase within my 401k (I made the annual deposit a while ago but I spread out my purchasing). I still need to purchase fencing equipment (a lot of fencing equipment…this could take a while). Plus a few other things.
Doing all these tasks at once isn’t exactly fun, but it is fun to check off many many things on a list. I feel very accomplished AND I don’t feel like all these things are hanging over my head all the time. There is a time for them…but if it’s not Friday morning, now is not that time.
In other news: Need some guidance and support while setting goals for 2023? Our Best of Both Worlds Patreon meet-up for December (12/15 at noon eastern) will feature Sarah’s annual goal-setting workshop. Last year I came up with a few random ones during this event, like learning to do make-up, and doing a free-writing project where I write about a character’s day in 365 chunks. I wound up doing both this year! Membership is $9/month, and there aren’t a whole lot of such workshops at this price point, so if this sounds good, please come join us. (You can cancel after the workshop of course…but I don’t think you’ll want to! We have some great discussions going in our forum.)
Photo: Batching lots of little flowers…creates lovely displays
5 thoughts on “Batching (and the BOBW goal setting workshop)”
Quick question – do you do your batch list before or after your weekly review? Does one order work better than another?
@Jami – it really depends on what the day looks like. I’d been working on my weekly planning a little ahead of time so I wound up doing the punch list after. But it doesn’t need to be after.
When I’m trying to get through a “punch list,” I try to tie in something to make the experience more pleasurable, like listening to a favourite playlist, lighting a candle…or both! Since the tasks often don’t require deep focus, this gives me something to look forward to, in addition to checking things off my to-do list. I think this concept may have been suggested in one of your books, but alas, I can’t remember what you called it!
@Amy – yep! I had the fire going in my office fireplace while working through my punch list this morning. Nice and toasty…
Where do you keep track of your weekly punch list? In your planner or digitally?