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Take any task and think about the set up time that you need to prepare for and execute before doing any real work. Take for example your laundry, if you do laundry and most of us do, there is a little set up that must be completed before doing your first load and all subsequent loads. The concept of “batching” is that limiting the set up time of most tasks you can become much more efficient. Going to back our laundry example, if you do a load a day, 7 days a week, that’s 7 set up sessions and 7 finishing (folding) sessions. If you pick one day a week to do your laundry that is 1 set up session and 1 finishing session.
Taking this logic to the office, it can make an amazing difference in your effectiveness as an owner or employee of any organization. I learned this lesson years ago when we were moving towards a “paper light” environment. As we began our review of other insurance agencies that were implementing similar processes, most were buying individual scanners and having each person scan each page that would be attached to the client account. Our approach was to process the paper, daily batch the paper into an alphabetical file, and then only once scan the large file pointing all activities back to that one date file. This process has served us well over the years to be much more efficient in our processing of new and renewal business.
As a sales person I too have found that this approach makes my life much less complicated. When prospecting, I make all my prospecting calls at a specific time, making it much easier to track each call and the subsequent follow up if needed. Batching my office time which is very limited also has helped me keep my distractions down by only sitting in my office an average of 4 hours a week.
The newest example of this has been my social media usage and email. Like most, for the past 5 or so years, every since I picked up my first “smart phone”, I’ve been a slave to the continued review and answering of email. At times, I would be driving down the road and notice a message that I could quickly answer. Although this activity moved the task a head in a timely manner, the question or command that I was answering was usually an abbreviated answer that left more confusion that actually helping the situation. Thus, my email no longer comes to my smart phone. With regards to twitter, Facebook, I too was constantly checking my phone to see what was going on and who was going where. Both activates are now batched in that I took the apps off my phone and I only post in the morning after I check my email. I still might instagram occasionally, but I’m like the obese person who just lost 200 pounds, occasionally I need an Oreo!
Batch your life for one week and I think you might just agree, life is simpler, more enjoyable, and a lot less stressful. Much of my new thoughts and actions are as a result of my new study of the 4-hour workweek. If you have not read Ferris’s book, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of his concepts and ideas for today’s entrepreneur.
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