2 Keys to Improving Speed in Repetitive Tasks by Batching Work

Today I want to talk about something very powerful but fundamentally simple to do. It’s how to improve the speed of your work when doing repetitive tasks.

Whether you are the CEO, manager, or frontline staff, we all have something we have to do over and over again. Finding a system to improve that process not only helps you and your staff in your productivity but also helps in lowering business costs.

There are two key principles you need to consider when you’re doing repetitive work. Normally when we go through a task, we go through several steps from start to finish it. Then we start all over from step 1 and go through all the steps to finish it again. In certain circumstances doing steps sequentially is the best and fastest way to complete tasks. However, there are certain scenarios in which you can greatly improve the speed of doing the tasks, which is what we are going to talk about today.

Two Factors to Consider When Batching Work

If doing a certain task is faster repetitively than going through sequential steps

When you are doing a 10 step process, it may be faster to do step 1 over and over again rather than continuing through the rest of the process from 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. That is, you do step 1 over and over as fast as possible.

It doesn’t always mean you have to go through each step the same way repeating them one by one – for example, 11111 and then 22222. It really depends on the evaluation of the steps you are doing. You need to evaluate each step or group of steps along the way and work out which ones are better done repetitively and which ones are done best sequentially.

For example, batching all of the Step 1s and then going through Steps 2 – 4 sequentially could be better and then at step 5 you start doing step 5 repeated over and over again.

This really depends on the scenario and you have to evaluate each step in the process to work out what is best.

If switches between task takes a long time

In this scenario is best to consider the amount of time it takes when switching between step 1 and step 2. If there is a large cost in time between those two steps then consider doing step 1 sequentially first before then switching to step 2.

One example is the long time it takes when setting up video equipment to record videos. This particular setup process takes a lot of time every time you do it, thus it’s good to consider doing recordings all in one go instead of doing the set-up several times in a month.

Another example, which we did recently, is when updating multiple blog posts for a newly launched website. The typical way you could go about this task is to open one blog post, edit it, and then save it. However, the opening time for the blog post is really slow. That is, the time between step 1 and step 2 is quite long. It’s a lot faster if you open many blog posts in edit mode all at once. While they load in the background you can immediately start work on each blog post, saving you from waiting for the load time on each page. Those seconds when done over and over again really add up!!

So just to summarize it, every time you do a big batch of tasks, work out if it’s quicker to do the step by step or look for steps to speed improvements; if a step can be done faster over and over OR if the cost of switching between steps is high. The look to do those particular steps repetitively.

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