batch http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10720/all en-US 10 Ways to Save Time With Batch Processing http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bills_with_cat3.jpg" alt="Cat with paperwork" title="Cat with paperwork" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="161" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The one thing virtually everyone can agree on is that there's not enough time in the day. By engaging in &quot;batch processing,&quot; or lining up repetitious tasks at certain times, you can get hours of your life back each month. Here are just a few examples of where batch processing helps me save time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-efficient-ways-to-boost-productivity">5 Efficient Ways to Boost Productivity</a>)</p> <h2>1. Bills</h2> <p>I really don't like paying bills. It doesn't add any value, it reminds me about money going OUT instead of in, and it's repetitious. For that reason, I've actually tried to time all my incoming bills and due dates so I can pay all my bills just once per month. You can actually ask your credit card companies and many other recurring billing outfits to shift your due date to a particular date. In doing so, if you have all your bills due on say, the 10th of the month, that will allow ample time for an end-of-month paycheck to come in, and you can then pay all your bills at once. The act of logging on to my online banking, getting out the checkbook and calculator, and doing the payments is much more efficient when done all at once rather than multiple times per month.</p> <h2>2. Snail Mail</h2> <p>The dreaded postal routine. There are few things I find to be more annoying than having to dig out an envelope and mail something. Inevitably though, I still have to do this a few times per month for anything from one-off medical bill payments to paying our kids' speech instructor. Each time we do this, it requires writing a check, finding an envelope, writing out the address, and so on. By leaving these types of bills in one spot and hitting them once per month (often the same night as my online bill payment ritual), it saves me time elsewhere in the month.</p> <h2>3. Blogging</h2> <p>I know I have room for improvement in the blogging efficiency category, but I have been able to achieve some improvements in my output through batch processing my tasks. I tend to write at least two posts instead of just one when I have a nice block of time to work. If I only have a few minutes here and there, I focus on administrative tasks like email, Twitter, and following up with advertisers. By splitting out my large blocks and small blocks and doing at least two articles a few nights a week, it ensures I can take a couple nights a week off and still hit all my freelance commitments while keeping my blogs current.</p> <h2>4. Homework</h2> <p>When I was in college and, more recently, pursuing my MBA, I would batch process my reading and homework assignments. I'd always try to identify large one-to-two hour blocks and crank out a lot of work for a particular subject, get that off the list, and then move on to something else. One of the biggest productivity killers is jumping from subject to subject, which is a subtle form of procrastination.</p> <h2>5. Investing</h2> <p>One of the biggest mistakes investors make is starting late. So, I started investing early, but I used to spend a lot of time researching and managing my investments. Now I've put virtually everything on autopilot, and I only set aside a little time each month to research new individual stocks and make a new trade. I do my net worth calculation just once per month, and in eliminating a lot of unnecessary distractions, research, and transactions, I'm getting the same performance with less time invested.</p> <h2>6. Housework</h2> <p>Admittedly, I'm not the biggest achiever in this department, but I do have some routine chores I help out with. And I pretty much own everything outside the house. So, I always try to lump all my outside activities together in the same day. If I'm going to have to dig out the old shoes, the headphones, and sunglasses to mow the lawn, I might as well hit the weeds, fertilize the lawn, power wash, or whatever else is on the list. I'd much rather get it all done in a large block on a Saturday than allow it to build up or have to spend a little time each weeknight gearing up and cleaning off.</p> <h2>7. Running Errands</h2> <p>I always try to limit trips out of the house. Not only does this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-0-54-per-gallon-on-gas">save on gas</a>, but it saves me time. My wife tends to go out virtually daily, but I think this is more a function of being a stay-at-home mom and wanting to mix up the routine than anything else. I'll always try to gang an oil change with getting gas, hitting the bank, a rare shopping trip, or whatever else I have to get done. The mere act of going out to the car, leaving the neighborhood, and getting into town is a big time waster.</p> <h2>8. Reading Blogs</h2> <p>During a lunch break, at night, or whenever you spend some time on the web, it's much more efficient to check out a lot of stories at once via Twitter or RSS rather than &quot;grazing.&quot; You can even parse out the type of articles you're going to check out with different tabs in your RSS reader or with lists in Twitter. In doing so, you can get a lot of great content from your favorite outlets in a short period of time and then go about your day and be efficient elsewhere after a little downtime. Spending the day jumping from site to site and following bookmarks is no way to efficiently read the latest and greatest on the web.</p> <h2>9. Holiday Cards and Gifts</h2> <p>This might sound trivial, but think about it. In the month of May alone, we had our anniversary, Mother's Day, and my wife's birthday. You know when it's the day before your spouse's birthday, you have to run out of work a few minutes early to pick up a card, and then you realize you forgot to get one from the kids? Not only did this waste your time, but it probably cost you more money because you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-convenience-is-screwing-your-finances">paid for convenience</a> by going to the closest place. What I like to do is buy several months worth of cards for holidays and stash them in my glove compartment. I had each card ready for each occasion in May, signed and everything! Now that's efficiency!</p> <h2>10. Other Areas</h2> <p>Take inventory of all the activities that you spend at least 10 minutes on multiple times per month. Are there areas for consolidation? Just like paying all your bills at once or cutting down on the number of times you run your errands, surely there are other activities specific to your life that aren't captured here. If you need to, take a notepad around with you for a few weeks to identify new tasks to batch process.</p> <p><em>What are some activities you batch process?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Save%2520Time%2520With%2520Batch%2520Processing.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Save%20Time%20With%20Batch%20Processing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Ways%20to%20Save%20Time%20With%20Batch%20Processing.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Save Time With Batch Processing" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-with-batch-processing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-small-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-start-today">25 Small New Year’s Resolutions You Can Start Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-cure-chronic-procrastination-you-should-try-now">The Easy Way to Cure Chronic Procrastination You Should Try Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time">How do you spend money to save time?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/just-start-how-doing-anything-can-help-you-accomplish-everything">Just Start: How Doing Anything Can Help You Accomplish Everything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Productivity batch save time time management Wed, 01 Jun 2011 10:36:13 +0000 Darwins Money 558122 at http://www.wisebread.com How do you spend money to save time? http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lawnmower.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a &mdash; pardon the expression &mdash; <em>timeless</em> saying:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;You can always make more money, but you can't make more time.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>The staunch followup to that tends to be that you can make <em>better</em> use of time.</p> <h2>Like 10,000 pebbles</h2> <p>I've been thinking a lot lately about tiny &mdash; even &quot;microscopic&quot; &mdash; shifts in my daily activities that <strong>add up big in the long run</strong>.</p> <p>For example, one of my faves on the computer is setting up <a href="http://www.phraseexpress.com/">PhraseExpress</a> text macros to auto-paste frequently-used snippets of text, cutting down 10 secs of typing into a 1-second keystroke on each pass. Not to mention the memory overhead of needing to recall each snippet. When each instance is viewed in isolation, that's not very much. But multiply that over weeks, and the savings are phenomenal.</p> <p>Another one of my fave habits is to <strong>batch-process</strong> documents: I stack stuff I need to scan and archive into a shoebox, then every couple of weeks or so, I put on lovely music like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYykpRRuHQM">Philip Glass</a> and start an intense half-hour to an hour of filing them all. This removes the overhead of switching between tasks, since each time I do this, I need to arrange the scanner and documents, and go through a series of steps that are simply more efficient when done in one &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swell_Foop">swell foop</a>&quot; than piecemeal. Having such concentration also adds to getting the task done effectively. It's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_scale">economy of scale</a> applied domestically.</p> <p>Like any healthy habit, these involve repetition. But the <em>smart</em> kind.</p> <h2>A fair exchange?</h2> <p><strong>Spending money to save time is a <em>must</em> for resourceful people</strong>, since there are some things which just about anyone can do, like raking leaves or mowing the lawn. However, if you have creative inspiration or life dreams that <em>only you</em> understand (at least so far), there's <em>no</em> way you can transfer your innermost tasks to have them carried out, let alone communicate them to another person. More importantly, while someone you've paid is doing what you consider a boring task (and don't feel bad &mdash; it's a fair exchange of money for your <strong>focus</strong>), you're in a position to generate even more wealth, whether it's rolling in net dough or spending quality time with family. In fact, one commonplace but no less important money-for-time exchange is paying a babysitter so you can enjoy a night on the town with your sweetie. The thought that you love your kid less because of this is absurd.</p> <p>On a grander scale, books and blogs on &quot;outsourcing your life&quot; have gotten popular, with many copycats tagging on <a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/">Tim Ferriss</a>' coattails. While you'll never want to entrust some personal tasks to others, the next time you feel time-crunched about a recurring activity that someone else could do &mdash; especially if it feels like a tiresome <em>déjà vu</em> &mdash; consider doing what I call a <strong>CLE</strong>, or &quot;<strong>Cheap Lightweight Experiment</strong>&quot; to test if more life automation may be right for you. Whether it's hiring someone to do manual labor or using the <a href="https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome">Amazon Mechanical Turk</a> to &quot;hive-mind&quot; some info you need, there are plenty of options. Spend a few bucks and observe the results.</p> <h2>Usefun</h2> <p>I challenge you to: <strong>get stuff you're used to doing in an hour&hellip; done in 45 minutes or less</strong>. This could very well mean your work, due to a higher sense of structure and ordered tasks there. But it could just as easily be a household chore or other recurring activity at home. This doesn't mean you'll rush through it carelessly. It means you either become <em>more intense</em> about finding shortcuts or <em>not</em> doing/ignoring unnecessary parts (and there almost always are if you look really closely), or delegating/outsourcing it to someone else entirely.</p> <p>I find practicing this every day of my existence not only makes me sharper, it helps me to have more <em>useful fun</em> &mdash; what I often portmanteau as &quot;<strong>usefun</strong>&quot; &mdash; because events are more memorable. My comprehension and self-awareness increases. I care more, and I'm far better off than, say, someone who isn't just riddled with distractions, but is merely doing an &quot;OK&quot; job and not looking to get more out of all those little slices of time that pass us each day. That's such a sloppy waste, especially when there are so many opportunities to invest in a tool or pay a person to help us make <em>better</em> use of our time.</p> <p>In turn, when you're stretched out and relaxing &mdash; whether it's in our bed or on the beach &mdash;&nbsp; you'll feel <em>that</em> much better about it. You've optimized what needs to be tight, and now you can enjoy the slack.</p> <h2>A matter of perspective</h2> <p>As tough as it can be to avoid when you're in a jam, <strong>penny-pinching at the expense of feeling freer isn't <em>really</em> saving money at all</strong>. It's like hoarding a small treasure in a locked room when there's so much gold to discover outside the door, as scary as it may seem.</p> <p><em><strong>Do you regularly and consciously spend money to save time? Or is something you're still afraid of?</strong> <strong>And if you have questions about my specific processes, please ask!</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Editor's note: This post was selected for <a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id598-the-best-of-the-best-in-money-and-personal-finance-2.html">The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance carnival</a>!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520To%2520Spend%2520Money%2520To%2520Save%2520Time-.png&amp;description=How%20do%20you%20spend%20money%20to%20save%20time%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20To%20Spend%20Money%20To%20Save%20Time-.png" alt="How To Spend Money To Save Time?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/time-is-money-budget-them-both-out">Time Is Money: Budget Them Both Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-genius-little-button-thats-saving-me-a-whole-bunch-of-time">One genius little button that&#039;s saving me a whole bunch of time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-amazon-pay-you">7 Ways to Make Amazon Pay YOU!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-time-is-worth-more-than-money">8 Reasons Time Is Worth More Than Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-audiobooks-about-money-you-need-to-hear">5 Audiobooks About Money You Need to Hear</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Amazon batch cle lifestyle design mechanical turk money mturk outsource save spend tim ferriss time usefun Tue, 21 Apr 2009 01:49:41 +0000 Torley Wong 3069 at http://www.wisebread.com