Why batching your chores is the best approach

A friend asked me this question the other day, and today I wanted to put it to you for a bit of fun - if you could choose between having a full-time cleaner or a full-time chef, which would you choose? Tough choice, right? Both would be pretty amazing, and free up so much extra time in the day!

For me, I think I would like to go with a ‘task-master’ - someone who could handle all the tasks that are part and parcel of running a busy household (I know, I know, I’m cheating…). Be it vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, emptying the bins, mopping, dusting, or one of the never-ending laundry cycles. Or the ‘chef’ side of life, with nightly dinners, preparing lunch-boxes and snacks, or the daily kitchen clean-up.

There really is a lot to maintain when you are raising a family and running a household! Which is why I want to talk to you today about a handy little method called 'batching' - it could be a real game-changer in terms of your consistency with all these tasks.

While I realise that cleaning and household chores are not the most thrilling topics, it's important to stop and think about the reality that a house and family simply cannot run on their own. Some sort of organised approach is required to ensure you stay on top of everything, and beat the overwhelm.

Today I’m breaking down my chore batching method into specific, step-by-step detail. This method encourages you to use your time more wisely, while allowing you more freedom and flexibility for how and when things get done. It also ensures that every single day isn’t consumed with a million chores! I’d love for you to give it a try if you’ve never considered it before.

Essentially, batching means ‘to combine, mix or process in a batch - which is a quantity or number coming at one time or taken together’ (Source)

In relation to home organisation, batching means you’re doing a set task at one time, rather than spreading smaller jobs over a number of days.

For example:

  • Rather than vacuuming one room or area of the house at one point, then doing another room or section at another point, you would vacuum the whole house in one go. (I have a friend who is forced to do the first method, simply because the battery power on her vacuum doesn’t last long enough! #annoying!)
  • Rather than vacuuming the house on one day and mopping on another, you could batch all ‘floor jobs’ into one day of the week, as the floor is at its cleanest straight after vacuuming
  • Rather than doing a few items of ironing every other day, you could wait until you had a big load of ironing to complete in one sitting
  • Rather than doing your supermarket shopping one day, your fruit and veg shopping the next, and your meat shopping on another; you would batch your food shopping and do it all in the one hit on one day of the week
  • Batch your meal preparation by doing a big cook-up on a Saturday or Sunday so you have meals prepared and ready to go for the week ahead
  • You could batch your house chores by focusing on one room on a different day of the week i.e. living room Monday, bedrooms Tuesday, bathrooms Wednesday etc

It is all too easy to feel overwhelmed with all the tasks you have to do in order to keep the house and family running smoothly. And if you are a Mum, there tends to be a lot of things that falls to you, especially if you’re the one who’s primarily in charge of running the household. Which is why I love batching so much! It's a great way to stay consistent with your organisation.

If you want to get more productive in your day, then check out The Productivity Pack. It will help you be more productive, stay consistent with your organising and gain so much more quality time in your day!

I've shared how I like to batch tasks into categories with my weekly planning, which is an awesome way to structure your week to tackle all those ‘extra’ tasks i.e. errands, calls to make, home projects, computer tasks etc.

I use a slightly different approach for my household chores, whereby I designate a specific day of the week for [a] certain task/s.

This method is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  1. It allows me to work around my own schedule and the schedules of my family i.e. days where I have kinder and school drop-off and pick-up (in 2 separate locations); or we have extra-curricular activities; or I’m at work, are the days I do less of the time-intensive tasks.
  2. Although there are always chores to be done each and every day - part and parcel of having a home and raising a family - I certainly don’t want to be doing chores all day long. Instead, I can focus on one particular task for each day of the week and the house is always pretty well maintained.
  3. There’s less time spent on the ‘boring’ stuff and more time in my day to focus on quality time with kids and friends, or working on my business.
  4. I am more efficient with that one task for the day when I know exactly what’s coming up.
  5. Batching helps me remain consistent with my organisation.
  6. The house remains relatively clean all the time!

If the chore batching method is sounding like a winner for you already, let me assure you it’s a fairly simple system to set up. As always, I recommend writing your process down so you have that visual reminder in front of you, and you know exactly what you need to do without having to make extra daily decisions. That process only wastes valuable time and thinking space, and reduces your productivity.

Here’s a step-by-step plan for how you can batch your household chores:

Step 1 |

Grab a sheet of paper and create 3 columns, with the headings DAILY, WEEKLY, and MONTHLY/LESS OFTEN at the top of the columns. Alternatively, you could use this more detailed one, categorized by areas of the house, that has already been created for you inside The Productivity Pack. 

Step 2 | 

Determine exactly what types of chores you need to get done in order to have a clean, organised, well-maintained home that works for you. One where you feel calm and in control, and you’re not feeling stressed or resentful about what you have to get through. This will look different for everyone - it all depends on the level of cleanliness and organisation you want and need in your own home.

* Starting in the DAILY column, list some tasks that you need to accomplish on a daily basis. These may include:

  • Laundry
  • Make beds
  • Meal preparation
  • Wipe-down benches
  • 5 minute paper-sort
  • Quick sweep
  • Empty trash
  • Full house pick up at the end of the day

* Now head on over to the WEEKLY column, and list the tasks you want/need to get through on a weekly basis. These may include:

  • Floors - vacuuming and mopping
  • Cleaning bathroom/s
  • Dusting
  • Kitchen clean - quick clean of microwave and stove-top; fridge/freezer/pantry wipe down; wipe down cabinet doors
  • Grocery shopping
  • Meal planning
  • Complete the week's paperwork tasks
  • Organise one drawer or cupboard
  • Exterior jobs i.e. mowing, weeding, sweeping

* You may prefer to do some household tasks on a less frequent basis, be it monthly, bi-monthly or once or twice a year. List these in your third column and record in brackets how often you’d like to complete them. These may include:

  • Clean the oven
  • Clean the car/s
  • Deep clean the kitchen i.e. declutter; clean inside cabinets and drawers
  • Cycle clean dishwasher, washing machine and dryer
  • Vacuum ceiling, skirting and inside couch
  • Scrub grout
  • Wash windows
  • Clean-out pantry, fridge and freezer
  • Clean the drains
  • Clear out wardrobes
  • Organise/clear out garage

Step 3 |

Now that you’ve got your detailed list of chores, you need to schedule it. Numerous studies have been conducted on productivity that state if it's not on your calendar, then it's not real. It has been proven time and time again that 'people who state where and when they're going to take action are much more likely to stick to their goals' (Marie Forleo).  

For you, this first means determining when in the day would the best time to complete your daily chores. You might consider getting up a little earlier so you can get a head start on things such as meal prep and laundry before you have to head out the door. You might do the end-of day clean up with your kids before bedtime, or when your partner gets home so he can help out!

>> Check out this post for ideas on how to more productive with your time (hint: delegation and asking others to help out is key!)

Write down your daily chores, so you know exactly what you have to do each day.

Step 4 |

Grab your calendar or weekly schedule (The Productivity Pack has some great options for weekly planning templates) so you can start to determine which days would work best for your weekly chores.

Firstly, consider which chores would be best for the less-busy days. For example, cleaning the floors can take a while, especially if you have a big house, so schedule this task on a less busy day of the week. On your more jam-packed days, you might tackle dusting or kitchen cleaning (which could be quickly done while you prepare the evening meal).

The weekends might be the best time for meal planning or grocery shopping, when you’re in less of a rush and can focus on making healthier food choices. Friday could be a good day to deal with paperwork tasks, as it will give you a fresh start for the next week. It’s really up to you and what works best with your schedule!

Step 5 |

Now that you’ve decided with days would be best suited to which task, it’s time to write it down, baby! List exactly what you’ll be doing on each day of the week so you know exactly what’s ahead of you for that day, and you’re not wasting precious time or energy making decisions. Remember, writing things down is like a mini-practise for the brain, so it’s giving yourself a trial run of the tasks #alreadyahead.

Step 6 |

Create a separate list with all your monthly jobs. Designate one day of your week to complete a monthly job - a less busy day or the weekend would be ideal, as these tasks tend to be more time-consuming.

Step 7 |

Pin this household chore chart somewhere central where you can easily see it at a glance. A notice board (e.g. cork-board, white-board, magnetic board) is a great idea for this chart and your weekly planner. I keep ours in our family command centre (which I’ll be sharing with you soon!) so it’s front and centre every day.

And there you have it! An easy approach to organising your household chores to prevent stress and overwhelm. Batching really is a great way to get through your tasks, and you may even find yourself becoming more efficient at weekly tasks. Winner!

I do hope this planning method works for you. Let me know in the comments below if you find this approach helpful, and how you go with it. And don't forget to pick up The Productivity Pack to help you set up this new process!