Batching Applied To Get More Done in Less Time

I want to batch more of my activities to free up more time. This applies mostly to activities where it’s important that it gets done but when or how isn’t as critical. For example doing laundry or buying groceries. Answering texts or cooking. 

The principle of batching is based on the fact that a lot of activities have a fixed time component. If you go buying groceries the fixed time will be spent on getting to the store, paying for your stuff and going home. It won’t change of you buy 1 item or 20 items.

Let’s look at my grocery shopping habits to illustrate this. My fixed time cost for buying groceries is about 20 minutes.

No batching: In this hypothetical case I buy the groceries I need on a daily basis. After a week that totals 2 hours and 20 minutes and 9 hours and 20 minutes in a month.

My current level of batching: I buy groceries twice a week. This totals 40 minutes per week and 2 hours and 40 minutes per month.

The current time savings are pretty neat. But I can improve. Currently I mostly buy a lot of minced pork meat, milk, frozen vegetables and peanuts. It’s part of my high protein food protocol. This can of course be applied to any food. The limiting factors will be the shelf life of these products and storage capacity.

Let’s have a look at current storage capacity and work backwards from that.

Current capacity:

Freezer: Can hold ~ 20 kg of dense food. ~ 10 kg of that is free.

Refrigerator: Can hold 40kg +. Likely not a limiting factor.

How much do I consume per day?

750g meat

500g veggies

1,5l milk

100g peanuts

Final part of the equation is shelf life per product category:

Meat ~ 5 days in fridge

Milk ~ 10 days in fridge

Veggies: unknown but estimating 5 days in fridge

Peanuts: not a limiting factor

Looking at the above numbers we can move on and build our equation. Firstly, we can store five days of food in the fridge without using the freezer. Secondly, between day 5 and day 10 we need to start storing meat and veggies in the freezer. Post day 10 we need to store everything in the freezer except for the peanuts.

Our assumed limiting factor as an equation can be seen below. Due to my yet limited math knowledge, this function only works when d is 10 or above (as otherwise we get negative numbers from veggies and meat.) 

Freezer(d) = Meat dw (d-5) + Milk dw (d-10) + Veggies dw (d-5) 

d = days

dw = daily weight

Let’s solve for Freezer(x) = 10kg.

0.75d – 0.75 * 5 + 1.5d – 1.5 * 10 + 0.5d – 0.5 * 5 = 10

=

2.75d – 21.25 = 10

=

d = (10 + 21.25) / 2.75

=

d = 11.4

11.4 days!

This means groceries can be bought every 11 days with no negative impact. And how much time will be saved?

30/11 is 2.7 grocery shoppings per month. Let’s say 3. That is 1 hour per month. 15 minutes per week. Compare that to the current of 40 minutes per week and 2 hours and 40 minutes per month. 25 minutes extra per week. Taking it to the next level could include buying a bigger freezer. There is always room for improvement.

Imagine if you applied this to something in your life. You could unlock time for reading, socializing or anything else that you prefer. Without any sacrifice. It’s basically a free lunch.

I can’t wait to apply this to more activities like cooking, laundry, social media, news consumption and more.

What activities are low hanging fruits for you to batch?

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