How to do Dishes Faster (and other things too)

DISHES.

The never-ending saga.

Sometimes they haunt my dreams if they go unwashed for longer than a day

And maybe you’ve been there. You come home from a long day at work, or a day galavanting around the city taking photos and whatnot (because you’re cool like that), and you walk in the kitchen and realize...they’re still there. Stacked high enough that if you move the wrong plate the whole mountain will come crashing down on the floor, shattering into a thousand pieces.

A little dramatic? Probably. But not far from the truth.

If you’re like me, you hate menial repetitive tasks that repeat every day but always need to be done. Dishes, laundry, email...the list goes on. 

What if I told you that there was a faster way to get those things done?

What if I told you that you don’t have to spend all evening in the kitchen or all day on your computer processing email?

There’s a better way.

 

THE EPIPHANY

It happened by accident really. Tessa was cooking in the kitchen (because that’s where you cook things) and I came in to help clean up and do some dishes to help give her more space. Because our kitchen isn’t very big, I didn’t want to leave the dishwasher door down...that’s a major trip hazard. And Journey loves to come and take out HER spoons and forks (they’re different colors...she shows absolutely no interest in the boring silverware). So in an effort to keep everyone safe, I simply took all the dishes that I could rinse and put them in the sink on the right. I rinsed and scrubbed any food off all those dishes and placed them in the left sink. Now they were ready to be put in the dishwasher. 

Right about the time I finished my rinsing extravaganza, Tessa was wrapping up dinner and ready to exit the kitchen. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to have to deal with putting these in the dishwasher after dinner...I’ll just do it now.” So, I loaded the dishwasher right then and there. 

Now, most of you have not had the privilege of watching me do dishes. I’m what Tessa would call a “snail.” I move really slow. I’m not sure why. It’s probably because I feel like I’m dying a slow death washing dishes. So instead of speeding up the task so it’s over faster, I usually just stand there with scrubber in hand with the attitude of Eeyore

But this time was different. I finished loading the dishwasher and realized that...that was probably that fastest I’d ever done dishes. From gathering the dishes to closing the dishwasher, I finished in record time. 

But maybe it was a fluke. Or maybe it was all in my head. Or maybe I did it faster because I knew dinner was done and I wanted to finish quickly.

I had to test it.

So I decided that the next time I do dishes, I was going to do the same thing by BATCH PROCESSING (more on that in a minute). And guess what? I did the dishes faster again! I couldn’t believe it. My mind was spinning. What does this mean??? (sorry, a little dramatic again)

Maybe you already do the dishes this way. If so, kudos to you. You’ve tapped in to one of the many mysteries of the universe. But for me, this was life changing. I no longer dread doing the dishes because it doesn’t take me nearly as long.

So what is Batch Processing?

 

THE PROCESS

Batch processing is essentially taking several similar tasks and doing them all at the same time. For instance, if you have a list of calls you need to make for work, batch processing them would mean you simply take the next thirty minutes to an hour and make all those phone calls at the same time, instead of doing them sporadically throughout the day or week. Same with email. Instead of checking your inbox dozens of times a day, pick ONE time that you process email and process every single one. 

Batch processing can dramatically improve your workflow and help you accomplish a lot of similar tasks all at once. If you’re in a chatty, friendly mood, knock out those phone calls! Pick just one time a day to process email and go through every single one to accomplish Inbox Zero!

I first encountered the idea of batch processing about eight years ago while reading David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done (which I highly recommend). This idea revolutionized the way I worked and accomplished things on my task list. I never thought about transferring batch processing to the domestic arena. But it makes sense. And I’m super grateful for that epiphany!

So there’s my #speedhack for you. Do dishes faster. And other things faster too.

Will you give it a shot? Experiment with batch processing and let me know how it works for you! Leave a comment below sharing your tips and tricks and accomplishments with batch processing. 

Posted on February 22, 2016 .