024: HOW TO FIND MORE TIME BY DOING BATCH WORK
Today’s question for the podcast:
How do you manage your time to study and plan the day? Most of the time I invest more time in not so important things.
Batch working has truly transformed my business, but it wasn’t always easy. I was convinced that multitasking was the way I worked. With time, I’ve solidified a plan that allows me to work ahead, work efficiently and have time off to truly rest. I promise you, this isn’t too good to be true!
You might think you’re being productive when you tackle many things at once, but that just isn’t true. The average time spent on a task before losing focus is one minute and fifteen seconds. (At this rate I might lose you soon – stick with me!)
Here’s the thing: we’re not really great at multitasking. We’re just switching our mind back and forth – aka, we’re not giving each task our full attention. Multitasking reduces productivity by 40% across the board, AND it takes about 50% longer to finish the task. Heavy multitasking can temporarily lower your IQ up to 15 points – 3x the effect of smoking cannabis... did that get your attention?
It’s one thing to recognise that multitasking isn’t efficient for your business or your life, but another to choose to tackle one task at a time. Which is why today I’m going to spill ALL of my secrets to ditch the multitasking lifestyle & transition to my personal style: batch working.
P.S. I’ve created a FREE 168 hour calendar so you can start batching your work and get your time back. Download it below!
WHAT IS BATCH WORKING?
Simply put, batch working is highly focused, topic specific forms of working. What I mean by this, is that it’s dividing your workflow into different days and hours of one topic – instead of jumping around constantly from task to task. To learn what batching is, let’s first learn what it is not.
For example, for the podcast, it would be SO easy for me to record one-off episodes to keep with the flow of the show. Which would mean, every week I would record a solo or guest show and release it the next week. While this may not seem like too bad of a system, it creates a constant stream of work, because each week I’d be thinking about finding a guest, scheduling it, writing, recording over and over again, with no room for error.
Now, think about the podcast process again but this time with a batch mindset. Recording 12 at a time. It might sound overwhelming, but you’re doing the same work with a long-term outlook. For example, I’ll schedule 10 guest interviews within a couple days’ time. Then, I’m done with a quarter of work. When it’s all said and done, it took less time because I wasn’t repeating the same processes one by one.
IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU?
I think we can all agree that coming from a place of a highly organised, efficient mindset is a great thing, but you might be wondering: can I really pull this off in my business and my life? I’m telling you, you can. Batch working is especially great for those of you pushing out content on a regular basis; whether it’s blogs, social media posts, videos, etc. batching what you are working on allows you to focus in and create crazy amount of content, and take it out of your mind for up to weeks at a time. Every day, instead of jumping around from task to task, you would know which task to focus in, work hard, and get it done.
How to schedule batch work
Recognise the biggest tasks that you have to complete and plan it out from start to finish. No more half-completed tasks, because you’ll know exactly what to do, in order to get ahead and accomplish what you want. Not only does this move your needle forward, but it can help free you up mentally. It frees you up from a time perspective, so you can focus on other projects in your business. Rest assured, your next projects are ready to go; you’re free to focus on smaller tasks, because you know the bigger things are checked off. Imagine how mentally freeing this could be for you.
Batch working is great for content creators but has a place in any business. Dedicating certain days, weeks or months to certain aspects of your business can streamline organisation. While it may originally seem rigid, you can customise it to whatever works best for you and your business. Some people like batching by days, where I like to work by project. However, you decide, it’s going to help you become more efficient, free up mental space, create a feeling of seeing ahead with reduced stress and allow you to think strategically.
By having a focused workweek, I can be all hands-on deck, get things done, so I can move on to the next week. For example, last week I was working on outlines, so this week I can work on recordings and next week I might repeat the process. I’m in a focused workspace, which requires less communication from a standpoint and allows us to know that today is devoted to this one project.
#1 | Identify True Priorities
Before you can batch work, you have to decide exactly what it is you want to batch. Set time for the things that move your needle forward the most, or the most important aspects of your business. My advice for choosing what you want to batch is to look at what is driving profits in your business and choose 3 to 5 areas you can focus on.
#2 | Look At Mini Tasks
Take a look at the list you just made and divide them up to steps. For example, making a podcast sounds simple, but it actually takes many steps to make that a reality.
#3 | Make A Schedule
You’re probably looking at all of these mini-tasks and thinking: a lot goes into this. Consider different deadlines and map out what you want your batching to look like. Whatever feels better for you, create a clear plan and stick to it.
#4 | Follow Through
This is where the magic happens, follow through, and get it done. Trust me, I get it. Major changes are happening in your workflow, and that can be scary. But trust me on this one: if you can commit to batch working for just one week, you will see the effects and difference of what you’ve accomplished and how you moved forward… and you’ll be hooked.
#5 | Enjoy & Look Forward
After batch working it is easy to see how your schedule looks. You can have subtle “pre-launch” content, so your audience is excited. Planning ahead makes being strategic so much easier. Spontaneity and new ideas don’t go out the window, but there is a time and a place to implement strategy… and you’ll be ready.
#6 | Batch Your Team
If you manage a team you’re likely to be pulled in a thousand different directions each day, and it is too easy to get caught putting out fires. By having a focused workweek, I can be all hands-on deck, get things done, so I can move on to the next week. For example, last week I was working on outlines, so this week I can work on recordings and next week I might repeat the process. I’m in a focused workspace, which requires less communication from a standpoint and allows us to know that today is devoted to this one project.
The one big thing that I love about batch working is the fact that it brings efficiency into your business. When your plan is clear for the day, it’s really easy to just show up – focus for an hour (or two, or eight) and get the job done. When we don’t batch work, we leave our days wondering: what did we get done today? I feel like a lot of times, we’re leaving out work half done; with batch-working, you can focus, get something done, and not have to think about it again.
I have a tendency to need to do “brain dumps” – if you ever get a feeling of there’s so many things to do, I don’t even know where to start – you need a brain dump with these steps:
Open a google doc or pen & paper
Write out anything that is on your mind (from what to make for dinner to what your next post will be – anything that is clogging up your mental space)
Give out tasks that don’t need to be done by you (or if your on your own, chip away at the list.)
Look at an efficiency standpoint
Remember the stats about how multi-tasking decreasing productivity and increases the amount of errors you make? I’d rather go up on airplane mode, divide up my time wisely & focus in, and do it all right once and for all.
Take a look at this list and think: “what can be batched?”
Now, let’s talk about mental clarity; I think that when you batch work, mental clarity comes from this sort of workflow. It comes from the ability to say – this is done, now I can move on to the next thing. Mental clarity is huge as a business owner. I want to be able to focus, and then have it leave my mind. There’s no reason to have the “I have to finish this caption” etc. in the back of your mind. When you’re able to free up mental space, you can cut out the white noise and look at the big picture in your business and in your life.
Sometimes as an entrepreneur, it’s like you’re walking down a dark alley with only a torch – and can only see however far the light reaches. With mental clarity, it’s like someone turned the lights on and you can see the big picture. Though sometimes we’re just trying to stay afloat and not looking at next month and next year. The biggest change that batch working has had for me and my business, is given me the ability to step back and get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in my business. When I sit down and write captions for a week, I can see how they all lay out. Am I targeting each aspect of my business? Am I reaching out to my whole audience?
Nothing in business is an emergency. When you have focused work, it helps you to see that not a lot of things are urgent & you can get things done in your own time.
How many of you right now feel behind? And what would change if you felt ahead? It might seem crazy, but it is possible. By batching yourself ahead, you will know what tasks are waiting for you, and that tedious tasks are out of the way. I can’t express how much the mental shift alone is worth its weight in gold. I know a fear when it comes to batch working is that things can fall behind – but with focus and batch working different areas of your business you will stay on schedule.
Set your business up in a way that is conducive to the way you work best.
I challenge you to take advantage of these days off you get by batching, because guess what? You’ve earned them.
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
Tool Recommendation Of The Day: Google Calendar
Want access to a library full of online marketing resources plus weekly bitesized breakthroughs to help you boss your online presence? Find it here.
What did you think of the show? Leave a review on iTunes and become the Breakthrough Blogger of the Week!
Subscribe to the show and get notified when a new episode goes live.
Come join my free FB group.
Apply to work with me 1:1 in the Busy To Boss Method here.