The Power of Batching
If your morning work routine looks something like this:
—check your email, scroll through Facebook/Instagram, like a few posts, open your email, hop on a conference call, and back to checking email again, etc., then you’re not batching your workday.
Batching relieves the pressure of an overwhelming to-do list.
By breaking down your workflow into discrete tasks and dedicate time to them in your calendar.
Bit by organized bit, you can eat that elephant one scheduled bite at a time.
Way back when I felt overwhelmed in graduate school, I would tighten up my schedule and batch my work into one and two-hour blocks.
Every single hour of my day was assigned to a task, project, or activity from 8 am until 10 pm including time for exercise, breaks, and eating.
If you feel you are battling Shiny Object Syndrome, then consider batching your work for a month and see how it feels.
The Strain of Multitasking
Did you know that it takes your brain 15 minutes to refocus after every interruption?
Saying we are “masters of multitasking” is a lie we tell ourselves to excuse our very distracting work environments.
Constantly switching between tasks is mentally exhausting and ineffective. Neuroscientists say that this constant switching is what causes us to feel more tired than if we stayed focused on one task over a long period of time.
If you want to be more effective in your writing habits, marketing, and build rapport with your readers, you might want to test out the power of batching to help you achieve your goals.
What Does Batching Look Like?
Batching your writing tasks will look different for everyone depending on our maximum workflow and weekly needs.
For me, after years of figuring out my who, what, why, and how for my business, my batching looks something like this:
- January—plan out six months of themed content that will be helpful for my clients; strategize my book publications; plan out my books’ marketing strategies and overall budget allocation based on projected annual revenue by project
- June—plan out the next six months of content and marketing strategies for my consulting, courses, and books based on the last year’s baseline sales revenue
- Review these plans on a quarterly basis or adjust as needed
- On the first day of each month, I do the following:
- Mondays: plan out my website’s content for the month and write out every blog article
- Tuesdays—design social media graphics for each article
- Wednesdays—upload, and schedule; keyword research, optimize SEO
- Thursdays—plan out email newsletter content
- Block out my time for my clients for the week—every one hour-session takes me three hours in total—one to prepare, one for the session, and one for the wrap-up and deliverables
- Schedule one hour/day for writing
- Write down my priorities for the week
I also try to squeeze as much juice from every activity as possible and leverage it across platforms.
For example, If I am feeling in a creative video mood, I will write do the following:
- write the script, create, edit, and upload the video
- use the same script to create a blog post and embed the video into my blog
- share across platforms, my newsletter, etc.,
By focusing on one project at a time, I’m really creating multiple forms of content to be optimized on each platform.
Batching Creates Consistency
When asked why McDonald’s is so popular, it’s not the taste or quality of the food, but the consistency of the restaurant.
Travelers worldwide know what to expect when they walk into a McDonald’s anywhere in the world. The restaurants all look the same, the uniforms are similar, and the entire experience is consistent.
We all need consistency in our writing, social media presence, and performance if we want to be effective in our writing careers.
Consistency is tough without a system in place to keep things running if we fall ill or want to head off to an island retreat.
To keep things consistent, create a schedule that you can commit to.
Batching Leaves Space for Creativity
“Lisa, that schedule looks very Type A. Where’s the freewheeling space for creativity?”
We all have our most productive times during our days, but sometimes, we get a surge of creativity at odd hours and simply must write.
Surprisingly, batching your work can lead to more time for creativity.
Your brain isn’t constantly overworked with task switching and interruptions are minimized.
When you can cross off those pesky tasks that you’ve been avoiding, you create more space for writing.
Batching Improves Action
When we take consistent action in our work, we will make progress toward our goals. The more goals we achieve, the more goals we can set.
It’s really easy to get stuck in Research/Learn Mode where we feel we must learn all about this new tool or software before we can begin to write.
By batching your work and protecting time on your calendar for your creative writing, you will end up taking more action.
It can become addicting to take course after course and listen to webinars on loop in an effort to continue learning and mastering your craft without ever putting it into practice.
Yes, learning is essential to growing as a writer and not wasting your money on Amazon ads, but you’ll learn just as much, if not more, when you start doing the work.
If you keep finding yourself in Research/Learn Mode, turn it into a reward after you’ve finished the thing you’ve been putting off.
“I can only watch this really cool TedX talk after I’ve written 2500 words.”
Hierarchy of Tasks
It’s important to remember that not all tasks are created equal—there is a hierarchy of tasks not all tasks deserve your immediate attention.
While it’s fun to tackle the low-hanging fruit like checking our email, we should always focus on the most important and most urgent tasks first. I know one freelancer who only checks her email once a week!
In conclusion, batching can help you organize your tasks, identify priorities, and help you focus on achieving your goals.
How do you organize your tasks?
Over to you: what systems do you have in place to keep yourself focused?
Do you have dedicated writing time? Dedicated creation time for blogging or podcasting? How do you schedule your work?
Sound off in the comments below.
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