I know you've heard of that before, right?
Well, in doing my research for backup on my claims, I ran into an odd (albeit common) problem:
Many people have different ideas of what batching is.
Maybe you've heard someone tell you to "batch your content". (Write all your content for the week or month in one day, or whatever.)
Okay... and if you're anything like I was, you hear something like "take one day to do all this stuff for the month" and your brain just goes errrrr-kay, I'll try that eventually. And you never do it...
But, seriously, imagine what more free time to do more of what's important to you feels like.
Because batching can help you get there.
Now before I get all emotional about what it's done for me and my business, let's cover a few common questions I've been asked by clients and subscribers:
- What exactly is batching?
- How can batching benefit me?
- What should I batch? (Can I batch everything?)
Batching: What Is It?
The technical definition is to arrange things in sets or groups.
In the past I'd focus on segmenting time and doing repeat activities on the same days each week to create a cohesive workflow.
But, I've got to tell you... as someone who's had plenty of physical limitations (don't even get me started on the surgeries of 2015 and 2016...), you can find yourself falling behind if each day's tasks aren't getting done each day.
I haven't bailed on that method 100%. Because, frankly, I don't want to sit and write all my emails for the month in one day.
With the way I write, I'd wind up just producing rushed drivel.
(Maybe it'd work for you, though. It just depends on you and your email output each month.)
But I do try to batch as many like-activities together within a day or two, or within specific timeframes.
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How Batching Benefits You
Oh precious, sweet, cherished time...
Well, when did this whole thing first come about?
Ahh, It was a Tuesday.
I had a few recurring tasks on my list. The usual. Things like:
- [Respond to] emails
- Promote today's post
- Socialize on Twitter + Facebook groups
- Re-pin 10 posts [from others]
- Add 10 [of others'] posts to Buffer queue
Yet, somehow, I got stuck on emails...
Granted, I had a ton of them backing up from taking a mini-vacation. But, still, I was responding almost in real-time to recent customers and subscribers with questions.
Sure, it felt good to be kind and take the time out to chat with everyone, but I went way over on time with it.
Then, as I was just wrapping up my re-pinning task, I went back to answering emails.
What the heck, Woman! Why are you giving away your time like a dumb...
Okay, you get it.
As tempting as it was to respond to people as they needed me, it wasn't helping my business. (Other than nurturing those relationships, of course.)
But seriously, though:
Capeesh? (Yep, I called myself out on that one.)
You probably see one perspective on how batching can save you time, yeah?
Like batch-responding to all the emails in your inbox (in order of priority) in "X" amount of time each day. Or, from 3PM to 4PM every day—or whichever time structure works better for you.
You know, batch-responding to emails in a set period of time each day. That time is devoted to emails. The rest of the time is devoted to whatever you set up your schedule to do.
Batching frees up more time for your most important tasks.
You have to decide on what those are.
(I'll just toss in a little reminder here: If you're growing your business, your most important task is promoting it.)
Something that batching has now allowed me to do (without the feeling that I'm screwing my business over) is to have more quality time with my family.
Sure, sometimes that relaxed feeling—even from a workaholic like me—comes from putting the time into building a successful business. But whoever said you can't have both earlier on?
You just have to know how to manage your time, tasks, and life.
(That's all... *feel the sarcasm?*)
But for real: For the first time in my life as an entrepreneur, I've been able to put my work down and BE with my family.
Every night. Every weekend. Every holiday. And I'm even going to come up with a better way to balance my time when summer comes back around and we take time off together as a family.
Because that time is more precious to me than any time is.
So, where could more time benefit you most?
Family time? Friends time?
Because that's what's in it for you.
What Should I Batch?
This is one of those "it depends" answers.
Because, technically, you can batch just about everything.
EXAMPLE: Mondays are my content days.
So, I write emails to each of the three email groups on my list before taking my girls to school.
After dropping my girls off at school, I either head back to the home office or to one of the few coffee shops within a 20 mile radius. (I like to mix things up sometimes...)
Once settled in wherever I go, I'll jump right into writing the first draft of a blog post.
Come 11AM, I'm generally done writing up to 1,500 words. So, I'll put writing down, and dive into that email time for an hour before lunch.
Whatever emails aren't addressed within that hour get pushed till the next day.
So, I'm batching four things every Monday:
- Email list writing in the early morning
- Blog content writing for the rest of the morning
- Blog and/or email content editing in the afternoon
Yep, my batching system is really segmenting time and batching. (Hybrid style.)
So, the real question is: What can you batch?
What activities can you do in one day? In one segmented time slot?
A few suggestions:
- Creating social media images and graphics
- Writing the next week's or month's blog posts
- Gathering other people's content to share on social media
- Writing all of next week's / month's emails
- Pinning other's content to Secret Boards (for BoardBooster circulation) on Pinterest
- Complete Buffer schedule organization for the next month
Another example of batching on a larger scale is how I tackle images.
As much as I love designing, it takes a lot of energy for me to create that type of content. So, I spend one day a month creating every planned image.
How do I go about doing that?
Using Pixelmator (my I don't want to pay for Adobe products every month as a non-professional designer alternative), I pre-create templated images and graphics like:
- inspirational quotes for Twitter
- in-blog images based on the theme of the month (additional ones I create when editing blog posts)
- any long graphics for blog posts
- graphics for email series or products
- repurposed blog post graphics (like creating an infographic out of a step-by-step or list post)
By getting all those done in one day, I'm free to do what I do fastest and best: Write.
So, what activities could you batch into one day, or segment into one time slot each day to free up some serious time?
(Oh, and if you're wondering what day I do that on, it's typically on the last Wednesday—a Project themed day—of each month for the next month.)
Putting It All Together
All that's left to do is piece your batching work and set days together in a way that makes sense.
And because I wrote a few posts about scheduling and so on already, I'll share those bad boys with you:
- How To Simply And Effectively Organize Your Work-From-Home Schedule
- A Step-By-Step Guide To Catapult Productivity With Daily Themes
- 5 Successful Habits I've Learned As A Mompreneur (And Observer)
- How To Maintain Your Solo Business With This Simple Weekly System
Enjoy! And get to setting up your batching and scheduling today.
(Seriously. Today. You'll thank me later.)
P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, blog comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.
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