Like any productivity technique batching should be adapted to how you work best. There is really no “right” way, but I’m going to explain what batching is and give you some tips on incorporating it into your routine.
What is Batching & Why It Works
Batching is doing the same type of task all at one time.
Switching between tasks has been shown to decrease efficiency and lead to mental fatigue. Our brains work better when focused on one primary task. It can take 15 to 20 minutes for your mind to fully settle into the task in front of you and each time you switch tasks that focus timer resets.
While this concept works better for our brains, it also saves time because you don’t have to take time setting up for new tasks.
For instance, you probably use different tools for drafting a blog post, posting to Instagram, and making a graphic. By focusing on tasks that require the same setup, you will automatically save time.
One of my favorite ways to use batching is for social media (holy time savings Batman). Grab my process here!
- Choose the task
- Gather supplies/materials/information
- Clear all else out of your way, close programs you don’t need, etc-NO DISTRACTIONS
- Go at it 🙂
The basic idea is you sit down and focus on just one type of task.
Think of the production line; each worker only focuses on that one task, batching is similar. You don’t have to open and close new programs/tools, gather materials, or get distracted by new tasks. Everything you need to work is open and prepared, ready to get started.
For example, if you are batching graphics, know what titles you are batching, and what sized graphics you are batching.
Batching vs. Time Blocking
Batching vs. time blocking can be confusing, and it’s not something you should worry about. Who cares what you call your method of approaching your work as long as it works for you!
Batching is the tasks, the process of working whereas time blocking is how you approach your schedule. For example, you might time block each Friday afternoon to schedule your social media, but the process for that is that you batch your Instagram posts, and then batch your Facebook group posts.
To be honest batching is not effective unless you schedule in time to do it, so the two methods go hand-in-hand, especially when it comes to incorporating batching in your daily schedule.
Time blocking is more about how you manage your schedule/time, and batching is how you approach the task.
Batching Is Good For
Batching is useful for recurring items that can be set and done. Done might be for the day, the week, the month, or the quarter.
While I have indeed read of people batching things like blog posts for a year. I’m a big 90-day planner so; I feel like for me it’s most effective to stay within a quarter timeframe for any advance work.
Tasks you might consider for batching:
- Social media scheduling
- Blog post creation
- Creating graphics
- Checking email
Most of these above categories can be further broken down into batching items. For example, blog post creation batching can be:
- Plan editorial calendar
- Outline posts
- Choose keyword (s)
- Draft post
- Develop headlines
- Create graphics
- Edit post
- Format and publish the post
You might do each of these batching sessions for a month worth of blog posts.
Batching can also be good for giving yourself the mental space you need to focus on that task or to get ahead.
For me, I take a week each month to batch my blog posts. I take the different batching processes and schedule those batch tasks into my weekly schedule for the first week of the month.
How Long Does A Batch Session Need To Be?
It’s up to you! Some people have batch days or even batch weeks, but batching can also be a few hours or simply batching this month’s blog posts graphics (and maybe that’s 45 minutes).
Tips For Batch Days
If you are going to dedicate a full day to batching you want to make it something you look forward to. Choose your breaks for the day, choose your environment for the day, and have your food planned out.
If you are blocking off a full day, you want to get the most out of it, with as little distraction as possible. Distractions include the normal social media, text, etc. but can also be things like what’s for lunch.
Make your batching task too expansive.
Batching is much more effective if your tasks have a narrow focus. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by trying to “batch” something that will take you several hours to finish on its own.
For example blog posts from start to publish. It’s better to outline all your blog posts in a batching session, create headlines for your blog posts in a session and create all your graphics in a single session. You may set aside a batch day to tackle these three sessions, but it’s best to break multiple steps processes into batch groups to get the most out of the batching technique.
The idea of batching is to focus on tasks that take similar types of focus and skills. Drafting a blog post and creating graphics for a blog post are very different tasks.
Don’t start with tasks you dread
If you are just getting started with batching, I don’t recommend you create say a batch day for a task you dread in your business. Can you image knowing a whole day is dedicated to something you don’t enjoy, that sounds like torture to me! So don’t do it!
You may eventually find that if you can get dreaded tasks out of the way for say a month, then dedicating a day makes sense and you know that the reward of not worrying about it is on the other side. But don’t do that if you are just starting with batching.
❏ Choose a task you can start applying batching to.
Start experimenting with incorporating batching into your processes.
Instead of scheduling a single Instagram post a day try scheduling a week’s worth, or instead of doing your bookkeeping each day try doing it at the end of the week or month.
Think of something that requires multiple steps or a lot of tools to accomplish that you can achieve multiple version of in one sitting.
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