Welcome to the third lesson in Module 4 ‘Systems’. This one’s about a strategy called batching.
Batching is a great strategy to help you get your to-dos done more easily. Batching means grouping similar tasks together and doing them all at once. I love my batch days, where I dedicate an entire day or half a day to one task. It’s a day where I focus on doing one thing and nothing else.
The benefit of batching your work is that it reduces task switching. Instead of going from one small task to the next, you focus on a single type of work for several hours.
You might be wondering: “I just created a daily routine and now you’re asking me to give up that routine for batch days?!” I get it. You might feel like batching is not for you or that it doesn’t fit into your routine. And that’s fine.
But let me tell you how I fit batch days into my routine. These are my batch days:
Twice a month, first and third Monday, takes half a day: Write blog posts
Twice a month, second and fourth Monday, takes half a day: Write emails
Once a month, last Wednesday, takes an entire day: Editing, creating graphics, formatting and scheduling blog posts and emails
Once a month, last Thursday, takes an entire day: Schedule Instagram posts for the month
Once a month, third Friday, takes an entire day: Admin work (clean up and organize work space + Google Drive + email inbox and archives + website, make back-ups, update subscriptions and try out new tools, bookkeeping, updating business plan)
Once a month, first Friday, takes half a day: Update quarterly and monthly planning, create weekly schedules, update website + social media + email list statistics
Once per quarter, last Friday, takes an entire day: Create long term planning for the upcoming quarter(s)
As you can see, I have batching days that take up the entire day and batch days that take up half a day. You can also see that some of these batch days fit in with my daily routine. The morning part of my daily routine is dedicated to writing and creating. And so, these batch days fit right in.
These other batch days don’t fit into my daily routine. My afternoons are for marketing, which includes social media. Now, I could spread out my Instagram scheduling and schedule a few posts here and there. But that isn’t very efficient. Instead, for one day a month I replace my daily routine with an Instagram batch day. Again, it’s much more efficient to do it all at once and it opens up every afternoon for the rest of the month for other - and perhaps more important - marketing activities. Just as it’s so much more efficient to batch all of your admin tasks and do them all at once.
So, I’m not saying to throw your routine overboard. And I don’t recommend having more than one (or maybe two) batch days a week. But every once in awhile batch your tasks and work through them for a day.
How to go about creating batch days?
First, choose the general topic for your batch days. Generally, mine are content, admin, and planning. Maybe you already know which tasks you want to batch and that’s fine.
The topic of your batch days leads to the tasks you want to get done on those batch days. Hopefully, after the previous lesson, you’ve already created processes for these tasks. If not, do it now so that you know exactly what you need to do on your batch days.
For instance, my batch day topic of ‘Admin work’ led to a blog and email admin batch day. Then, I listed all of the tasks I wanted to get done that day (Editing, creating graphics, formatting and scheduling blog posts and emails) and for each of these tasks I created a process. And so, this batch day is not about thinking about what to do or remembering in what order things need to be done, it’s about doing, doing, doing.
The final step is to get your batch days on your calendar. Schedule them or assign a specific day a month to them, like I have done.
One final thing, up until now we’ve been talking about scheduled batch days with a fixed topic or number of tasks. However, you can also use batch days in a different way. You probably have a number of small, simple, short, or annoying tasks that have been on your to-do list for a long time and keep getting pushed forward. If that’s the case, set aside a batch day or half a batch day and use that time to knock those small tasks out all at once.
That’s it for this lesson. Whip out your worksheet to help you set your batch days.