Oh batching, where have you been all my life?!
Seriously, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to jump on the batching bandwagon, but boy am I glad I finally have!
I am so much more productive, organized and aware of where my time goes. And not just with writing, but also home and social life too.
Honestly, I sucked at multi-tasking. I became distracted too quickly, spent too much time on unimportant tasks or focused on the wrong priority. I half finished heaps of different things, and it would take me twice as long to actually complete a project then what it should have.
With batching I am able to prioritise tasks and actually get them done without distractions, in an efficient and timely manner. What is not to love about that?!
WHAT IS BATCHING?
So what is this miraculous “batching” that has completely changed the way I do EVERYTHING?! And I really do mean everything. From my freelance writing business and novel writing to chores and running the household, batching is now my go to time management method.
Put simply, batching is the grouping of similar tasks to be completed in a set time block that aids in streamlining your day.
It is really just another form of time management. Batching suits my needs and lifestyle at this point in time, especially with the tight time constraints working around the childrens’ nap times and family commitments.
This particular time management tool allows you to set aside a chunk of time for certain tasks where you block out all other distractions. Poopie nappies, temper tantrums and other baby stuff aside! Lol.
It is similar to the Pomodoro technique.
If you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro form of time management you must have been living under a rock! Or busy raising your children.
The Pomodoro technique is super simple. You choose a task from your to-do list, set a timer for 25 minutes and work on that task until the timer goes off. You don’t allow any distractions like social media, making a cup of tea or eating. Just work for that 25 minutes without stopping.
Batching is similar, however you aren’t simply doing one task. Such as a blog post from start to finish. You work on similar tasks in that time window. By grouping similar tasks together one time window would be something like outlining blog posts, then the next window would be research or writing them.
Keep on reading to find out more!
WHY YOU SHOULD — USE BATCHING
The question should really be, why wouldn’t you use batching?
There are so many benefits to using batching for time management. It really has increased my productivity and makes me feel more in control of my days.
Better work flow
As you don’t switch constantly between tasks, you are able to focus and achieve a better work flow. By staying focused on similar tasks you will find yourself “in the zone” quicker and your work will become easier.
You will find your productivity, creativity and mental focus are that much sharper and more effective as you are not switching constantly between completely different tasks.
Cut down on wasted time and procrastination.
By setting a timer and concentrating on that group of tasks you will cut down on wasted time and procrastination.
Every time you become distracted in can take an average of 15 minutes to regain your focus. 15 minutes!
Imagine if you are scrolling Facebook or Instagram, answering phone calls or surfing the internet every 5 minutes when you are meant to be working. Then add another 15 minutes to regain your focus. That really adds up over the course of a day. And as a work-at-home-mum I really do need to make every minute count.
Large projects are easier to manage and less intimidating.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Batching is great for breaking big projects into smaller, less intimidating tasks. #timemanagement #batchingtasks #productivity #freelancewriting #workathome #wahm ” quote=”This batching technique is great for breaking big projects into smaller, less intimidating tasks.”]
For example, previously I would have written “write article” on my to-do list. Now I break that article into several steps, such as research, outline, draft, edit and final copy. I still keep a “master to-do list” of all current projects, however I break all those projects down and pencil them into my batching timeframe.
So if I have 3 articles I need to write in one week, rather than work on one after the other after the other I outline all of them before moving onto the next batch task. Which would be research or drafting.
I find that by breaking all my projects down and working on them this way, that they are much more manageable. I feel inspired and motivated to work on them, rather than overwhelmed. As we all know if you feel overwhelmed you are less inclined to work.
HOW TO START USING BATCHING
Still not sure about batching or how to get started? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Email: set aside batches of time to check, sort and respond to your emails.
- Social Media: Limit your time on social media, whether personal or business related.
- Blogging: I break this down into different time windows
- Edit and Final copy
- Schedule – this includes scheduling social media posts around the blog too.
- Cleaning: This is a huge winner for me! I block out a time window to get my big weekly whole house clean done. I usually schedule it for the same time and day of the week to help with routine. It has really helped me to keep on top of the housework.
- Planning: I usual set aside a few hours on Sunday evening for planning.
How to get started with batching.
It may take a bit of getting used to, and moving things around until you find a batching timeframe and process that works for you. I assure you though, all the time and effort to set it up is worth it.
I have a master to-do list of all my current projects and tasks that need completing. Once again, I use my trusty highlighters to colour code my list depending on level of priority. Yes. I still keep a paper to-do list. I just find it soothing and easier to get everything out on paper rather than on my computer on an app.
Once I have my master list sorted I break each project down into smaller tasks and schedule it into my weekly batching schedule.
Sample batching schedule
Have a look at my example below to get an idea of what it looks like in practice. Keep in mind that you can have as many time windows over the course of the day as you want or need. However I only have windows when my daughter is napping and when both children finally go down for the night, so three in total. I am sure that this will change again as my children grow.
Each window is generally about 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes longer at night if the bedtime routine has gone smoothly and I have the energy!
|Morning||Outline||(Nursing Shift)||Photographs||(Nursing Shift)||Social Media|
The weekends I leave for planning, creating an editorial and content calendar, a social media calendar and to finish up any unfinished business. The tasks I aim to complete in each window tend to change week to week depending on work load and how my children are! If there is one thing being a mum has taught me it is to be fluid and flexible with everything!
This example is purely for work. But I use batching for running the house as well. Like Saturday mornings until lunchtime I block out time for swimming lessons and then house cleaning. Sunday afternoon is groceries and meal preparation if any needs to be done. It is great to be able to glance at my week and know when I am doing different tasks and when I have free time.
So there you have it. Simple, right?
Grab a copy of my SAMPLE BATCHING SCHEDULE below to boost your productivity and manage your time better!
I have said it many times before and I will say it again, you need to find the methods and tools that work for you. Time batching wont be for everyone. But give it a go for a few weeks and see how you like it.
Using this method I really feel like my stress levels have decreased, I have more time and I am much more productive. I absolutely LOVE batching!