I want to talk to you guys about something that’s very close to my heart and it’s something that I preach on all the time.But first I’m going to tell you a story. So picture it. (We’re going to tell the story Golden Girl style)
PICTURE IT: Here you are sitting at your desk and you’re totally overwhelmed you have all to do. This list is a thousand miles long and it seems to keep mutating. Like every five seconds it seems to have grown at least another 200 feet and you absolutely don’t know what to do with yourself. You have to work a full-time job. You have to go to graduate school at night. You’re planning a wedding out of state. You have a home to maintain. You have vehicles to maintain and just life in general. You have friends, you have a social life, you have family, you have all the stuff that you have to do and the list just keeps growing and piling up. Meanwhile you’re sitting over in the corner trying not to curl up in a ball, cry your eyes out and rock back and forth because really all you want to do is you just want to go out on your own and start your own business.
One day you get brave and you click that publish button on your first blog post.
Now that list just exploded.
So what do you do to actually get productive?
Because you’re extremely busy like you’re very, very busy. You’re working yourself into the dirt busy but it doesn’t seem like anything is ever getting done. You’re not ever making any progress.
Well if that sounds familiar. Girl, I am right there with you because that was me too. That was just me last year. And when I look back on myself and see how much stress I was putting myself under and how unhappy I was and how much stress I was putting on my relationship with my now-husband and the stress that I put on my body from overworking myself when it was totally avoidable, I laugh so hard at myself.
I’m so glad that it happened because now I’m sitting here today and I can tell you about it and what I did. How did I fix this? Well it’s this little thing that I hear people harp about all the time but I never really quite figured out how to do it. And it’s called batching your work.
So what is batching exactly? Well basically what batching is it’s taking a bunch of tasks that are similar and batching them all together.
For example you want to write a blog post a week. That’s four blog posts. Well why not do them all in one sitting while you’re in the zone. Well then you have printables and content upgrades that you need to create for said blog posts. Well then when you sit down to do the one why not do the other three and so on and so forth. Why not sit down and when you’re going to schedule all of your Facebook posts for the week why not go ahead and schedule the whole month? You’re already sitting right there. We’re talking an extra five minutes here and you’ll notice now all of a sudden all these things that you do on the regular are all getting done a lot faster. Now you can focus on the other things that are actually growing your business and growing your blog and you’re able to actually collaborate with people and reach out and work with people and actually start and create more stuff and really serve your audience so much better. Because now you have all this time because you’re not constantly chasing your tail. And that, my friend, is the beauty of batching.
Now I want to give you guys the quick and dirty on how to batch.
1. Categorize Your Tasks
I gave you some examples but quite possibly the most effective way that I have found to really be able to batch is to break your stuff down into categories. Now what I mean by this is you’ll notice when you sit down and make a list of all the things that you do regularly (these are like the tasks that you that these are ongoing recurring operating tasks for all of you project managers out there like me.) These are these are the tasks that you have to do week after week and month after month. They’re not one off tasks to they’re what you have to do to for your business to run. The way that you that you can break these down is sit down and list out every single detail of what you have to do regularly. When you look at it, you will start noticing that a lot of things that could fall into the same bucket. Then create your buckets.
I’ve noticed that there are two to three normal ones.
Once you move tasks into those three buckets then you can break it down even more and see what tasks can be done in one sitting. I know that when started doing this it knocked down how much time I was spending on my business’s day to day to about 15 hours a week. It took some time but I could see what I was doing that was just wasting time and what I was doing that was actually moving me forward and was worth my time. This is a really good exercise that you need to do.
2. Have a Designated Project Day
Then the next thing that you need to do is you need to also make sure that you have a day or have some time set aside when you do nothing but work on your projects. Projects are your massive content upgrade for the month or that subscriber-only freebie that you do or any products that you’re getting ready to create You need to have all of these other things going on out of the way because that needs to be your only focus. And when you have it to where you’re only focusing on one thing at a time then you get done a lot faster than jumping from one thing to another. Make sure that you have a project day set aside where that is all you focus on and that is what you work on.
3. Have a Plan Ahead Day
And then the third thing that is extremely important is you need to have a plan ahead day. You need to have a day where you sit down and you map out your next month or your next two months or your next three months because you want to make sure that everything that you’re putting out there is intentional. If you have a course that you’re getting ready to launch then you need to make sure that all of your content around that launch goes with what you’re launching. And if you sit down and you plan all that then you also need to outline all of your posts for that week and go ahead and decide what content upgrades you want to do. That way you have it all ready for whenever your content workday is when you sit down to knock out all of your posts. You’ve got it all done. It’s it’s ready to go.
You already outlined everything while your brain was churning and you were still thinking of it and you were in the zone. You already have everything ready to go. Then all you have to do is sit down and just do it.
That is insane.
That opens up so much more time for you to nurture your email list, to network, to build other relationships and work on collaborations. There’s all kinds of other things that you can do if you get all these tasks out of the way first. That plan ahead day is absolutely critical because then you also need to have your work day or days. I know some people aren’t able to break them off and do that all in two days. So theoretically if you can do that, awesome! But if you can’t, don’t let that stress you. Figure out a method that works for you by breaking it out in categories you can work on. Each category per day in the little pockets of time that you have and creating yourself a schedule and a set schedule that gives you a focus and is constantly moving you forward instead of sitting down and asking yourself “ OK well I have five minutes. What can I be doing?” while you already know what you should be doing in those five minutes because you’ve already planned it out.
That is why batching is so critical and so important.
I actually have a workbook created that gets you in this mindset. You can download it HERE.
You always need to be thinking in an intentional mindset. Everything you do needs to have a purpose. Batching is one way to make sure that everything you do has purpose and moves you forward so that you’re making the best use of what little time and little pockets of time you have to sit down and work. It also makes it easier for you to outsource when you do bring on that extra help.
I hope that this was helpful for you!
Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @thelazychick__ what you’re doing to increase productivity!