6 Ways to Use Batching to Get More Done
You know what would be an insane way to do laundry? What if you took a single item out of the dryer, folded it, walked to your bedroom to put it away, and then walked back to the dryer, got another item out, and walked back to the bedroom to put it away. Now, repeat that cycle until all items are in the drawer and you’ve closed the activity circles on your Apple watch.
There’s a reason no one does laundry this way. It makes much more sense to take all of the clothes out of the dryer at once, fold them all at once, and put them all away at once. Doing laundry is a real-life example of batching, or the grouping together of similar tasks.
Embracing batching in your business is an opportunity to improve your productivity and efficiency. Not only does it save time by eliminating the cost of task switching, it also helps you get “in the zone” doing a particular kind of task, often resulting in better focus and better work.
Below I’ve listed six ways that you can use batching in your business to get more done.
1. Email Management
Having your email open all day and responding to messages as they come is not only a great way to be mentally frazzled, but it's also a surefire way to spend way too much time on email and not enough time on more important work.
It’s best to set aside particular times for dealing with email. I typically respond to emails in the afternoon, right before the end of the day, and sometimes in the transition time between tasks. I also have one time per week (Sunday evening during my weekly review) that I clean out my inbox all the way to zero.
2. Content Creation
Batching your content creation – whether email, blogging, podcasting, or otherwise – can take a few different forms. First of all, you can (and should) batch your content planning. This involves setting aside time to plan out your major communication themes as well as the topics you will cover with your content. I’m a content newbie, so I only plan four to six weeks at a time. More experienced content creators can plan months in advance.
On top of content planning, you can also batch content creation. This is something I am currently experimenting with and trying to operationalize within my business. In preparing for my recent vacation, I wrote one month’s worth of my Monday email in a single day. Not only did it eliminate the stress of constantly being under a writing deadline, but my writing was clearer and more focused.
There’s nothing worse than having your day broken up with meetings that have awkward amounts of time in between where you can’t get any meaningful work done. Clustering all of your meetings and phone calls into specific time blocks in your calendar is a great way to protect your overall productivity and your ability to do deep work. Many of my clients and peers have certain days of the week that they devote to meetings. I personally have certain times of day (afternoons) that I dedicate to phone calls and meetings. Of course, every now and then I will have a meeting outside of the times that I have set aside, but that is the exception rather than the rule.
4. Bookkeeping & Financial Management
Even if you have outsourced bookkeeping, it can make sense to take care of all of your financial management tasks at once after the close of each month. Whether you are organizing receipts, updating your books, reviewing your income statement, or forecasting upcoming sales, clustering your money tasks together is great for efficiency and your sanity.
5. Social Media
Being meaningfully engaged with social media without it turning into a huge, time-sucking, soul-draining distraction is definitely a challenge. Batching doesn’t solve this problem entirely, but it can be one strategy to help keep social media in its proper place.
First of all, content planning (like in number two) can keep you from the daily distraction of composing posts on the fly. Also, setting aside certain blocks of time to check in on all of your social media channels protects it from eating into other parts of your day that are best used for other work.
6. Deep Work
Deep work is that stuff that requires a mental warm up, long stretches of focus, and no interruptions. Depending on the nature of your business, this could include: client work, internal projects, book writing, product development, design, copywriting, or coding. Deep work can only be done effectively if you have dedicated blocks of time that you protect.
During my weekly review, I plan out the tasks or projects for that week that are going to require some significant stretches of time. I will often block off time on my calendar for those tasks to hold myself accountable, but also to make sure that I protect my ability to do a deep dive.
How do you use batching in your business?
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