Let me set the scene for you.
I took an Instagram poll a few weeks ago asking if you time batched. The results came in that 95% of people do not time batch. I was gobsmacked. I can’t get through my day without it. Time batching is the only way I can be productive and stay on task. So I did a follow up poll and asked if people were familiar with time batching. I waited too long to post this blog post so the poll results are gone off my Instagram now, but I remember it was also a humongous difference.
I knew I wanted to work on a time batching post where I really deep dive into the concept. I wanted to share all of my scheduling tips to keep on track and really maximize my productivity. So it’s been a few weeks, but I’m finally finishing that post!
So what is time batching?
Simply put, time batching is a productivity strategy that allows you to fully concentrate on similar tasks by doing them all at the same time.
Think about all the times you get distracted while you’re working. How long does it take you to get refocused after a distraction? By streamlining your routine with time batching, you eliminate potential distractions. Your brain will get into “we’re doing this now” mode and keep you focused on the task at hand.
I think it’s the easiest hack to be productive! I plan my entire day ahead of time and schedule what tasks I want to accomplish during the day in one big block. So let’s break it down. As a blogger, here are some typical tasks that come up for me weekly: emails, blog posts, photography, video filming, video editing, image editing, Pinterest, and other social media. Obviously there are administrative tasks and other aspects of running a business, but for this post we are going to focus on these things.
Here is a specific plan of how I break it out.
Emails: emails are always coming in so this ends up being a daily task. I put this block in the morning and try to breeze through it in an hour. If I have a break during the day, I might open my email back up and check it out but I try not to be a slave to my email. There are so many other things that need to be accomplished.
Planning: I’m not really a wing-it kind of girl. I’m casual in my blog, but I do have a strategy and a calendar of when I want posts to go live. I spend a block of time planning out the entire month of blog posts. They may not all get posted and, of course, things come up and shift but I do have a plan going into the month.
Write blog posts: A lot goes into a blog post. It may come off that it’s just a write and push publish situation, but there really is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. So I split this into several blocks. If I’m planning to publish three posts in one week, then I plan a big block of time to write and craft all three posts. I turn on Spotify, get a Diet Coke, and crank out the content portion of the blog post. This is purely writing, no photography, social media, or plugins.
Photography: I don’t know about you, but getting dressed is exhausting–especially when it’s still 95 degrees in Atlanta. So I like to get the tasks that require me to look human crossed off the list in one swoop. Since I have already planned which posts I want to go live and sometimes have already written them, I know what imagery I’m looking for in the post. So I plan a shot list and then go through the motions to get my images captured for all blog posts and Instagram.
Video: Similar to photography, I block my video content take care of all the filming while I look like a human being. I sometimes shoot two or three videos in one block.
Photo Editing: All of those photos need to be edited for the post. I also need Pins, thumbnail images, YouTube thumbnails, and Instagram images. I take a large chunk of time to go through the photos from the shoot and create the images I need.
Video Editing: Since I’ve filmed more than one video, I go ahead and edit more than one video. This makes uploading so much easier and having these checked off my list is always such a huge relief.
Pinterest: Pinterest requires a whole strategy and it takes a long time. I schedule one hour a week solely to schedule pins on Pinterest. For me, it usually falls on Tuesday and then I schedule through the following Tuesday.
Other Social Media: I have an editorial calendar for my social media as well. I go ahead and plan what posts I want to go live on each platform and schedule those out as well.
So how do I stay on task?
Here are a few strategies to stay on task.
Time yourself – I legitimately set timers all day based on the blocks I set for myself. If I say I’m going to do blog posts from 11-2, then at 2 I have an alarm go off. I have to be done by then because I will have another task ready to start at 2. This turns into a game for me to see if I can complete it by the time limit. Obviously, some things take more time and that’s ok to get a little off track, but it’s a good starting place to keep my focus.
Hide your phone – Put your phone in a different room, on a different floor, in your car. Every buzz of the email app, every text message ding, and every notification or Tweet will tempt you to pick it up and look at it. If your phone is an easy distraction, get it as far away from you as possible while you work.
Take a break – I do jam-pack my time, but I like to take mental breaks. Go for a quick walk, watch the show you recorded last week, get a cup of your favorite caffeine, go workout, just do something to give your brain a break. It helps with burnout and you just saying “screw it” to the rest of your afternoon and going to take a nap instead. Take a block of time to recharge.
I hope this helps with productivity! I was shocked that so many people were unfamiliar with time batching, so I really wanted to take the time to explain what it is, how I use it specifically, and some tips to make the most of the strategy.
Do you time batch? What are some of your favorite tips for productivity?