This might just be one of my favorite work hacks ever. I was doing it before I even realized I was doing it. Or, I should say, before I realized “batching” was even a thing.
Batching is something that’s worked well for me and my energy type (if you want to get a little woo woo about it, I’m a Manifestor In Human Design- which means we work in bursts of energy at a time, instead a long, sustained chugging along kind of thing).
As with anything I share here, just because it works for me, doesn’t mean that it will work for you! However, I do still strongly recommend to just try it. Commit to at least a month to get in a good rhythm, and notice if it works well for you, or not. This is a really low-risk practice to try. The worst that happens is you don’t like it, and then you can go back to doing it how you were before!
What is Batching?
First things first, let’s start with what the hell batching even is, because I know there’s a lot of people out there confused about what I’m talking about.
Batching is an organizational and productivity practice of grouping tasks together.
What’s an Example of Batching?
Let’s break it down a bit more:
If you’re a content creator, then you know there’s many different components to the job. You have to plan out the content, shoot the content, edit the content, caption the content, and then make sure it’s scheduled to post.
So, look at all of those as different components as tasks. Instead of doing ALL of them EVERY day, you’ll do ONE of them each day (or over a series of days, weeks, however long).
Take the first one: plan content. It seems like this would be best every Friday, so you already have a plan in place for the following week. This might not take the ENTIRE day, so maybe you slot in to a specific part of your schedule (every Friday morning from 7 – 10 am).
The second task: shoot the content. This one can very easily take longer than a day, depending on how much content you’re shooting. Let’s say you have 3 ad campaigns to shoot for the month. Choose one day, or a series of days, where all you do is shoot content. This means you can dedicate 100% of your energy to shooting, rather than being pulled in a million different directions. This is also a great way to maximize costs of glam (or just regular ‘ole getting ready), set, studio rentals, etc.
Batching would continue to occur for all of the tasks.
It’s important to note that some tasks won’t take an entire day. So perhaps their dedicated batch is more of TIME (like the first task). The important thing with this, is that it’s paired other tasks in the day that are complimentary and cohesive.
The Task Switching Challenge
Some people are super skilled at task switching, and can wear a million different hats at once. I am not one of those people. And, based on what I know from my many mentorship clients, many people are like me in this way, where they find jumping from one task to another challenging.
Sometimes it can take a *moment* to actually settle in, and fully arrive to whatever it is that you’re doing, ya know?
Task switching repeatedly throughout the day often drains people of their energy, AND reduces productivity. Whereas batching does the opposite: it maintains energy, and increases productivity.
Batching For Creatives
Look, I know that batching is also well praised by the executives of the world, and all those people in suits doing the corporate thing (ahem, my wife is one of those people). So, I’m not saying it’s ONLY for creatives.
What I am say, as a creative person, I can speak to how this practice has really helped me when I’m in a creative flow.
Let’s take this blog, for instance. When I decided to give it a serious shot, I had to work through some serious writer’s block (I know, I know, you wouldn’t guess based on how many blogs I put out a month- but it’s true).
As a writer, I know that one thing that makes me feel like I’m choking is when I have time restrictions. I much prefer to write fluidly, rather than crunched and crammed and rushed.
So, as my own boss and the writer of this blog, how do I use batching?
I have a dedicated day every week that’s my writing day. I won’t schedule any meetings, I won’t film a class, I won’t book a mentorship client. Hell, I won’t even book more pleasurable stuff like massages, or yoga classes, or whatever beauty thing I’m into. Why? Because I know my writer brain all too well. And that part of my brain will latch onto ANY excuse it can get not to write. Look, it’s not the best quality I have, and I’m working on it, okay?
Having a full day dedicated to writing helps the words FLOW without stress, which is so important for me. I like my creative process for EVERYTHING to be pleasurable. I find this place of pleasure also helps me produce higher quality work.
Making it a win-win for all of us 🙂
Batching Is Not Promoting Hustle Culture
I know when I write about “productivity hacks,” there’s going to be people out there thinking that batching is evil, hustle culture jargon.
But the truth is, it’s not!
It’s not about getting more more more done. It’s also about preserving, and sustaining your energy- rather than depleting you in the way that hustle culture does.
From my experience, batching has actually INCREASED my energy levels AND my free time.
I can work a 3 or 4 day workweek now, because I’m able to be more productive in the days that I am working. That doesn’t sound very hustle culture to me.