How to set up a plan to actually start batch working in your business
Have a sneaky feeling that you’re not using your time very wisely and are always hopping from one project to the next, no real strategy to your work day and definitely no method to your madness? Maybe you’re feeling frustrated with how little you’re accomplishing in a day?
Well then! Batch working might just be your answer.
But how exactly do you get started with batch working? Solid question.
Today I’m going to share my approach to starting to batch work in your business!
In order to share my approach, I need to explain a little story first on how I feel like I actually mastered batch working and then my approach will make a whole lot of sense!
Why you shouldn’t copy another’s batch work schedule
If you’re anything like me, you heard the benefits of batch working (more efficiency, accomplishing work faster, feeling more accomplished and less frazzled) and were down!
So then you listen to others who have also mastered it and ask ‘what are you batching?’ and ‘when do you do that batch of work?’ and then try to do the same!
Anddd it doesn’t work!
Why? Because if hypothetical Heather is doing all the financial management of her business on Fridays and YouTube recording on Tuesdays, there’s no guarantee that’ll work for me or you.
Why? If you’re like me and have a bookkeeper, maybe you don’t need to spend a full day working on managing the finances of your business. Or maybe you just do a few high-volume sales per month, so again, there’s no need for you to spend a full day on that task.
And while hypothetical Heather spends a full day on Tuesday recording YouTube videos, maybe you blog or podcast, so you obviously spending a day recording videos would be useless to you.
So basically, if you want to get started with batch working, DON’T ask others what they’re doing and then just copy them. It is very likely that that will not at all work for you!
know there’s Batch work frequency options
Batch working also doesn’t mean doing 1 task on 1 day. It could mean batching work into weeks or a monthly routine or some other frequency.
For example, Marie Forleo spends weeks batch recording her MarieTV shows for the year. She rents a studio and has a whole team of hair, makeup and video folks there to help her. They’ve found that dedicating a few weeks with everyone focusing on the same thing works best for them as opposed to doing it once a week on a certain day.
Another example for you, I block our 3 months for a course build. If I was trying to build and launch a course working on it a day or two per week, it’d take me FAR longer (probably a year) to launch a course. Instead, focusing on it all at once allows me to get a new course done pretty quickly.
So again, when thinking about batch working, don’t just think that it means assigning one task to one day of the week, there’s other options!
How i decided on my batch work schedule
Now I’ve been working for myself for a few years and have been reflecting, I’ve picked up some knowledge on how I like to work.
The times I felt the most stressed, frustrated, and unaccomplished were the months I was juggling multiple projects at once. For example, I had a month in the past where I was building a client’s website, as well as creating a new 4 part webinar series and filing our taxes all at the same time.
I finished that month feeling like a hot mess and not being pleased with the work I did on any project. I felt guilty that I hadn’t been able to dedicate the amount of time and mental energy to any of the tasks that I wanted to.
(Except for the taxes, as long as they’re submitted to me, that’s good enough, haha.)
When I looked back on that month (and many others over the years), I learned that I like to be able to focus on one major project at a time, knock it out and move on to the next one.
I really hate it when my month is mixed up and I’m trying to juggle say course launching with preparing for upcoming sales and future services all at the same time.
So my preferred way to batch work isn’t to choose a day of the week to do something, but instead set weeks to tasks.
Mostly I batch my work by weeks like so:
Week 1: Course launch
Week 2: Prep for upcoming flash sale
Week 3: Plan & launch business retreat
Week 4: Plan & launch business retreat
Not all tasks are created equal, so I think through how long I think a project will realistically take. I know I’ll likely only need a week to prep for an upcoming flash sale, but will need more like 2 weeks to plan and launch my business retreats! (For more on that, check out How I’m planning a new service in my business!)
Now there’s 1 sneaky thing that I admit kept completely screwing with my beautifully planned batch work weeks, and that is phone calls!
I do phone calls for a variety of things. I meet with my assistant and FB ads team weekly, and I also do phone calls with podcast guests to record our episodes together. They tended to be sprinkled throughout my week which was super annoying, because I like to work from coffee shops. And I personally find it rather awkward to hold business calls and chat with people on a video call while at a coffee shop. (Plus, the wifi isn’t always the most reliable.) And I need a quiet background free of chatter while recording podcasts.
So I found myself annoyed again as I headed to the coffee shop, and then needed to run home to do a phone call and go back again. It was super inefficient as I was packing up my stuff, then walking or biking 15 mins each way and then unpacking again.
And with a lot of these phone calls, once I get off them, there’s associated tasks. I often need to do something for my FB ads team or assistant in order for them to do the work they need to do. So those tasks were also getting added on to my to do list, when I really wanted to focus on something else.
So my solution?
I set one day of the week to do phone calls. I chat with my FB ads team and assistant and then record podcasts all on Tuesdays.
It also helps me make plans with friends. Because of time zones, I often need to record podcasts at night after my normal work day. Sometimes I’d make plans with friends, then forget to put it in my calendar, have a podcast guest book a call time and need to reschedule with friends. So now I just know to never make plans with friends on Tuesday nights, but give them all the other nights of the week as options.
I’ve also heard of girls who produce YouTube content finding that it takes them forever to make a video because every time before they do they need to wash, dry and straighten their hair, do their makeup and find a clean shirt. Time consuming right?! Carrie Green batches and records multiple videos all in one day, just changing her shirt or adding lipstick between videos.
Even though I just shared my schedule and the schedules of others with you, I don’t want you to copy them! Here’s what to do instead…
How to create your own batch work schedule
Take stock of the work you do in your business throughout the year
Reflect on how you’ve felt about doing that work
Decide on the best batch frequency
Here’s a bit more of a breakdown on each of those:
1. Take stock of the work you do in your business throughout the year
That is, the major projects you need to complete (eg. client work, meetings, financial management, content creation, launching, product creation, filing taxes, planning for the new year, etc.).
Again, if you decide to copy my schedule and do meetings with a FB ads team on Tuesdays, but you don’t even have a FB ads team, that’s not a good plan. So look at the work YOU actually do first! Make a list and then . . .
2. Reflect on how you’ve felt about doing that work
Again, one of the biggest indicators that you need to find a better way to accomplish something is to look at what you get frustrated, stressed and annoyed with.
Are you annoyed that it takes you foreverrrr to produce a piece of content for YouTube? That posting to Instagram sucks up an annoyingly large amount of time? That meetings get in the way of the work you really want to be focusing on? That client projects drag on and on and onnnn? That you need to prepare for a task before you can do it? (Eg. getting pretty for videos, or moving from the coffee shop to home to do phone calls.)
All of these are solvable problems!
Write out what you’re annoyed with or what is causing problems.
3. Decide on the best batch frequency
Maybe you record videos and hate the amount of time it takes you to clean your room, set up the recording equipment and get all presentable and video ready!
So think through instead how you’d like to accomplish the task instead.
Could you dedicate a day of the week to it and do 4 videos in a day? Or maybe you don’t need to do 4 videos a week, every week and that’s more content then you feel like producing. So maybe you decide to dedicate one day a month to it, and that’s enough to keep your content pumping out at the frequency you desire.