We are up to week 3 of the Get Shit Done Challenge and today we are talking about batching content and time blocking
Let’s talk about batching and time blocking, two concepts which relate to putting things together.
Batching is the process of doing a series of stuff that is the same, together at the same time.
For example: If you’ve got videos to record, you’ve gone to all the effort to put the video camera on, plug the microphone in, put the lights on… you may as well record several videos, rather than just one.
It is much more time efficient to do them all in a row, than to do one a day or one a week.
The batching concept works the same for any tasks on your list though. If you are in the middle of doing data entry, you may as well do all of the data entry for a week, rather than do dribs and drabs every day. You’ve already got the software open, you’ve already got the paperwork out that you need, and you are in that focused head space for getting it done.
The same concept works for creating content. Rather than writing a bit here, and a bit there, why not dedicate a day to writing several blog posts. You’ll be in the mindset for writing, you’ll have secured yourself some quiet time and you’ll have blocked out the distractions around you.
You are going to achieve a hell of a lot more by deciding to do it all at the same time.
Even if you don’t have multiple videos to record, or multiple blog posts to write, you can still use this concept.
Batch tasks together that are similar, even if they are not exactly the same.
You might have a series of writing tasks, writing emails, writing webcopy and then writing a blog post. They are all writing based tasks and could all go well batched together, rather than jumping from one different type of task to the other.
Multi-tasking is a complete lie (I’m sorry, but it’s true)
We really don’t multitask well.
Your brain is simply switching from one task to another, backwards and forwards, quickly, rather than doing them both at the same time and our brains don’t do that as well as you think.
It takes time to re-focus, it takes time to get back into the swing of a task, it takes time to find your spot again and work out where you were up to. (You’ll know this well if you have ever stopped to take a phone call in the middle of fiddly data entry. )
So rather than jumping in and out of projects, it makes more sense to do that task for a longer period of time, or to put it together with other very similar tasks.
This isn’t always fun, I completely understand. Rather than jumping in and out of things when you get bored, you are going to have to focus and work on something for a period of time… but, the results are impressive, and you will get much more done in a shorter amount of time, than you would have done if you tried to drag that task across 5 or 6 days.
Time blocking is the process of finding time on your calendar and blocking it out for a specific thing.
Now that you’ve learnt all about batching, I’d time block for a specific batch of things.
Rather than just having a massive to do list, and randomly getting to things when I feel like it, I have a spot blocked out on my calendar in advance. For example, I would block a spot for video recording day. Or maybe Monday morning is content creation time.
That way, I know if I have content to create, I can just drop it into that time block.
This is one of the best ways to get organised with your schedule, but it also makes it much easier to know what to do, when.
Rather than trying to do content creation every now and then, or when you get around to it, it always happens on a Monday morning.
If you’ve got something you need to create, you simply schedule it for next Monday morning.
You don’t need to try and squeeze it in now, you don’t have to worry about it, you just know that it will happen next Monday morning.
To make this work, you do need to be quite organised… it means if you are going to release content on the Friday, you need to have made it the Monday before.
But it is a great way to organise your time, to see how much time you really spend doing things, and to make sure you get dedicated time to do these tasks… rather than getting to busy, or just loosing track (was it one week since I sent my last newsletter? Or 2? Oh whoops… it was 3?!)
It is very easy to have things on a to-do list that you just never get around to. It just moves further down the list, and you always find yourself saying “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll do that next week”.
The problem is, we never get around to that task because we didn’t specifically block out time for it.
So, your challenge for today.
Start looking into batching and time blocking.
For example: I really do spend Monday morning on content creation. I know that I am most productive in the morning, and on that morning I create a blog post for the week, I schedule any emails that need to go out – any content that is going out, is all done on that Monday morning.
That way I know it is prep’d in advance for the week (and I always feel like I got my week off to a great start, if I had a productive Monday morning.
I block Wednesdays for running face to face workshops and events. If I don’t have anything like that booked in, then I use it for recording videos, or adding extra support for Academy members.
It makes scheduling really easy. If I have a workshop to book, I just schedule it in for a Wednesday, because I know those days are ear-marked for that already. I don’t have to fight with my calendar anymore, because I just know which tasks get done on which days.
So, go and have a look at your calendar and see where you can block out time to work on specific projects (like the thing you wanted to achieve for your Get Shit Done Challenge.)
Inside those blocks, batch tasks, so you make the most of being in flow.
You don’t need to overcomplicated the process. Just start small, maybe by blocking something in for tomorrow morning, and really focusing on a batch of tasks during that time.
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