I’m always sceptical about new trends in working habits. I tried the Pomodoro method and found it to be completely frantic. I’ve also tried the “Power Hour”, where you tackle your biggest tasks for the day in a single hour. And I’ve tried tracking every single minute of my day to make myself more accountable. I was even briefly intrigued by the idea that I could schedule my work tasks around my cycle – I’m still investigating this. But batch working is the first productivity method which has actually made me feel like I’m in control.
What is batch working?
I first came across batch working on A Beautiful Mess. This article led me to the wonderful Jenna Kutcher, who is the original lady behind batch working theory. According to Jenna, batch working is all about hyper focussed work that looks at just one topic. Rather than hopping around between tasks, you get through all of one type of task. And then you move on to the next. It’s the antithesis of multi-tasking and I love it.
What does batch working look like?
This all depends on the type of work that you do. If you’re a blogger, it might involve doing all of your topic research on one day. Then writing all your blogs the next. And then creating social media images and captions the next day. The idea is that you get completely “in the zone” for doing that one specific task until it’s done. Obviously, it won’t work for everyone. But if you have a pretty good amount of flexibility in your work schedule, then you should be able to make it work for you.
How did batch working change my work?
My work is very flexible, which means that I have retainer work which needs to be completed every month and then my clients will send ad hoc projects as they crop up. In the past, I would sit down at the start of the month and distribute the retainer work throughout the month. For example, if I’m writing a client’s blog, I would aim to write one blog per week. However, this never really worked for me. I thought the variety would help keep things interesting, but it could mean that I would have to switch to writing about a tech startup to writing about dentist treatments. And let me tell you, that can be quite jarring.
How it helped me find focus
It has also helped me to find greater enjoyment in my work. Batch working allows me to get completely wrapped up in a task for the day and look at my output as a whole, rather than fragmented pieces. It’s also helped me to find more time for clients. In the past, my retainer work was spread out through the month and I could end up turning down work because I would have to complete work I’ve known about for weeks. Now, I get this work completed at the start of the month which gives me much greater flexibility.
It also helped me to completely transform my own business planning. As I also run this blog and my batting cage business blog, I was struggling to find the time to write for myself. The solution? Make the time. I’ve given myself two days per month just to focus on writing for my own business. Without this dedicated time, it would always get bumped to the bottom of the schedule and never get done – just look at the gaps in this blog!