As events pick up and many industry pros find themselves serving an unprecedented number of clients, time management becomes a vital element of any successful business. Without an organized approach to your workday, it’s easy to lose valuable time. It might feel like only a few minutes here and a few minutes there, but that time adds up!
When you aren’t managing your time wisely, you end up stressed out and falling behind. You lose time with loved ones when you have to push work into your personal hours, you lose money when you aren’t efficient with your billable hours, and you lose progress when you aren’t able to meet the deadlines you set for yourself.
Batch working is one of the most effective time management strategies to add to your arsenal if you haven’t already tried it out. By dedicating time and focus to working on one task, you’re able to be more productive and find a flow that maximizes your productivity.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is anything but efficient. It takes time and energy for your brain to switch gears and studies show that you don’t actually produce your best work when you multitask. So, if you’re constantly shifting back and forth between emails, social media, and client work, you’ll not only feel depleted but your quality of work will also suffer — and no one has time for that!
Make the most of each day with these powerful batch working techniques.
Map out your regular tasks.
Most of the daily, weekly, or monthly tasks on your to-do list can be batched. Scheduling social media posts, pinning on Pinterest, and responding to emails are all things most creatives do for their businesses daily and can be done in batches. I also recommend writing the copy for your blog posts and emails during a batch work session, as it can take a while to get into a good flow with your writing. Set aside a block on your schedule to reply to a set number of emails all at once or to prep the copy for a few blog posts and let the words flow. I even batch-prepare my client gifts for the year in advance so they’re all ready to go when a client’s anniversary rolls around. Instead of writing cards all year long, I write them all at once and send them out as needed!
Take advantage of technology.
Batch scheduling gets even more efficient when you pair it with digital productivity tools. The right technology can help you condense those tasks and save even more time. A few of my favorites include Tailwind for scheduling on Pinterest, Hootsuite for Facebook, and Planoly for Instagram. And I can’t forget my favorite tool — it’s one that’s often overlooked — your calendar! It’s simple but effective in mapping out your day in a visual manner. It’s easy to stay organized with color-coded blocks for different types of tasks and you can move around blocks and adjust your day’s workflow as needed, keeping you on-task.
Even the best intentions can’t save you from a never-ending barrage of distractions. From push notifications to emails to your television, there always seems to be something ready to pop up and demand your attention. When settling into a task, turn off all of the notifications on your phone and computer. Close out of your inbox (unless you’re batching emails!), switch that podcast to classical music, and dedicate your attention to the task at hand until it’s finished (or until your time block is over).
Batch your meetings.
Yes, it works for your appointments, too! Do you have weeks where you feel like you didn’t get anything done because every day was filled with meetings? Stop accepting appointments all the time. Try scheduling all of your calls within set times as best you can. If possible, allow one or two days each week for meetings and use the rest of the days to stay in your productivity zone. Appointments have a way of disrupting flow and eating up time between the prep and the travel. Instead of losing time each day to meetings, be intentional about when you’re in “meeting mode” and when you can be in “work mode.”
Be mindful of personalization.
While batch working is a powerful way to get more done in less time, it’s important to avoid sacrificing authenticity for efficiency’s sake. Say you batch-create a series of email templates to use in your workflow — brilliant! But don’t be quick to send them out. Instead, send those personal touchpoints individually and with care, ensuring that you can customize your communications with each of your clients. One of the benefits of batch working is that it allows you to more easily keep up with nurturing your one-on-one relationships!
It might take some time to adjust to this new way of viewing your time, but once it becomes a habit, you'll find increased productivity in business and life. You’ll learn how long it takes to work through a set of tasks and be able to strategically plan your schedule out in advance, allowing you to better manage your time and your progress on business projects.