One thing I’ve gotten back to recently is focusing on how to increase productivity with batch days, and it’s a game changer. For me, long gone is the idea of multi-tasking to get various things done each day. Switching from task to task that were unrelated left me with things that never got completed, and left me extremely overwhelmed. To top it all off, I score pretty highly on the self-assessment for adult ADHD, so creating habits that help me focus is extremely important.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it quickly became obvious to me that the frequently changing news and underlying stress were a huge distraction from my work. I’ve worked remotely off and on for years now, and have gained all of the skills that make me disciplined in that. However, I realized I needed to get back to some old tactics to handle my schedule and sanity when it came to coping with “the new normal.” Re-exploring and becoming more disciplined in batch days has helped tremendously with that. So, whether for work or personal life (I use them for a mix of both), I figured I’d share some information to help you create your own batch days!
What are batch days?
Batch days are days in which you focus all of your to-do tasks on one similar subject. If you have taken on the habits of your mother and find yourself waking up early on Saturday mornings to play music as you clean the house, or you meal prep for the whole week on Sundays – then congratulations, you already have one batch day!
A batch can span your full day, or just be a large portion of it if that better suits you. I generally need to handle a few non-changing daily tasks as well as work on design for my clients, so I always have time set aside for that. However, I focus at least the first half of my day on my batch tasks. Wearing multiple hats, whether in business or in your personal, can easily become overwhelming without systems in place. Running my own design studio, my role can range from designer to marketing manager to customer service representative on a day-to-day basis. In order to not fall behind and neglect key tasks, I implemented batch days to help get my life back together.
What can I group together to increase productivity with batch days?
It takes a little thinking to figure out exactly what batch days will look like for you and your business or lifestyle. Not all batch days will look the same for all entrepreneurs, because we all have different businesses and tasks.
I’ll dive more into the details of mine later in the post, but just for reference here’s my list:
Sunday: Self Care + Scheduling
Friday: Updates + Admin
Here are the steps I took to determine what my batch days would look like:
- Determine Your Focus
- What is the reason you need batch days? Is it for keeping your house clean? For keeping your business in order? For staying on top of social media? Your focus will be key for breaking down and grouping tasks to achieve your goals.
- Group Together Key Tasks
- List out the tasks that you need to do weekly to achieve your goals. These can be as general or specific as you want. Next, group similar tasks together based on a theme for the day.
- Assign Each Group To A Day
- Your batch days may or may not need to be arranged in a flow, but take that into consideration. Is there something you can do on Monday that will make Tuesday’s tasks easier? Is there a certain day of the week that makes a batch easier because of your availability? Don’t stress yourself out about this. I arranged mine a few times until I got into a flow that felt just right!
My batch day schedule for productivity
I have both Lindsey Created and my vintage e-commerce store to manage, as well as an extra passion project or two. With my hands in so many pots, it can be easy for me to “abandon” my blogs or even my e-mail inboxes for whatever business isn’t my primary focus at the time. I’ve missed out on so many opportunities in doing that. So, my goal for 2020 was to streamline everything as much as possible so that I can prevent this.
Sunday: Self Care + Scheduling
For me, Sunday is the first day in my process. It’s the perfect day for me to reflect on the week before, as I plan for the week ahead. I relax for most of the day, and in the evening I’ll light a candle and pour some wine as I grab my planner or a notepad and brainstorm ideas for the week.
A lot of my growth goals are based around traffic brought in by content. I have so many gems to share (like this post) but have to do so consistently and not once every blue moon. Monday’s are when I’m the most focused on a fresh new week, so it’s the perfect day to start with a cup of coffee and power through some blog posts. I keep a list of post ideas whenever one hits me, and on Mondays I choose a few to work through. I blog across all of my businesses in the same day, in order from primary business to passion projects. If I need to design any accompanying freebies or resources I focus time on that on this day as well.
Since by Tuesday my blog posts for the week are written, I can then assess which of them I can shoot some custom featured images for. I’ll spend the early part of my morning having tea as I browse Pinterest for random inspiration and concept ideas. Depending on the topic these may just be lifestyle shots of something in my home or actual pictures of me in some dreamy sustainable fashion brand. I’ll prep items and myself for shooting, and usually throw in at least an extra outfit for social media. If there’s a YouTube video to film, I’ll also try to squeeze that in while I look nice (before I head back to sweatpants for the rest of the week). Once that’s a wrap I also shoot product photos for my shop. The shooting alone usually takes up a full day so I save the editing for another time.
Oh the joys of social media. I’m notorious for neglecting my Instagram feed as sometimes it’s a lot of pressure thinking about what to post. But with batch days, between planning, blog posts, shoots, and living my life, I usually have some content that I can work with by Wednesday. I’ve just found a VSCO recipe that I like to use on my images for some visual consistency on my feed, and have some go-to graphic templates designed as well. These help with pushing out content in various formats whether it be a photo for Instagram, a blog graphic for Pinterest, a design example for Twitter, etc without being too time consuming. I use Planoly or Later to preview my feed and schedule posts throughout the week + get reminders. There are other scheduling tools available as well depending on what platform you’re aiming to post on.
This is the day that I take some time to focus on my shop and tasks other than shipping (I make a quick post office run almost daily). I love going out to thrift stores, consignment stores, antique shops, etc if it’s a nice day! If i’m not out, I’ll spend some time editing product photos and planning for new things. I’m currently taking note of some modern items to purchase in bulk within the same aesthetic, so that the shop can begin to keep stock without me sourcing. That of course takes some planning so it’s great on this day too.
Friday: Updates + Admin
One thing that I never had the right amount of time for before was making sure that MY site is the way that I’d like it. There are always new improvements, new resources, new processes, etc. that I can be working on. So on Fridays, I work on design for my own site and business. There are plenty of things I like to provide outside of just blog posts so it’s great to have time set aside for that. This is also a great time to get in some admin tasks to keep my business running smoothly.
This one needs no explaining! It’s a classic.
Overall, mixing batch days with my preferred work from home schedule has been a big hit. It’s helping me be my own best employee. What are some tips and tricks you use for staying productive?
If you’re looking to re-design your business and your processes, I’m always here to help.