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Work Smart: How I Get More Done in Less Time

 

This method is how I get All The Things done without:

    1. Losing my mind
    1. Annoying my very patient husband (but it happens sometimes anyway)
    1. Missing a beat with my web design business and my very special FTFP community

Now, I’m not saying there are not still days where I want to invent a time machine so 24 hours could be 36…I’m just saying that it doesn’t happen as often anymore.

And, most importantly, it helps me keep my sanity and actually be of service.

The Secret Sauce of Productivity: Batching

There you go, right away: the secret to doing ten million things at once is batching them.

The other half of that equation is two-fold: batching consistently and using automation software.

Ready to go down the rabbit hole?

I batch things in many different ways — which I’ll be sharing here — but mostly I do it because I’m lazy. There are things in my business — most things — which I find incredibly repetitive to do.

These include: admin, accounting, maintaining a constant social media presence..

Getting Started

If you’re new to batching or you’ve heard of it and just don’t know where to start, I’d like you to take a pen and paper and list out the things you know you have to do, every week, so they don’t start to creep up on you and overwhelm you.

Just dump it all on that notepad. Got it? Okay, good.

Now, you have the option of “batching” or grouping these tasks in one of the following ways:

By time pockets

You can do it by week: Monday for social media strategy, Wednesday and Thursday for client work, Tuesday and Friday for consult calls;

You can do it by month: scheduling business accounting at end of the month, one evening or one whole day

You can do it by optimal time periods: I have my best ideas in the mornings so afternoons are reserved ONLY for meetings.

By service or business goal

I want 1000 followers on Twitter by the end of the month so I should schedule out tweets and re-tweets every week.

I want way more traffic on my site so I’m going to write 5 blog posts and pre-schedule these for the month.

By topic

This is the easiest way to batch and it goes something like this:

  • Week 1, I’ll batch blog posts for the entire month
  • Week 2, I’ll batch accounting, billing, invoicing tasks for the month
  • Week 3, I’ll batch write social posts for the month

You get the idea.

Tips for Batching: Batcher Beware!

Consistency, Consistently

Okay, you smart freelancer, you. This is a magic solution but results are not typical. Nothing is sold separately but it comes with one very big consumer warning: you’ve got to do it consistently.

Once you decide on and create your schedule for the batching of these tasks (based on your optimal working hours), set it in stone.

It’s non-negotiable.

Doing these tasks repetitively — in the same way or at the same time every week — will make it a habit. Your mind expects it.

And you know what they say about expectation of success: if you expect it and prepare for it, it happens.

Keep the same ritual surrounding it. For example, if the only way you can go through your business accounting every month is with a nice glass of wine (or a bag of coca-cola gummies, no judgement), then do that every month.

You should also use just one or two pieces of software or hook up several pieces in one workflow.

So, for example, I keep one piece of software for scheduling out tweets only and I use another for social media updates to Facebook and Twitter on new blog posts.

Behind the Scenes

Here’s the really cool thing about batching: it makes you feel like a productivity machine.

Everything is really interconnected. When I work smarter, I do more. When I do more, I serve better and create higher-value, quality content for my clients and community. When I serve them, I end up hitting my income goals. When I hit those, I empower myself and my business to continue this cycle of learning and sharing.

It’s pretty crazy how far reaching the effects of batching have been for me. And any self-employed person who uses batching will tell you the same.

What Others Think You’re Doing

I mean, this is not why you’re doing it right? You just want to get more done in a day without killing yourself and maintaining a work-life balance.

All those Instagram posts showcasing a tanned, leggy entrepreneur chilling in an infinity pool in Bali while working on laptop that you favorite? You want to do that (or, at least, plan for that).

In other words, you want to work to live, not live to work. Right?

Good. Me too. But batching helps you pay more attention to the things that really matter — high value content, serving clients and your community, sharing experiencing, generating traffic and sales — while still appearing to do All. The. Things.

Others will think you’re a machine with no life. Until they see you at an infinity pool in Bali, not quite as leggy but just as tanned.

The bottom line is that there’s no getting around actually doing the work. Whether it’s Mondays-only or mornings-only, someone has to actually do it. Batching just means you don’t have to be doing it all the time.

Bonus: Batching Video

If you’re working on batching video, here are my top tips:

  • Sunny days, you can do a combination of indoor and outdoor
  • Dull or rainy days, do outside or only inside with a combination of regular room lights and a bright SAD lamp behind the camera
  • Use a selfie stick
  • Change up your clothing between shoots
  • Pick out 3 – 5 topics beforehand (search through communities, Amazon and Pinterest for issues people are having that you can provide some insight on)
  • Your videos don’t need to be scripted but you should have a General Nugget or Big Take-away

So what’re you waiting for? Batch to it! And tell me what tasks you batch or how you batch them in the comments below.

Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Yes, please!

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Pshh, Batch Please! (sorry, I felt compelled to say that) :p
    But seriously Leah, you just brought up an important and actionable way to remain more productive. I absolutely love to batch things into daily time pockets (Monday I do this, Tuesday I do that, etc). It’s not always perfect, but it has definitely increased my results in the long-run.

    Thanks for bringing up such a seemingly simple, yet highly important subject.

    Enjoy your week, Leah!
    Elvis

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis

      Yaya – glad it was helpful!

  • This post was awesome!! I loved your explanation of batching (I’ve heard others refer to it as time-blocking). I honestly just work on my blog whenever I’m free, so I should really start to set a specific date to plan out weekly blog posts for the months. Honestly, such a great idea!

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