Ep 155 | Tasks You Can Batch For More Efficiency
When you put similar tasks together you get more done in less time. This is because you're not wasting brain energy on thinking about different tasks and switching between the resources to get them done. You might be wondering what that means as far as types of tasks you can batch. Well that's what this episode is all about!
What you'll learn:
→ what types of tasks you can batch
→ how to put them on your calendar so they get done
Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:
[4:50] Batching your tasks Choose the best time for you to complete each task without having to multitask on different things. Plan out a day that you can complete that task, not just for the day or week, but for the month ahead.
[9:25] Schedule your tasks Organize your tasks by similarity so you can spend each day working on like minded tasks rather than having to shift your focus into different directions. Make a list of what tasks can be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis so you can plan your schedule ahead of time and not stress about when you can get things done.
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[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So I want to start out today's episode with a little bit of a story. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter came home from theater and we found out she'd been exposed to COVID. So she got COVID, then my son got COVID, and my husband got COVID. And then I got COVID, all within like, you know, a few days. So it was a total of like, two weeks, two and a half weeks where, you know, somebody was sick, I was taking care of somebody, you know, we all did great, everything is okay. But it was like two weeks of a little bit of chaos. And I didn't have my regular routine, and I wasn't working as much as I normally do. And when I was resting while I was sick, some of the things started to bubble up for me. I started making all these lists of all these things that I needed to do, tasks that I needed to do. And I started to get a little bit frustrated and stressed out. Because I didn't have podcast episodes recorded ahead of time, I didn't have my social stuff recorded and ready to go, I had gotten behind on the tasks that I preached to you so many times that need to be done on a regular basis and ahead of time, so that you can continue to move through your business. So it was a little stressful, and I tried my best to just rest and relax. But you know, as the leaders of your organization, that's easier said than done. And so it really kind of re-motivated me to get me back to that place of batching my content, batching my tasks and getting ahead of the game, so that I can be a little bit more intentional in my business, work on some more income producing activities. And really kind of move with ease within what I'm doing on a day to day basis instead of from a place of panic. So I thought this might be a good time to record an episode for you all, to talk about all the different kinds of tasks that you can batch and group. And then also kind of ways that I put some things on my calendar to ensure that these things get done, because some of them I enjoy doing. Some of them, I don't as much, but they're still important and need to get done. And by me doing those things consistently, it's going to help me get to the place where I can hire somebody to take over some of those tasks that I don't like, right. So that's what I'm going to talk about in this episode, How to batch, what to batch, and how to make sure that it gets done. Okay. My name is Sami, and I'm so grateful that you listen and that you are here, taking in the digital marketing therapy podcast, I so appreciate you. But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our office hours, our digital marketing therapy sessions, you want 30 minutes one on one with me to chat through whatever it is that you need support with, helping you group and batch your content or your tasks, or pull all of these things together. You can book that time with me at thefirstclick.net/officehours and we can tackle whatever that you have on your plate. Okay, so again, thefirstclick.net/officehours, have me in your back pocket, and let's get the dang thing done. Let's get into the episode.
[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so what is batching? Batching is basically taking similar tasks and grouping them together and doing them all at one time. And the reason why batching can make you more efficient and more effective is because you can, your brain power works differently. So then when I'm doing similar types of tasks, I'm in the flow, I'm in a rhythm, right and I don't remember the stat but something like when you get interrupted when you're doing something, it takes almost 23 minutes to kind of get back to the task that you were doing. So for example, if you are writing a blog post for your website, and then a donor calls you on the phone and you have like a 20 minute conversation with them, and then you have to get back to your blog post. Then somebody comes in and interrupts you and needs something to do with Financials for something, right? You're going into all these different places, if you would have just had maybe 20 minutes to get that content done, you'd be done, right but now it's going to take you a whole lot longer because your focus is shifting and not staying on task with what is happening.
So what we want to do is group tasks together. So I like to have a day where I'm working on financials right. That takes a very different kind of brainpower, at least for me. So I like to do that all at once. I know I like to do it usually in the morning, because that's when my mental capacity is much more likely to be able to support those kinds of tasks. And I'm probably not going to do it on a Monday or Friday, right. So I'm thinking about the kind of tasks and I'm also thinking about when it makes the most sense for me to do them. So that's one example of financials. When it comes to marketing, I might have an afternoon where I'm going to sit down and write a ton of social media posts, get them all written, and get them all scheduled. And so there's certain things here that you might want to do in different groupings. So depending on how you operate, because again, a lot of this is going to be based off of you and the way that you'd like to work. So when it comes to social media, it might be that you block off and afternoon to do all of the caption writing, and you write all the captions, and then you block off an hour to pull all of the images that you need for all those captions, because now you know exactly what you're looking for. And then maybe you have a couple of hours, that same day where you go, and you schedule everything. Or maybe you're somebody who just wants to do it all at once, right. So maybe you want to have, you want to write the caption, get the image and schedule it all at once. So you know that it's done. This really helps you in making sure that you have, you know, a week or two of stuff done. So, have a goal in mind. So I'm going to say that every month, I'm going to block off a half a day, and it might feel extreme right, I'm going to block off a half a day or a whole day. And all I'm gonna do is social media that day. And I'm going to get it done for the bulk of the month. And you might not have every single post done. But you might have at least, you know, two or three a week that you know are ready. You might have, maybe you're going to record three or four reels that you can use throughout the month or stories and you have them all in the can ready to go. Because then you're not in the moment, you're not feeling like you need to hurry up and post something. So the quality of the work you're going to be doing is better, the messaging is going to be better, your engagement is going to be better, right. So that's what we want to think about when we do things like social media. Same when I'm recording content, or doing blog posts, whatever it is that you push out on a regular basis. I used to and this is what we're working on getting back to because this was the stressor, I used to be about six weeks ahead. So I would record this episode today. And it wouldn't go live until six weeks from now. As it stands, I'm recording this episode today to go live next week. And that's just not a good place to be in. It feels really busy, yucky stressful, because there's a lot of moving parts that happened with this podcast, right has to be edited, we have to get the transcripts, we have to get the YouTube video up, all of the things. So I gave myself the grace of being sick, and just whatever. But now we're going to catch up, and we're going to try to get things ahead. So what this means is, I am going to block off time on my calendar to get podcasts recorded, because that's the first part of it. Once I have my podcast recorded, I like to get those in a chunk as much as I can to my editor so that he can edit, you know, two or three episodes at one time, right? That helps him with his schedule. And then I can get those, those bulk podcasts to the guy who does all my show notes. So then he can do all of those at one time and schedule his stuff out. And then I can do what I need to do on the front facing website and write my email. So I like to do all that at one time. So I'll block off a chunk of time. We're all finished with the show-notes, the pages on the website, I will write the emails, I will get the promotional graphics that I need to my designer so that he can complete those. But I like to do them all at once. Write the email that goes out to my newsletter, any social posts or things that need to be pulled together. So our podcast is kind of batched in some different chunks.
But then I know I have it all done. I don't have to think about it. I don't have to worry about it too much. Now, as you know, some of my podcast episodes have interviews. I have guests quite often. So I can't always control how things are scheduled. But I can control the days that I allow people to schedule. So I have my calendar blocked off with the days, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are days that I know no one's in the house. My husband goes to the office, my kids are at school, so those are the best days for me to go ahead and record podcast episodes. So well I'm not necessarily batching that all the time, I am in a content mode on Tuesdays for sure. And sometimes Wednesdays. So I am still working through some of that stuff. So if I'm not recording podcasts, and I'm working on the other things that I chatted about. So think about this, like if you're out having sales calls, or you're doing donor calls, right? It might be that on Wednesdays are the days that you make all of your calls. And that could be a combination of in person and phone calls. Or it could just be the days that you do your outreach to your donors or to talk to sponsors or whatnot. So you have all of that you're in that flow. So it's still like tasks, even though the tasks don't look exactly the same. It might be that you have a day a month that you work on your website to make sure that things are all pulled together, what I want you to do is really think about the tasks that you have. And we've done some of these exercises in the past. So go back, if you've done time tracking, if you've done all of that, go back and revisit it and really group your tasks together. So what are the things that you're doing that are similar, and how can you group them together, and then take a look at what are daily tasks, what are weekly tasks, and what are monthly tasks, so that you know, kind of how you need to allocate your time. So for example, a daily task might be hopping into your CRM, and following up with folks that donated through your website from the day before, right? That might be something we want to do on a daily basis. Daily tasks might be getting on social media, and commenting and engaging with the people that have, not doing the posts, but commenting, engaging with potential people and those that have interacted and engaged with your posts from that day or the previous day. Weekly tasks might look like sales calls, donor calls, it might look like emails that need to go out, whatever that might be. And then monthly tasks are going to be bigger things like the content that you're creating. Maybe it's reviewing your financials for the department for the month, or setting up, like writing out all your email newsletters for the whole month and getting all of that done. So your daily tasks aren't going to take as much time each day. Your weekly tasks will be a little bit bigger. And then of course, your monthly tasks are going to take you maybe a whole day or a couple hours or a half a day. So the next step, then, is to put those things on your calendar and make them a habit. So like I have my whole morning routine, if you listen to that episode, it's in my Google calendar. So I get those alerts every single day. And it might feel like overkill to some people. But it's a great reminder for me. So when I sit down, they’re there, and I can work through them. And I see them and it's easy. So put those things on your calendar. And the other thing that that does is allows the people on your team to kind of know where you're at. So I have all of my things blocked off. And I'm working on cleaning that up and kind of updating that because I got a little off track. So I'm working on that right now. But put those things on your calendar, so your team knows when you're available and when you're not. And then it’s working on respecting that. So if your phone rings, when you're in the middle of a content block, let the phone ring, you can call them back when you're done. Just keep working on what you need to be working on. I promise you, they'll be there when you get done with the thing that you're working on. And then I also themed my days, so that it's easy for me to kind of remember so I have that at the top of my calendar as like an all day thing, right? So you know, Monday is client work, Tuesday is content work, right? Wednesday is client work. So what is it, the things that I have that are going on, just helps me to really mentally get into the right mindset in the morning as far as what I'm going to be working on. Then the last piece of that is just respecting yourself and holding yourself as at the same importance as other people that are coming in to interrupt you and or need you and or want to book time with you. So make sure that you hold yourself with that same amount of care and do the work that you know you need to do. You block that time off so that you can get it done. If you have one day a month that you're working on content creation and you skip it, then you're going to be in that mode of I'm behind. I can't catch up. I didn't get that done, right. Whatever it is, and we'll tend to push the things we don't like to do so much. And so I like having it in the calendar to just kind of remind me and build those habits. So I hope that you'll work on batching. I hope that you'll work on pulling your tasks together and that you'll work on this with your team. It’d be great if your whole team can work in flow. Know that it's not perfect all the time. We have to work through ebbs and flows with our schedules and sickness and life. Right. So give yourself some grace, but it's a great foundation to build off of so that you can get the things done that you know need to be done, and not be in reactive mode but really be a little bit more proactive with the tasks that you're doing that you know are driving income or just requirements for your business, and your job. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I hope you'll subscribe wherever you listen and check out the videos of these podcasts at thefirstclick.net/YouTube. Have a great one we'll see in the next one.