28 Time Batching Ideas For Getting More Done, Ahead Of Schedule
Of all the time-saving hacks out there, batching has changed my life the most.
Before time batching, I was always feeling flustered over not having stuff prepared until the last minute. I often felt like I was behind schedule, struggling to keep up with a variety of tasks. I’d create or edit posts last minute, and that resulted in me being inconsistent. It was hard to run an online magazine with a full-time job, without a system to make it easier.
There are different types of people when it comes to being productive, and I’ve learned over the years that for me, it’s all about the prep work ahead of time.
The idea of batching is that you do work in bulk so that you can save time later. You pair similar tasks together to get a lot done in one or a few sittings. It’s a very focused time so that then you can go without working on that task for a while. So you could prep all your social media posts on Monday and not worry about creating anything for social until the following Monday.
These are especially applicable to content creators, which I know a lot of us fall under the category of either bloggers, editors, podcasters, Instagrammers, and all of the above.
I like to set quarterly goals, more so than yearly goals, because I find it easier to plan that far in advance. It’s tougher to do that in longer stretches because so much in life changes depending on the season of life that you’re in. I’m using Lavendaire’s Artist of Life workbook to plan out these goals this year. It has exercises to help you plan out your dream life and is designed for quarterly goal-setting.
If you have a business, blog or Instagram that requires photos of you, you can schedule a quarterly photoshoot, with multiple outfit changes. Unless your job really requires it, a quarterly shoot is all you need to keep your images up to date.
Building your calendar
Try creating themes for your months and generate those ideas quarterly. It can give you something new to work toward each month. And then build out what kind of activities and actions you can take each month to reach those milestones.
Whether you write blog posts or write for a living, it can be tough to get in the writing mood – but once you do, you feel like you’re on a roll. When you feel inspired, try writing a lot of posts in one day. Or if you’re writing a book or script, get a lot of sections done in one sitting.
Interviewing guests for a podcast
Want to start a podcast? The easiest way to stay consistent is to batch ahead. Schedule interview days, and have recordings done a month ahead of schedule so that if anything falls through, you’re covered. If you have a lot that you do on top of podcasting, this is an essential piece. You can record 3-5 podcasts in one day. Record solo episodes in one day. And if you’re editing them too, you can batch edit as well.
Are you one of those “signed up for an expensive course and then never completed it” kind of people? I feel you. Spend one day a month as a “learning day” so that you can get through some of those courses and start taking action from your findings.
While you probably want to review your stats often, spending time once a month to go through your top performances is helpful. Look at what is working, what isn’t, and revise your strategy based on how things are performing.
If you’re an influencer, reach out to brands all at one time. Or if you’re interested in collaborating with new people, meeting them for coffee or drinks, send out messages to everyone all at once. It can be kind of nervewracking to put yourself out there to new people, so why not reach out to everyone all in one go? You don’t have to meet up with everyone all in one day, although that could be a strategy that works for you too.
As it’s the holiday season right now, I’m reminded how much easier it would be if I batch-gifted presents ahead of time. If you know who you need to shop for, shop ahead of time and avoid the busiest times of the year.
Maintenance / Errands
From manicures to brows to car maintenance, we all have those tasks we like to keep up with to feel like we have our life together. Plan for those monthly, and create a checklist for everything that you need to keep up with. Then plan out Get Your Shit Together (GYST) days to get those errands done.
Instead of a spring cleaning spree, you can do decluttering monthly by having a day where you get rid of clothes, things you are no longer using and more. Turn on a show like Marie Kondo’s to get inspired, and then tackle one room or section of your home at a time.
Want to get to know your neighbors a little better? Or maybe make your coworkers obsessed with you? Do a baking spree and build some friendships. Bake a huge batch of cookies, or make a dish that everyone you know raves about.
Creating a theme
You can have “theme” days where you focus mostly on one area and batching content for the week. Maybe you have a Social Monday where you do prep the social media for the week ahead, or you have a Self-Care Sunday where you make sure to take care of yourself extra well with a face mask, yoga, and relaxation.
Laundry is one that most of us already batch with, but instead of doing one load of laundry, do a few and set yourself up for the week or even every couple of weeks if you have enough clothes to do that. And always fold and put them away as soon as they’re done drying, so that you feel put together going into the week.
Selecting clothes for the week
Speaking of clothes, save some time for yourself in the morning by deciding what you’re going to wear that week and even laying them out ahead of time. At the very least, have an idea of what you might want to wear and lay them out the night before. But by figuring this out ahead of time, you can start the day without thinking through too many options.
Writing social media captions & scheduling
Social media can feel time-consuming, and it helps to prep captions and ideas ahead of time. Create a folder with images on your phone and/or use a scheduling platform like Planoly or Later to see what your feed will look like ahead of time. Use Pinterest? Schedule with Tailwind.
Do you meal prep? Meals are tough during the workweek, and prepping meals ahead of time can save you a lot of time and energy throughout the week. A lot of people prefer to food prep, instead of meal prep. Instead of getting the entire meal ready, you spend time preparing the different elements of the meal, and then prepare them in different ways throughout the week.
Get your groceries and farmers market shopping done for the week ahead. Plan your meals, create a system that makes sense for you, and saves you time during the week. It’s always a bummer to have to stop by the store again during the week, because you forgot some dinner essentials.
Studying a new topic
Want to research something new, but can’t find the time? Do a deep dive, once a month on a topic that you’ve been meaning to look into. Perhaps you can write down all the things you want to look up for this designated date. And you can do a little Google research spree to find out everything you need to know.
We’re all creative, whether we believe it or not. And it feels good to work on a project that allows us to feel free to create like we’re kids again. Whether it’s coloring or drawing or putting together a vision board, there are so many options. You could create a bunch of presents for people in your life during one time.
Instead of spending several minutes spread throughout the day, spend one day per week crafting a majority of your emails. You’ll obviously have to spend time replying to emails throughout the week, but even that you can batch (see below)!
Reading articles or books
Save articles you want to read later with a browser extension like Pocket, Instapaper or Evernote. You can read them during commutes if you take public transportation.
Every week, you can do a lot of bigger cleaning tasks, to keep up with the house. Get all that good stuff done in the morning: dusting, dishwashing, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming that needs to get done.
To stay on top of work, it helps to have an admin day. It’s a day for all the invoicing, getting to inbox zero, staying organized, etc. It’s nice to do this on a Friday, to feel like you’ve closed out the week before the weekend begins.
Calling people for work or personal
Want to keep up with everyone, but feel like it’s a lot? Schedule a few phone calls with the people you love. Or, if you work in sales or something that requires phone calls, get it out of the way on one or two days when you can!
Responding to emails
Respond to emails in chunks throughout the day, instead of letting the notifications kill your momentum. Delegate space at the beginning, middle, and end of the day so that you can be more efficient.
Spending time on Instagram or your favorite social media platform
Instead of being on your phone all day, dedicate time in the day where you browse Instagram stories, post and respond to comments, and browse funny videos.
Allow yourself to have rest time at the end of a day to decompress and feel revived for the next day.
Do you use the batching system to get more done? What’s your favorite way to batch?