Multi-tasking ladies, listen up. I’m about to change your world. Yes, I know you’re able to rock a baby to sleep while listening to a podcast and brainstorming your next social media post. Yes, I also know you can cook dinner, while checking and responding to emails and take a sales call without the potential client having any idea that you’re doing those other things. I know because I’ve been there. I lived for the checklist that I’d write out and cross off throughout my day. Our checklists become addictive – we love that dopamine release we get with each item being crossed off.
Here’s where you’re going to hate me for a moment. You are actually about 40% LESS productive when you multitask like that. You end up with half-finished projects, you aren’t laser-focused, and your work just isn’t as efficient or possibly as creative & fine-tuned as it could otherwise be. 40% less productive. That is definitely NOT what we thought when we bragged about multi-tasking, was it? No! We thought we were being 40% more productive. It felt that way, but it was just the excitement and energy we drew from the dopamine really.
Multi-tasking is something that women do much better than men. I don’t think we’ll get much argument on that. Knowing how well we multitask is likely why women wear it as a badge of honor, to be honest. Multi-tasking, though, is the fast track to burnout. It’s the sign that we aren’t giving enough attention to the things that will give us the real momentum we’re seeking.
Now, as a recovering multi-tasker (and one that easily relapses), I am not suggesting that there’s a way to get around how much we have on our plates. I know the real world. I know you need to buy groceries, get the oil changed in your car, take your daughter to dance class and prep for a presentation you’re giving this week. Girl, I know. There are times that we have multiple things to accomplish. What I am suggesting is that you take the big projects and focus on them one at a time.
Batch work. Weird word. Beautiful solution.
Think of batch work like meal prepping. Meal preppers buy all their food, plan out their meals for an entire week, and then they’re cooking for quite a few hours with mass amounts of veggies, proteins, etc. and putting them in tupperware for the week. The rest of the week doesn’t entail any cooking whatsoever. They just grab-and-go from the fridge or freezer.
Batch work, my business-running friends, is what makes the world go ’round. Without you falling off. Think of next week and what your business might need. Regardless of the type of business, it’s possible that you need to make product, ship product, create and post content on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and the list goes on. Videos, blogs, podcasts, website updates. Inventory. Make sales calls. Meet with clients or partners. We could add to this list all day long, couldn’t we?
What if you set aside a chunk of time – maybe an entire day (depending on what it is you’re working on) – and focused solely on that one thing? Hopping back and forth can be exhausting. It can crush your creativity. It can make you less productive with the time lost trying to reacquaint yourself with where you left off and get the momentum going again.
If you could batch together a week’s worth of social media content in a few hours, imagine the time it would free up throughout your week when you don’t have to have an “oh crap” moment and realize you forgot to post today! Take that massive list and pull out the big projects that need uninterrupted time.
Here are 3 ways to make batch work work for you:
- Time block – You might think that time-blocking and batch work are one-in-the-same. The reality for some businesses though is that they are running a brick-and-mortar shop. They can’t shut the store down all day to focus on marketing. For others, you’re in sales and calls are coming in. Sending calls to voicemail for an entire day is not a good idea. Time-blocking is entirely in your control. Depending on your field and the various things you have to do regularly, you can make this work for you. Podcasters might record several interviews all within one day. A couple months of content knocked out in a single day, wow! Etsy shop owners might work on creating their products from 8am to Noon everyday, or only shipping out products on Tuesdays and Fridays. Creating specific times to batch your work eliminates the chaos of bouncing back and forth.
- Know what to batch and what not to – You can’t batch a lot of the menial tasks. Look for the projects, the things that will make your business move. Batch the brainstorming session, the design work, the time spent creating or making the product, and the social media marketing campaigns.
- Eliminate Distractions – I have squirrel syndrome. I’ll just be the first to admit it. If my phone is near me and I get a text, call, email or notification… game over. The anticipation will kill me. On my laptop, I have to keep my email closed during batch work. If you have any of these distractive tendencies, just prepare accordingly.
You don’t have to batch work everything. As much as I know meal prepping would be a time saver for me, it’s not my jam. I’d rather use the crockpot or use cooking time to interact with my two little minions (who have recently insisted on cooking EVERY single dinner with me as of late) and begin to teach them some basics. (Let’s be honest, basics are about all I’ve got in the kitchen…) Not everything you do can be batch work either. It really depends on your field, your day-to-day, and your role. I can promise you this – the multi-tasking isn’t efficient. It will drain you faster and your capable of so much more than what you piece together in a hurry as you’re already thinking about the next item on the list.
There’s one thing you cannot batch work and that’s time for YOURSELF. Reading, praying, journaling, working out, hiking, or whatever helps you escape from the world for some fresh air. You cannot batch that. You need that daily. If you’re running on empty, you have nothing left to give to others or to your business. Invest in YOU before you invest in anything else. If you haven’t implemented the Morning Routine – completely customized to what works for you – give it a try right now.
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