One of my blogging friends sent me this message the other day:
“My biggest issue is being able to work out a solid plan to tackle #allofthethings and actually do them. I feel like I have so many things I need to get done, and I’m running around a little aimlessly and only getting everything half done.”
And I totally, completely get where she’s coming from. I remember feeling like this not too long ago — drowning in my never-ending to-do list, lying awake at night thinking of all the things I didn’t get done that day, and hoping I could somehow tack an extra 3 days onto my work week.
If your blog is a side-hustle on top of your day job, you’ve no doubt learned you have to be incredibly particular about how you spend your time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to be everywhere and do everything and please everyone.
Today I want to share a time management system I recently implemented in my own business that’s helped me immensely in terms of GSDing and staying on top of my blogging and business tasks.
What is it?
Two words: Batch Days.
What is batching and how can I use it as a blogger?
If you’ve ever searched for “time management” or “productivity tips” on Pinterest, you’ve probably heard of batching before. That is to say, it’s not a new or revolutionary concept. But just in case the term is new to you, here’s a quick rundown.
Batching is when you spend a big chunk of time focused on one specific task, instead of jumping back and forth between different things. Essentially, it’s doing things in bulk. Just like you might meal prep enough chicken and veggies to last a week, you do the same thing when it comes to your blog by spending a large chunk of time focused on one task.
Here’s an example:
Instead of sitting down and writing a new blog post, editing that post, creating the images for it, and then scheduling the social media promo, all back-to-back, you might…
Spend an entire afternoon writing 4 blog posts.
Spend the next day editing those 4 blog posts.
Spend the next day taking and editing photos for those posts.
And so on. The idea is that you’re creating things in bulk, which lessens the cognitive load on your brain by not forcing it to switch between different modes of thinking as often. When you focus on one type of task (writing, or taking photos, or scheduling social media) for a larger chunk of time, you’ll be able to produce more content — and better content — faster.
What are batch days?
I first heard of “batching” a couple years ago, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across Ashlyn Carter’s website that I saw how the concept could be applied to entire days in your business. As an example, you might devote an entire day to writing blog posts, or to growing your social media accounts — instead of just a few hours or an afternoon.
Of course, you should take this with a grain of salt. Batch Days will clearly work best if you’re someone who has entire days to devote to your blog — whether those days are Saturday and Sunday because you work Monday-Friday, or maybe are different each week because your shifts switch up.
The key is to find a way to make batching work for you and your schedule. This isn’t a “one size fits all” model. Batching is a powerful time management tool, and I know that once you find the right way to apply it to your business, you’ll reap the benefits like I have.
Examples of batch days you might have
If you’re anything like me, you probably want to see some concrete examples. So without further ado, here are the 5 major Batch Days I currently have set up for my blog and business:
1. Content Creation – Writing blog posts, writing emails to my mailing list, and writing guest posts.
2. Social Media – Scheduling social media for the week, creating social media graphics, and tracking social analytics.
3. Product Development – Creating courses, ebooks, and digital products.
4. Admin & Outreach – This is one of my “combined” days (more on this below). It includes answering emails, editing blog posts, and setting up collaborations and guest posts.
5. Planning/Swing Day – This is usually my Friday, and I leave it relatively open. If I have a big launch or webinar coming up, I’ll use this day to plan and prep for that. I might also use it to make a Monthly or Quarterly Plan. If I don’t have anything like that in the books, I let myself choose any area that I want to focus on that day (content creation, social media, etc.) and run wild.
Keep in mind that the “themes” you choose for your batch days will vary depending on the tasks on YOUR to-do list. Everyone is different, and everyone has different things going on in their business. As a general rule, follow these two steps when choosing themes for your batch days:
Step 1. Figure out which tasks you complete over and over on a weekly basis.
Step 2. Figure out how much time you need to allot to each of those tasks per week.
For example, I have “admin” tasks that I complete every week. This includes answering emails, answering blog comments, and editing blog posts. However, I don’t need to spend an entire day/week on those tasks. It usually only takes me a few hours. So instead of having an entire “Admin” batch day, I combine “Admin” with another theme from my list (in my case, “Outreach”).
Depending on your blog and business, other tasks you might set up batch days for are:
+ Taking photos for your blog
+ Recording podcasts or videos, if you have a podcast or YouTube channel
+ Client work, if you work with clients in your business
Moral of the story: This is a buffet, not a set-dinner menu. The idea is to figure out the main tasks YOU repeat over and over again in your business, and then create a schedule to “batch” those tasks by doing them in bulk.
One little tweak that made all the difference
As I mentioned earlier, I first heard about batch days through Ashlyn Carter. Ashlyn has set days every week where she works on specific tasks. For example, “Marketing Mondays” happen – of course – on Mondays.
And thaaaat’s kinda where I got hung up. At first, I tried having a set schedule where Mondays were always my “Content Creation” day, Tuesdays were always my Social Media day, and so on. But I quickly learned that having such a strict schedule doesn’t work so well for me.
I’m a bit more free-spirited when it comes to my work. When I wake up on a Monday morning, the fact that I know I’m “supposed to” knock out blog posts and emails for the rest of the day can sometimes leave me feeling a bit stuck and uninspired.
But when I made that discovery, I wasn’t ready to give up on batching entirely. Instead, I came up with one tiny shift to how I use batch days in my business, and now I’m completely obsessed with them. Here’s what I did…
I created a list of the 5 main batch days I do every single week, no matter what (the ones you read above). BUT I let myself switch up the days I do them on.
Mondays are usually my content creation days, but if I’m not feeling inspired to write that day, I might bump content creation to Wednesday and choose a different theme for Monday. Same goes for social media, or admin, or anything else. My motto is: As long as it gets done sometime that week, I’m happy.
This more laidback approach has made all the difference for me. I finally feel like I’ve found a system that works, keeps me on top of everything, and – dare I say it – has actually gotten me ahead. I mean, the proof is in the pudding: I’m writing this blog post an entire week in advance, which is a first for me!
Are you going to try batch days?
Even if you only have 3 days a week to work on your blog — heck, even if you only have 3 hours a week to work on your blog — I strongly encourage you to give batching a try. I know it will boost your productivity, kick that nasty overwhelm to the curb, and help you GSD hard.
Have you tried batching or batch days before? Are you gonna give them a try after reading this post? What adjustments will be needed to make batch days work for your blog and business? Let me know in a comment!