THE LK BLOG
THE LK BLOG
Let’s be honest, you have limited time. It’s hard to be productive when you have the world pulling at you for attention. You try and do multiple things at once to keep up; however, you end up feeling behind. You try and do it all. You often find yourself multitasking. Let’s work on a solution, the opposite of multi-tasking is batch working. Batch working is a time management system that allows you to maximize your productivity and reduce distractions by focusing on one task or type of task rather than jumping around from task to task. You may think you are productive when you do lots of different types of work at once, but that’s really not true.
Do you ever find yourself working on an Etsy listing and all of a sudden you are browsing other Etsy listings and are inspired to take a better listing photo so you grab your camera and set up for a photoshoot. How did this happen, you were focused on listing a product? Well it’s because the average time spent on a task before losing focus is only 1 minute 15 seconds. ONE MINUTE AND 15 SECONDS! And guess what, we’re efficient when we’re multitasking, right? We’re not, we are switching our mind back and forth between tasks we find interesting at the time. It’s been proven that when we switch contexts like this we reduce productivity by at least FORTY PERCENT. When multitasking, it takes longer to accomplish a task, and it increases errors. Did you know that consistent multi-tasking can even lower your IQ?
This seems crazy, right? Because we feel like we are doing it all and making sure something is perfect from all angles, well it’s not efficient for your business or your brain. But it takes a conscious effort to actively focus on one task at a time. You have to be aware that you shouldn’t multi-task because it decreases your efficiencies and effectiveness in your business. This is why I want to teach you my favorite style of working: batch working. Batch working has transformed my business and my life! It really didn’t come naturally to me because as an enneagram 7 I have shiny object syndrome. There’s always something more exciting I could be doing. It takes discipline for me and I’m sure it will for your too. I can truly say batch working has transformed my business… but it wasn’t always easy or natural to me! Batch working allows me to plan out what I need to focus on to get ahead, and have time to rest when I want. Let’s dig in, you are going to love what this strategy can do for you.
Batch working is a time management system that allows you to maximize your productivity and reduce distractions by focusing on one task or type of task rather than jumping around from task to task during the day. You will divide your workflow into different days/hours specific to ONE task, you will typically focus and do more of one specific task over and over again without switching contact.
Let’s dig in to an example. It would be easy to photograph for a listing when I decided I wanted to upload a new listing. Which would mean if I wanted to list a new item 3 times a week I would have to drag the photo set out three separate times. Each time hoping that the light is just right and repositioning just to get the right photos. Just thinking about getting the set up right three times a week makes me anxious.
Let’s take a look at how different this would look if we batch worked. We are taking the same amount of photos; however, we don’t get our photography equipment out until we have 12 products to photograph. While this may seem like we will be taking a lot of photos, we will be doing the exact same task just focusing on it longer. One after the other you can position your product, take the picture, it becomes like an assembly line. All 12 products will have the same lighting and will be positioned in a very similar way, talk about cohesive, YAY! Now why did I say 12 products? Well I like to think ahead and if my goal was to list a new item 3 times a week if I shoot 12 products I have taken a month’s worth of photos in one setting. BAM! It’s done and you have a months worth of Etsy listing photos, the hard work is done! You don’t have to think about photographing for an entire month.
Batch working sounds wonderful, right? It’s highly efficient, but you may be wondering if it’s right for you. I’m here to tell you that IT IS! No matter what type of Etsy seller you are, batch working allows you to really focus on creating large amounts of product, prepping listings, marketing, the list goes on. The task can then be put aside and out of your mind for weeks at a time. You will then find yourself not jumping from task to task and always feeling behind. You will actually feel like you are ahead. You’ll feel organized because you will have a plan. You will know what you are going to focus on and once you’ve done that task you can cross it off and be done for the day. Worried that there’s more and you can’t really be done for the day? Well you’ve just found another task that can be batched, I’m not joking!Batch working may seem too strict; however, you can start with just a few things in your business or life and grow from there. With each task that you batch work you will become more efficient and start to see the benefits in both your business and your stress level. The feeling of being ahead allows a sense of calmness that you may not have experienced before. The time you get back will allow you to work on your next big idea or give you more time with those you love.
The biggest benefit of batch working is the efficiency gains you’ll see from it. When you lay out a plan for what you are going to batch work you essentially have a checklist. When you complete the task you check it off and then don’t have to revisit it for a set amount of days, weeks or even months. Who doesn’t love the satisfaction of checking something off a list? This focus and then reward incentivises you to just focus and get the work down. You know what you have to achieve and when you set your mind to it you become extremely efficient. You create less errors and do the work forty percent faster compared to if you were switching context by multitasking. Excited yet? I am!
What is the worst feeling? Having a mental to do list that just creeps up in your mind. You know you need to get a task done but you are putting it off and would really rather be doing something else. You end up pushing the task back away and “get to it later.” Mentally this procrastination and lack of plan to actually complete a number of tasks is exhausting. When you get rid of this mental nagging you free your brain space to look at your life and business and strategize, looking ahead. You can now focus on growth. Don’t waste your brain space on what you urgently need to get done because it’s the task you’ve pushed off the longest. Batch working solves for this and gives you mental clarity.
The feeling of being ahead is so freeing. We all have 24 hour in the day, it’s how you use them that matters. Your mental well being can be greatly improved when you just don’t feel behind. When you feel behind in most of the areas of your business you can become paralyzed and end up not working on any task because it’s overwhelming. What type of mental shift would you have if you reframed those thoughts into feeling like you could rest or strategize because you were ahead. As a business owner you can feel confident and excited for growth.
Now that you see all the reasons why you should batch work, let’s get into how to accomplish batch working in your business and life. This may be a total shift in how you have worked previously, you can learn this process and stick to it. Once you experience the efficiencies and mental clarity that comes from batch working, you’ll find yourself implementing this is numerous areas of your life.
When you get started with batch working you have to prioritize what you are going to batch. For me, I have identified the following tasks to batch work: Photographing Listings, Preparing Listings, and Instagram Posts. These are the main items that move the bar for me, they deserve priority. These are items I can set aside time for, plan my work, and do the work within a defined amount of time. Yes, there are many other areas of my business; however, I’ve chosen the 3 most impactful areas that once I’ve achieved these items I can do my other work in a more flexible manor.
I encourage you to choose 2-4 areas to focus on batch working. What are the areas that will move the bar in your business once consistently achieved? Yes, you can grow from the 2-4 areas, start here and you’ll see massive gains.
Once you’ve prioritized what you are going to batch work, you now need to break each of those areas down into individual tasks.
For example, creating listings can be quite complex when you break down the areas you work on when listing a product. Here are the individual tasks that make up batching preparing listings:
– Prepping all photos and videos
– Researching SEO for your key phrases in your title and tags
– Writing Descriptions
– Uploading Listing to site
When you have this list you know exactly what you need to achieve and you will plan how you are going to achieve these individual tasks. You can choose to batch work the individual tasks. Let’s say Monday and Wednesday are going to be your “Batch Listing Days,” you could prep all of your photos and videos on Monday and then on Wednesday you could research your key phrases for your titles and tags, write descriptions and upload listings to your site.
The point of this is to ensure you are organized in the mini tasks that make up the big task that you want to batch. When you break down each major task it becomes more manageable to lay out a plan.
Now let’s plan out a schedule for your batch working. Grab a calendar and think about where you could assign your batch working days. Start with your first area and plug it in to the calendar. This will look different for everyone. You may want to divide an area into certain days of the week. You could also take the approach of focusing on one big area per month. Schedule out your batch work on your calendar. Remember to give yourself rest days. Know what days are particularly busy in your personal life and avoid putting too much work on those days. This isn’t a permanent calendar, it’s your first draft so plan it out and know it will be something you re-evaluate after a few weeks or month. Laying it all out visually on a calendar can help you feel extremely organized and prepared to focus each day.
It’s time to do the work! This is one of the easiest steps once you start working. It can be hard at first to be disciplined enough to shut everything else off. Your email, your social media, your text messages, they pull us in ALL the time. It takes practice to resist the urge to check notifications when they come in. One tip that’s helped me so much is… turn off the notifications and the sound on your phone. I find it much easier to focus when I do this. Look at your calendar, see what task you have to accomplish and complete it.
When you organize your work into batches you will have more time, you’ll start to strategize in areas of your business you never have before. You’ll have more time to rest and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will be able to enjoy being present with your friends and family because you will have accomplished your work and when it’s time to rest you can because you’ll have a plan for the next day. No longer will you have the nagging voice in your head listing all the things you need to get done in your business. Get started today! I encourage you to plan out at least a month’s worth of work. I guarantee you’ll be have so much mental peace that you’ll continue. You’ll plan, put in the work, then rest. I think you may teach a friend or two about this strategy as well, it’s life changing.