Have you ever been curious about how people group all of their tasks together in one day or one specific work block, and call it batch working?
If you’ve ever wondered how you can make this a reality in your business, today’s episode is going to be extremely helpful for you. I’m going to walk you through step by step, how I plan my batch working days, or time blocks and how you can do the same to really streamline and make this process more efficient for you so that you are in the right brain space when you sit down to work on similar tasks. If you’re ready, let’s get started.
Hey there, Mama. I am so thrilled to be here with you today, I cannot wait to dive into this really fun topic because I know that you are ready to be more efficient and more productive in your business.
If you are a new listener, I want to take a quick sec and welcome you. My name is Ashley Freehan. And I am the founder here at The Purpose Gathering which is an online community and education platform for mom photographers to help them be more efficient in their business, work less manage their time well and really enjoy being present with their families. And not to mention not sacrificing your sanity in the process of juggling motherhood and running a business.
I mentioned this a couple of episodes ago, but I wanted to re-mention it in case you missed it. I am actually creating a brand new group coaching program specifically designed to help mom photographers get organized in their photography business. All the way from
- creating a super impactful mompreneur mindset, including work-life balance
- learning how to prioritize self-care
- really stepping into that role as CEO and your business
- learning how to clarify your goals
- learning how to get things done with more efficiency by creating your ideal week
- task management
- time blocking
- learning how to time track
- creating systems in your business
This is just a brief overview of the things that we will be going through inside this program. So this is brand new, I am in the beginning stages of really working this out. But if you haven’t joined the waitlist yet, be sure to get on the waitlist.
If this is something that you struggle with or need help with, when I have more details, I will send them your way. And you will be the absolute first person who will have access to join this program before I open it to the public.
And to all my returning listeners. Thank you so much for always coming back. For hanging out with me, you know that this is my favorite time of the week. I love when you connect with me in my DMs over on Instagram when you respond to my emails, and even better when you hang out with me in my free Facebook community.
If you are not yet in our community, be sure to click the link at the bottom of these show notes to join. I’d love to see you in there. This group is a great way for you to go deeper. With the podcast topics, we ask questions, we do challenges and they’re just a great opportunity for you to connect with like-minded mamas who get the struggles you’re going through. Plus, it’s just a fun place for us to hang out together so that you and I can also get to know each other better.
Let’s jump into today’s topic because I am really excited to help you learn how to be more efficient.
This is just one strategy that I feel is really helpful. And that is to batch tasks.
1. Make a list of all the categories of tasks that you have for your business
The first thing that I want you to do is to make a list of all the categories of tasks that you have for your business. So for example, you might have categories such as:
- email marketing
- creating content
- creating workflows and systems
- client work
- inquiry calls
- admin work
- any other projects that you are working on in your business
Things in your business that can be categorized using those examples I just shared or something else that I failed to mention, Bbt essentially you want to create these categories because that is going to be how you batch your tasks together.
Then I want you to go through and I want you to circle the ones that are the most important to you and to your bottom line.
So ones that are really going to help you grow your business or propel your business forward.
Also, one really important category I did not mention was visibility. So what kind of visibility opportunities are you going to be working on that is a really important category as well.
2. Focus Your Batch Working Tasks
Okay, so the next step that you’re going to do after you have created all these categories, and you’ve decided the main categories that you really want to focus on, this is going to be where you focus your batch working tasks, you’re going to want to choose themed work blocks, or themed weeks.
So now this, of course, is based on you and your personality and your time and how this is going to pan out for you. And you might actually do a combination of both.
So let me sort of explain what I mean by this. So there have been times in my business where I have done work blocks of time where I batched certain items on different days of the week.
So I would say Okay, on Mondays, that’s going to be my email marketing day on Tuesdays, that’s going to be when I work or Tuesdays and Thursdays, let’s say that’s when I’m going to do my editing, then on Wednesdays, I’m gonna have a small admin block, then on Thursdays, I’m going to take the day off. And then Friday, I’m really going to focus on my marketing, or whatever the case may be.
So that would be like batching, your days, or batching, your time blocks.
So then, then you could go in more specifically and say, Okay, on Mondays between nine and 11am, I’m going to focus on marketing, and then actually block out each piece of your day, that could be something that you do as well.
And this all just depends on how much time you have to work and how it’s sort of segmented.
3. Theme Your Weeks
The next way that you can do this is to theme your weeks. And I have done this in the past. And I found it to be very helpful. But you do have to get ahead a bit to be able to do this.
So basically, what that means is that you’re going to theme out your weeks. So I would look at my month ahead, and I would decide, okay, for week, one of the next upcoming month, what theme am I going to work on?
So the theme might be podcast, for me, might be blog for you, maybe it’s website updates, maybe you really need to up your tech, maybe you’re working on building out something new, and you need to get a sales page set up, you need to get a checkout setup, whatever the case may be.
That would fall under, you know, website or tech. Then you might have another week where you’re focusing strictly on marketing and content creation. So maybe you’re doing Instagram, or maybe you’re working on your blog, or maybe you’re working on your email marketing.
Whatever that looks like, you’re going to chunk all of that in that one week.
So now you have to get really strategic like I mentioned earlier, because you’re only spending one week on this.
And so if you need to get ahead, you’re going to have to probably front load some of those tasks so that you can wait a few weeks to get to marketing.
So it’s really up to you how you choose to do this. But I personally think it’s easier to start with theming your days and just having one day, a week that you’re working on certain things.
Now, if you are finding that your time is just way too limited, and you’re like “Ashley, I just have more stuff to do than there’s time to do it,” then I would highly recommend reaching out to me on Instagram, send me a DM and let’s chat through this.
I think a lot of us feel like we have to be doing everything at once. And that’s not the case.
I mean, if you caught my episode 131 A couple of episodes ago, I was talking about homeschooling and how we homeschool and I only work 15 hours a week. And I have to get extremely strategic about how I spend that time, or I won’t have enough time.
And I also have had to get really strategic about paring down what I’m working on. Because not everything is imperative, right?
We could work on our business 24/7. We can always find something else to do. But we have to figure out what the most important tasks are to be doing. And then we need to focus on those.
And that is what this group coaching program is really going to help with. That’s why I’m super pumped for it because it really is going to help you get really crystal clear on your goals. It’s going to help you get clear on what you need to focus on and how to organize your schedule and manage your tasks in order to get the things done that are most important, and then those other things that are nice to have or would be nice, are going to go on a shiny object list. And we’re going to talk about that and how to prioritize and what to do with that shiny object list.
So if you haven’t joined the waitlist yet, definitely do that there will be a special bonus for those people who are on the waitlist. Again, that’s at thepurposegathering.com/waitlist
4. Plan Your List
Once you have decided what works best for you, if you want to do work blocks, if you want to do batch by day, or if you want to batch by week, then you are going to plan your list.
So this is when you are going to make a list of all the things that you’re going to do for that work block for that day or for that week.
So let’s say for example, that you want to batch Mondays for marketing. So every Monday, you’re gonna focus on marketing. And let’s say you only have two hours to focus on marketing for the entire week, you’re gonna get really specific on how you’re going to spend that time.
So if you are getting all of your leads from Instagram, then you’re going to want to do Instagram marketing. If you’re getting all of your leads right now, through word-of-mouth referrals, you’re going to want to really up your relationship marketing game. If you are getting a lot of your leads from going and doing trade shows, ask yourself how you can plan and really focus on more in-person events to spread the word about your marketing.
And if you have a good mix of all of them, then you’re going to probably want to change each day to be a different type of marketing. So maybe the first Monday of every month, you’re working on Instagram marketing, maybe the second Monday of every month, you’re working on relationship marketing, that third you’re working on in-person vendor events. And then that fourth one, maybe you’re just repeating and going back through.
But that’s why this is really important, because you can’t do everything at once all the time, right? So it’s really important that you get really specific about what are you going to be batching. And get really clear and take it a step further.
So now on, you know, the first Monday of every month, you’re going to be working on Instagram marketing, what are you planning to do for that month? How many posts are you going to post? How many stories are you going to do? Are you going to pre-plan your stories are you just going to kind of use stories as like, ‘hey, whenever I feel like it, I’m going to hop on stories.’
So you have to make a list. It cannot be ‘I’m going to do my Instagram marketing today’, that is not enough of a plan. You need to say, ‘I’m going to schedule three posts’, then you’re going to have to schedule those three posts.
And you’re going to have to actually make a different task for each of those. So this post is going to be an informational post about my upcoming availability. My second post is going to be three outfit ideas for your toddler for your next family session. Whatever I’m just making stuff up right now. Now my third post is going to be a behind-the-scenes look of what it looks like to be a mom photographer juggling both motherhood and business.
Then for each of those posts, you have to find the picture, you have to write the caption and you have to schedule it in Planoly, or whatever schedule or use, or maybe use a Google Doc.
So you have to make a list of all the things that you want to get done during that day.
And sidenote, keep it super realistic, because I feel like we can over promise ourselves right of like, “oh my gosh, I’ve got two hours, I’m gonna get so much done.” And then we’re like, two hours goes real fast, right?
So you have to be able to be realistic about it, and create that check off list so that you have an action plan when you sit down to get ready to work.
5. Execute Your Plan
And then the last and final step is going to be to execute that plan.
And you’re going to kind of learn as you go, what is the most effective way to do this for you.
So you might find that doing Instagram marketing only once a month is not going to work for you. Maybe you’re going to need to have more time blocks for that. Or maybe you’re going to see that you can only get five posts out of a two-hour block. So maybe you just have five posts for the month, right? That’s okay because Instagram marketing is not the only way to market your business. There are other things that you can do.
Maybe that relationship marketing piece is going to be so key for you. And if you are wondering what I’m talking about when it comes to relationship marketing, check out the previous episode. Episode number 133 is all about relationship marketing, and really how you can make that work for you with a never-ending stream of leads because you are focusing on generating really authentic and deep relationships with complementary vendors or like-minded business owners that are in your same industry.
So the execution piece, I think, for me is the hardest piece. I am a great planner, but it’s the execution that sometimes is hard for me.
So I would absolutely recommend tracking your time. So when you sit down to batch these tasks, set a stopwatch timer and track how long it takes you better yet set like a 30 minute timer and just keep resetting it so that you can see how long things are taking you.
I personally like to beat the timer. And so when I set a shorter timer, I say something like, ‘Okay, I have 10 minutes to write this caption. If it doesn’t come out in 10 minutes, then I’m spending too much time on it.’ So I have to get this caption written in 10 minutes. Otherwise, I have to move on to the next caption.
And so it really helps me stay more focused than if I just sent in sent an infinite timer to like, you know, give myself as much time as it would take to write a caption might take me way longer. I really struggle with captions, I feel like they’re like mini blog posts for me. And that really trips me up. So don’t get too stressed out about the captions, just try to keep them short and sweet.
I need to take my own advice there. I also wanted to share a quick tip as well. This is a little bit of a personal tip, but I think that you can apply it to your own life too.
If you are finding that there is a one-off task that you need to do such as website updates, like maybe you only update your website every other month, I think you should be doing it every month. But if we only have time every other month, or maybe you don’t have time at all, and you haven’t blocked this out, maybe you put it on your schedule right now that every other month, you’re going to do a website update blitz.
And basically what that means is you’re going to create a time block, this is going to be a one-time thing every other month where you are going to update your website. Maybe you’re only going to allow yourself one hour, maybe you’re going to allow yourself two hours, however long you think it might take, and then make it a day and make it fun.
So I always like to go to Starbucks, I love an iced caramel macchiato, half Caf. And I want that like super cold cup of coffee while I’m working on something super specific. It’s just really fun to have. I’ve set aside this date that I am going to show up for myself, I am not going to cancel it. I have my coffee that’s going to be waiting for me. And I am just ready to conquer that thing.
And so make it an appointment that you don’t miss.
Put it on repeat if you need to every other month or like I said, if it’s a one off thing, create this date in your calendar, get a babysitter, maybe you swap babysitting with another mom, business owner, friend each give each other like a three to five hour block of time that you can use.
Again, maybe if it’s only just an hour, take what you can write, take what you can and use it make it fun. Maybe you do it on the weekend like I do, where your spouse can watch the kiddos for you.
But I actually have a marketing blitz coming up with my best friend Madison. And she and I both have set aside a time block on a Saturday where our husbands can watch the kids and we are going to knock out execution on our marketing because she and I are very similar. We’re really good at planning our marketing, but actually executing it is the problem. So we are holding each other accountable by meeting up and working on execution for our marketing.
So I wanted to share that as a little extra tip for you. If you’re feeling like I can’t batch my days, I can’t batch my weeks, my schedule is so different. At least maybe you could do these one-off blitzes where you work on just one specific thing.
Set that date in your calendar just like you would if you were meeting a friend for a playdate or coffee and get it done.
And last but not least I want to leave you with this little tip.
Anytime that you are finding yourself resisting doing something in your business, I want you to ask yourself this question: What can I do to make this more fun and more simple?
I think we overcomplicate things way too much and I know that there is always a way to make something more fun and more simple. And when you figure out what those things are, then you can go accomplish and execute the thing.
So I hope that you found value in today’s episode. If so, please take a screenshot of it, share it out on Instagram, and tag me @thepurposegathering.
Even better yet if you have a few moments, I would love for you to leave a review on iTunes. You can scroll to the bottom of my podcast. There’s an episode list and once you get to the bottom there’s a button that says write a review. It’s super fast, really easy but literally means the world to me.
Thank you guys so much for always listening, and being loyal listeners. When I get messages from you guys that you guys are enjoying my podcast episodes, it literally makes my day. Absolutely makes my day. I love chatting with you in the DMS, the voice memo part is so fun to me. I love to be able to hear your voice and get to know more about you. And I would love to hear from you.
Is batching your tasks something that you’ve tried before? Are you going to try this? Tell me all the things.
I cannot wait to connect with you over on Instagram. I’m @thepurposegathering.
As always, Mama, I am here rooting for you. And you are not alone on this journey.
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