I want to ask you a random question. When you do your laundry, do you wash one shirt at a time? Or, do you separate your laundry into loads (or batches) and wash multiple articles of clothing at once? My guess is, you wash multiple articles of clothing at once.
We use systems every day, whether we are doing laundry, washing dishes, or buying groceries. Instead of washing one shirt or dish at a time, we batch or combine these tasks to make the process more efficient.
Now, I know what you are thinking, how does this relate to my business? Just like laundry, once you have a system in place, the larger task becomes less daunting. Instead of replying to one email and moving on to a different task, I spend 30 minutes each morning sorting and replying to every email in my inbox. Or, instead of outlining or writing one blog post at a time, I dedicate 4 hours each week to outlining and writing my blog posts for the week. It’s simple. Batching tasks allows you to complete multiple action items in a systematic way. Moreover, it helps your brain stay focused on the task at hand without jumping around to the 15 different open tabs on your browser window.
Today, I want to share a few examples I how I batch tasks for my business. And more importantly, leave you with some advice as to how to start “doing your business’ laundry” like a pro 🙂
#1 – Content Creation
Writing unique content and delivering it consistently is one of the cornerstones of running an online business. But, without a system, creating content can be daunting and time-consuming. Before I developed a system for scheduling and creating content, I found myself spending hours bouncing back and forth from one blog post to a million other projects. If my content was laundry, I was folding half of a shirt and then coming back to it later. Yikes! So, I decided it was time to batch this task.
For content creation, I sort this very large task into four parts: brainstorming, scheduling, outlining and writing. To start, I spend one or two large chunks of time brainstorming and writing out topic ideas each month. Next, I go to my Asana content calendar board and assign each idea to a specific day and week.
Then, it’s time to write! First, I outline the blog and newsletter posts for the week. Once I’ve had a chance to let the outline and ideas sit, I go back in and write the full post. Then, I send the first draft to my assistant who makes a few final edits and schedules them on my blog or newsletter! Volla – content created and shared!
For all you photographers out there, check out my blog post on How to Write a Wedding Blog in 15 Minutes or Less. You won’t want to miss these great time-saving tips heading into wedding season!
#2 – The Dreaded Email Inbox
Emails are necessary yet tedious. Even worse, it’s a HUGE distraction. In order to avoid spending hours a day in your inbox, learn to batch this task. I try to visit my lovely little inbox three times a day. Each time for 30 minutes. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before I shut down for the day. It’s important to find a healthy balance between being responsive and being distracted. Batching this task into three, short stints during my day is one of the best systems I have in place for my business.
Pro Tip: Email Templates! My general rule of thumb: if you have to write the email more than once, create a template. Check out my post, 10 Email Templates Every Photographer Must Have, for more on this!
#3 – Social Media
Social media content and engagement is another core piece of any online business. Instead of wasting hours everyday writing and posting content to social media, I have a system for batching these tasks. I batch my social media tasks into three parts: writing, scheduling, and engaging. For all my business-related social media posts, I write and schedule them on a weekly basis. That way, I can set it and forget it. My scheduling app takes over from there. Completing this task all at once frees up time for me to reply to comments and engage with my audience online. It also saves me TONS of wasted hours on social media feeds. When I need a short break from a heavy project or task, I spend 15 minutes or so going through my most recent posts and engaging with the amazing community of creative entrepreneurs on social media!
Just like doing laundry, some parts of running a business can be tedious and time-consuming. But, if you establish systems and batch your tasks appropriately, you can save time and reduce your to-do list overwhelm. Because, in the end, which would you rather be, busy or productive?
Want to learn more about maximizing effeciency in your business, download my FREE guide below – 5 Ways to Master Your Time, Schedule and To Do List!