As business owners one of the biggest challenges we face on a daily basis is time management - how can we get the most done in the least possible time? And this is an issue across the board - in life as a whole, not just life in the office. It's one of THE biggest challenges people face when they come to me wanting to help grow their business - how to find the additional time (and energy) to take on more of the key tasks needed to get the next level. Well however eager you are to grow your business you first need to create the time and space to make the necessary changes - you first need to streamline what you're already doing to create some spare capacity and one of the simplest techniques I teach my clients is to start BATCHING.
Usually, a large percentage of the time requirement for any task lies in motivating yourself, sitting down, finding the relevant tools and information needed, shifting your energy and mental focus to the right place, and actually getting started, especially on tasks where we have some resistance. By batching groups of these tasks together we can save ourselves huge amounts of time not having to repeat that process more often than necessary.
Lets take an example of writing a blog post, lets say it takes you an hour to write a single blog post, which breaks down roughly to:
- 10 mins fiddling, turning on the laptop, clearing space on your desk, adjusting your seat, getting a coffee - generally faffing.
- 10 mins coming up with 2-3 different topics and ideas, deciding which you're going to go with and then staring at the blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike
- 25 mins actually writing your post
- 5 mins re-reading and editing
- 10 mins uploading and promoting via social media
And then 3 days later you sit down to repeat the process. That's 2 hours a week.
Now instead imagine you set aside 3hrs upfront and aim to write 4 pieces, which breaks down roughly to:
- 10 mins fidding, turning on the laptop, clearing space on your desk, adjusting your seat, getting a coffee - generally faffing.
- 10 mins coming up with 3-4 different topics and ideas, potentially all in a similar area or linking together, deciding which to write first and then staring at the blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike.
- 25 mins writing post 1
- 25 mins writing post 2
- 25 mins writing post 3
- 25 mins writing post 4 (you may even find each of these becomes quicker because you're "in the flow of writing")
- 20 mins re-reading and editing them all ready to upload
- 10 mins uploading post 1 and promoting via social media.
Now you have 4 blog posts ready to go over the next fortnight, and all you have to do is schedule the others to be uploaded and promote them via social media, saving yourself an extra hour each fortnight.
And this is something I apply throughout my life to the more mundane and routine tasks where possible - cooking dinner for example, rather than cooking every night I cook a couple of big meals every sunday and freeze them for quick, easy and healthy dinners throughout the week, probably saving myself 40mins a day in deciding what to cook, prepping ingredients, standing over a cooker and washing up pots and pans. Over 5 days mid-week that can add up to an extra 4h20mins that can be spent on other things, for very minimal extra time spent on a Sunday cooking a larger version of the same meal. (I start this process off by cooking 2-3 meals so that I have a variety of meals throughout the week to choose from, otherwise life could get pretty dull, and from then on you have a "stock" in the freezer and just need to cook 1 larger meal on a Sunday to add to it and keep it topped up for the week ahead). Laundry is another good example, making sure you have enough underwear, socks and variety of outfits to get away with only doing 1 big load of laundry once a fortnight, rather than having to do a wash every week (the parents out there might be rolling their eyes at this one!) Obviously it all depends on circumstances, but batching is an EASY way to quickly free up time and increase your productivity, and it can be applied to hundreds of tasks both in business and at home. So if you'd like a couple more hours in the day, start looking at where you might be able to batch your tasks and you could find yourself with more free time from tomorrow.