Why Every Entrepreneur Needs Batch Days & How to Set Them Up
One of my biz friends recently sent me the following message that totally struck a chord:
“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. I’m running around a little aimlessly and only getting everything half done.”
And I 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, wishing I could somehow tack an extra 3 days onto my work week…
Whether your business is a side-hustle or your full-time day job, I’m sure you’ve learned by now that 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’ve recently implemented in my own business that’s helped immensely when it comes to staying on top of my biz tasks. What is it, you ask?
Two words for ya: Batch Days.
What is batching?
Batching is when you spend a big chunk of time focused on one specific task, instead of jumping back and forth between different unrelated tasks.
Essentially, “batching” means doing things in bulk. Just like you might meal prep enough chicken and veggies to last you five days, you can do the same thing when it comes to your business by spending a large chunk of time focused on one type of task.
Here’s an example: Instead of sitting down and writing a new blog post, editing that post, finding images for it, and scheduling the social media promo all back-to-back, you might spend an entire afternoon writing four blog posts. Then you’d spend the next day editing those four blog posts, the day after that taking and editing photos for those posts, and so on.
Doing tasks in “bulk” like this lessens the cognitive load on your brain by not forcing it to switch between different modes of thinking all day long. When you focus on one type of task (writing, taking photos, scheduling social media) for a larger chunk of time, you’ll be able to produce more content, more quickly, and with less brain power.
What are batch days?
I first heard of batching a couple years ago, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across Ashlyn Carter that I saw how the concept could be applied to entire days in your business.
For example, you might devote an entire day each week to writing blog posts -- instead of just a few hours or an afternoon. Then you might devote another day in your week to marketing and outreach.
Batch Days work best if you’re someone who has entire (6-8 hour) days to devote to your business — whether those days are Saturday and Sunday because you work Monday-Friday, or Monday-Friday because your biz is your full-time job.
The key is to make batching work for you and your schedule. There isn’t a “one size fits all” method of batching, but once you figure out how to make it work for your business, I know you’ll love it as much as I do.
Examples of batch days
Here are the five “Batch Days” I’ve used for my business:
1. Content Creation
These days are focused on writing blog posts, writing emails to my list, writing guest posts, recording podcast episodes, etc.
(Pssst. Want help whipping up epic blog posts at lightning speed? Check out the free workbook below!)
2. Social Media
This involves scheduling my social media for the week, creating social media graphics, tracking my social analytics, and engaging on various platforms.
3. Product Development
This day is all about creating courses, ebooks, and digital products.
4. Admin & Outreach
This is one of my “combined” days (more on this below). It generally includes answering emails, editing blog posts, and setting up collaborations, guest posts, podcast interviews, etc.
5. Planning/Swing Day
This is usually my Friday, and I like to leave it relatively open and flexible. 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 for my biz.
If I don’t have anything big lined up, I let myself choose any area that I want to focus on that day (content creation, social media, etc.) and then run with it.
Keep in mind that the “themes” you choose for your batch days will vary depending on the tasks on your to-do list. Everyone’s business is different, and everyone has different things going on.
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 again, generally 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 my blog posts.
However, I don’t need to spend an entire day each 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 batch are:
Taking photos for your business and social media
Recording and editing videos
Moral of the story: This is a take-what-you-want buffet, not a set-menu five-course meal. You need to figure out the main tasks you repeat over and over again in your business, and then create a schedule to batch those tasks.
One little tweak that made all the difference for me…
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 that’s kinda where I got hung up.
At first, I tried having a set schedule where Mondays were always my Content Creation days, Tuesdays were always my Social Media days, and so on. But I quickly learned that having such a strict schedule doesn’t work as well for me.
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.
When I made this discovery, I wasn’t ready to give up on batching entirely so 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 wanted to have every single week, no matter what, and then I let myself switch up the order each week.
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. The same goes for social media, or admin, or anything else.
My motto is: As long as it gets done sometime this 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 has actually allowed me to get ahead on my work.
Have you tried batching or batch days before? Are you going to try it out after reading this post? What adjustments are needed to make batch days work for your business?