This morning I read a post by Problogger about doing tasks in batches and what he said made a lot of sense. I also had a light bulb moment shortly afterwards.
I recently wrote about my batching my freelance writing admin work on Sundays so I keep on top of my books and have a lighter day in the week. I was already doing a few things Darren talked about but he goes a step further than I and some of his tips make a lot of sense to me.
Darren's advice includes the fact that instead of writing a blog post once a day you might choose to spend one morning a week writing out the posts for the whole week and post-dating them. Instead of checking e-mail every five minutes, you might pick a few times a day to handle tasks like e-mailing and responding to instant messages. Great advice, Darren Rowse! I've often written about multitasking and how it can actually harm your productivity if you end up with Writer's ADHD.
Beyond benefits of batch processing and productivity traps I'm also learning that there are times when I'm better equipped to be successful.
This morning I had to do something I normally do every Thursday night for a client. It was an enlightening experience. This task involves writing several articles and then submitting them to nine online locations. It involves a lot of cutting and pasting and tweaking. I've tweaked my methods for this task several times and have found ways of cutting the submission times but it never fails to become arduous for me.
I love the subject matter and enjoy writing the articles but every single Thursday night you'll find me at my computer and probably with a grumpy face. I toil with the cutting and pasting. It feels like it takes forever and the result is that I'm often making silly errors like pasting the keywords for one subject into the section of the other one and making mistakes in signature lines that result in broken links. I always go back to make sure I haven't made errors but it takes ages to finish the task. I always feel exhausted at 11:pm or 12:am on Thursday nights getting this done. Because I don't love the submission process, I procrastinate until literally the 11th hour. I've decided I'm now going to do this task on Thursday mornings.
This Thursday I was zonked from another assignment so my client told me I could finish later so I planned to do it Friday night instead. Late last night when I planned to do it, I got turfed off my pc early due to a thunder storm so I did my submissions this morning. This morning I was bright-eyed and bushy tailed and I think I cut the submission time in half and they were error free the first time I did them. Valuable lesson learned!
Not only is batch processing a great idea from an organizational perspective but figuring out when you are at your best for certain tasks could increase productivity and result in more polished and error-free work.