What is Batch Work? How Does it Work for Freelancers?
Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite tips and tricks for making sure you keep track of everything without exhausting yourself. Decision fatigue and mental exhaustion are really common with entrepreneurs and freelancers because of how many decisions, choices and strategy calls you have to make over the course of a given day.
Do One Thing
Batch work is one of the ways that I have made things a lot easier for myself. So what is batch work? With batch work, I break all of my projects into different stages. Then, I do those stages together across all of my clients. For example, choosing topics for clients; I do all of that together. I focus on that one task.
When we’re working, it’s very hard to switch gears and do something else. I see a lot of freelancers make this mistake, particularly when they are stuck at 50k or 30k and trying to break through to make more money. They say, “I am going to do client A's project.” Then they spend three hours choosing the topic, writing it, editing it and sending it in. They are asking their brain to do a lot of different tasks in there. It's really inefficient and they are totally exhausted by the time they finish.
This is how it looks when I batch my work instead. I sit down and choose all of my clients' topics for the next week, the next two weeks or the next month. I am asking my brain to only focus on the research process. I may not do this all in one sitting, but rather in multiple sessions like that where I ask my brain to do one thing. The next time I sit down, I'll move on to another stage, writing.
The reason behind batching work is that you don’t want to be asking your brain to switch lanes and to do different types of tasks. It is totally exhausting, and it will burn you out very quickly.
Bye Bye, Multi-Tasking
By planning ahead you feel like you have your deadlines under control. You also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are only asking your brain to do one very specific thing at a time. Then it’s easier to switch and say, “Okay, now I am going to answer client emails for 30 minutes and I am just answering emails. I am not also trying to write someone's blog, and publishing someone's blog.”
Trying to do many things at once -- multi-tasking -- is what kills you as a freelancer. You end up getting to four o'clock in the afternoon and feel like, oh my gosh, I only did one thing today, I am so far behind, now I have to wake up at 5 am tomorrow and start all over.
Working in batches of projects makes things a lot easier. You might carve out two hours to select client topics, then you take a break and you send those topics if they need approval. Then you come back in the afternoon and you begin the writing or the drafting or the outlining process. On another day, you might work on finishing the writing. Then a whole other set of batch work later, like the following afternoon, you may edit it.
This also makes you a better freelancer because you are giving yourself some space to not get a tunnel vision on your projects. This is really important for all freelancers, especially writers. You want to get some space from your projects, so you don’t think that it’s perfect and amazing. You are much more likely to catch mistakes if you give yourself some time between writing and editing.
Breaking these different stages of work into different days is really helpful. If I write three blogs, I may be exhausted and tired. I may miss mistakes that my clients would be upset about. But if I write those three blogs, do a different type of batch work for a while, and then come back to edit those three blogs, I am asking my brain to only focus on the editing process itself and that makes it a lot easier for me to catch mistakes. Those finalized blogs can go out to the client for review while I switch into another task.
It’s much less pressure on you and your brain and much fewer decisions that you need to make. You end up being ahead of the curve. You are ahead of deadline instead of constantly feeling like you are starting and finishing a race, feeling exhausted, and then starting another race with a different client's project beginning from zero.
I did have to do a little bit of legwork to get ahead. I discovered this process when I was getting ready for a three-week vacation. I had to batch my work to get it done before I went on this three-week vacation. I realized how effective that was that I really put in a lot of energy into that, but then ultimately, I got myself three weeks ahead.
I hope that this is something that may really work for you and your freelancing. I love teaching about these advanced freelancing topics.
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