How to Use Day Batching to Save Your Life as a New Content Creator
As a new content creator, you probably have 536 tasks to complete before the end of a week comprised of increasingly short days.
The worst part is that you’re also probably like the rest of us and have some combination of a short attention span, a tendency towards procrastination, and probably several other plates spinning in the air.
This common reality for content creators leaves many of us drowning in tasks and stress, which often results in a mindset that isn’t conducive to entering that elusive flow state that so many creators dream about. In other words, the more tasks and stress, the less flow state is achieved, and ultimately, the fewer tasks that are accomplished every week. This problem is compounded for creators that have multiple income sources or other priorities in their lives besides their work.
This neverending cycle can spell career suicide for new content creators.
Whatever happened to becoming a creator because it was supposed to free up our time, give us 15 hour work weeks, and net us a comfortable six figures every year?
The trick is to control your life, which directly translates into the beautiful language of day batching — the productivity hack that will actually save your life as a content creator.
What is day batching?
Day batching (also known as day theming), is an extension of the tried-and-true productivity method, task batching.
In short, day batching is the process of theming or “batching” your day around a particular set of tasks. For example, Monday is the day you write all of your blog posts for the week, Tuesday is the day where you edit all of your posts, Wednesday is the day where you have all of your meetings, etc.
How many times have you entered the flow state while working on a large project, only to have your concentration broken a short time later by the ping of an incoming email or a fleeting memory of another task that you need to get done ASAP?
For content creators who wear many different hats across their income streams or businesses, day batching creates an environment where you can build context into your work without it being lost by a random interruption. In other words, by day batching, you get the opportunity to enter the flow state and stay there.
Not only that but day batching also allows you to delve into your projects or tasks with greater concentration, understanding, and efficiency. For example, it’s incredibly difficult to switch your focus between three projects in a day when you’re only spending a couple of hours every day on each project. Instead, by attaching one day to an entire project, task, or goal, you allow yourself to remain concentrated on one central idea. With Monday devoted to Project A, Tuesday centered around Project B, and Wednesday focused on Project C, your brain can fully delve into the projects and topics at hand without having to constantly switch gears.
How does day batching benefit content creators?
The idea behind day batching is to reduce the amount of context switching you have to do throughout the day.
Context switching is a productivity killer that occurs when you jump between tasks, tools, or projects. For content creators, it’s common to have multiple projects or tasks on the go, which means that it’s unlikely that you’ll get 20 minutes of uninterrupted focus before you’re jumping to the next task. In essence, you can’t do your best work when your attention is split across a mile-long to-do list, 10 open tabs, 3 unfinished projects, and an overflowing inbox.
Day batching transforms this fragmented workday into a full day of flow-state productivity.
How is day batching superior to other time-management and productivity hacks?
Day batching is superior to other time-management and productivity hacks because it offers a better shot at entering (what I like to call) a day-long flow-state.
While it’s true that you can’t do more than 4 hours of deep work per day, the fact is that it’s much more difficult to accomplish any kind of flow state when you’re relegating yourself to working on multiple different projects every day.
By day batching your week around specific themes, you help yourself stay focused and in the groove of a given project.
Furthermore, day batching takes away any excuses you may have once had to become distracted during the day. By batching all of your administrative tasks (for example, answering emails) on one day, you ensure that you won’t be tempted to check your inbox every time the tone goes off. Or by batching all of your meetings on a given day, you help keep yourself on track by not becoming distracted every time someone wants to discuss something with you.
By using day batching to organize and plan your weeks, you take back 20–80% of your overall productive time that you would otherwise lose by working a day governed by another time-management hack that allows for context switching to occur.
Day batching made simple.
Day batching begins with making a list of what your priorities are, figuring out which days you want to designate for those priorities, and then building a weekly schedule around your batched days.
How to get started with day batching:
- Begin by making a list of all of your priorities: You can’t begin batching or theming your days without knowing what your priorities are. Make a list of all your priorities and begin grouping them into related topics. For example, writing may be its own category, whereas administrative tasks such as answering emails, paying bills, and bookkeeping duties can all be grouped under one category.
- Decide how much time you want to dedicate to each priority, then designate a day for each broad category of tasks: Some groups of tasks may require more days than others, which is why you need to determine how much time you want for each group of tasks. Writing may take you longer, so you’ll designate two days of the week for writing-related tasks. Be honest with yourself and give yourself enough time to accomplish everything you need to within a category of tasks.
- Leave half a day open at the end of the week for any catch-up, administrative, or planning tasks: The end of the week is the perfect time to leave some time open for any catch-up, random administrative, or planning tasks that you need to get done. By giving yourself some time to plan your next week, tie up any loose ends, and generally complete any random small tasks that popped up, you will enter your next week stress-free and on top of everything.
- Let others know about your new schedule: Day batching is a unique activity that is rarely done by anyone who isn’t a content creator or an entrepreneur working for themselves. Therefore, it can help all parties involved to be aware of your new schedule. By letting others know that you will only take meetings on Tuesdays and that you will be responding to emails on Thursdays, you ensure that you won’t have a line of angry people waiting for your attention.
- Before each new week, create several lists of tasks for each themed day: By building a list of tasks that need to be completed on each themed day, you already know in advance what the days of your week are going to entail. Taking the guesswork out of your days ensures that you’re making the most of your time and that you know exactly what you’re going to be doing each day. Not only that but making lists of tasks will help ease your mind about not forgetting anything.
- Keep a catch-all to-do list that you can add to whenever a task pops into your head: One of the best tricks to help your productivity and keep you from getting distracted is to keep a catch-all to-do list of tasks that you add to whenever something pops into your head. By having a place where you can quickly jot down your thoughts, you ensure that you’re not forgetting anything while also staying on task. At the end of the day, you can revisit that list and schedule each of those tasks to their corresponding days.
- Monday: Content creation — write all blog posts for the week.
- Tuesday: Meetings, administrative tasks (answering emails, paying bills, running errands, bookkeeping duties).
- Wednesday: Content creation — work on online course material.
- Thursday: Film and edit video content for the week.
- Friday: Marketing — sending out email newsletter, posting on social media, responding to comments, studying marketing plan, etc.
- Saturday and Sunday: Rest days — spend time with family, recharge for the week ahead.
- Leave a 10–20 minute block at the end of each day where you can go through your catch-all to-do list and schedule each task for their designated days. This time can also be used to address anything urgent that may have popped up throughout the day.
- Having a physical schedule that others in your household can see can help you stay distraction-free throughout your day. By designating specific times where someone can talk to you, you ensure that stay in the flow state and that others are being respectful of your time. Working from home is hard — help those around you to better help you create a better working environment.
- Use day batching to be strict about scheduling non-work time. “Scheduling” days off helps you keep yourself accountable for taking time away from work.
What happens when day batching doesn't go as planned.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world where our days always go according to plan.
For me, this takes place when I get called out for a search and rescue incident. On any day at any given time, I can be called out to an incident with no idea of when I’ll be back at home. This obviously throws a serious wrench in things when I’ve planned out my week a certain way.
The best thing about day batching though is that it means that I can roll with the punches. For instance, even if I’m not able to devote my entire day to what was planned, I know that I will likely have a few hours where I can get some work done. Because I had already planned what I wanted to get done, no time is wasted trying to figure out what I should prioritize. This leads to a more efficient use of the time that I do have.
The point is that while life never goes the way we planned, day batching offers some modicum of regularity and discipline that can still be achieved using whatever time you happen to have on a given day.
- Day batching is the productivity hack that will actually save your life as a content creator.
- By theming or batching your days, you take back 20–80% of your overall productive time that you would otherwise lose by working a day governed by a time-management strategy that allows context switching.
- Day batching helps you roll with the punches when things don’t go according to plan by giving you a concrete plan for the time that you do have available.
For new content creators, the creator economy and world of freelancing and entrepreneurship can spell personal disaster. Having the ability to set your own hours and work from home can be great, except at the point where you’re drowning in tasks and working 23 hour days.
Day batching helps you take your life back. While it’s not a panacea for the crazy amount of work that you need to get done to “make it”, it helps you get better at valuing your time, making the most of your days, and being the most productive creator you can be with the time you’re given.