Batching: My New Productivity Weapon

Note: In this post I got a bit behind the scenes here at Wealthy Mom MD. I hope you enjoy it!

Earlier this year I discussed my 5 productivity tips. I’m always up for learning how to be more productive. After FINCON18, I decided I was going to take my business to the next level–while still working close to full time as a dermatologist, being a mom to Jack, and a fiancee to Matt. And I still wanted “me” time, too–seeing friends, working out, etc. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to create time, so I knew I’d have to learn how to juggle all of these things and hope to still feel sane.

First, is it really possible? YES. 

I was initially inspired by The Life Coach School’s podcast episode Throw Away Your To-Do List.  Brooke Castillo knocked down the all-pervasive notion that you must be busy in order to be successful or “get sh*it done.”

In reality, “busier” people are simply sloppy with their time management and there is no direct correlation with how successful one is and how much time they have available.

Brooke Castillo

I knew this was going to be an amazing episode when she said that. In fact, Brooke “works” 3 x 6hr days and earns a multiple 7-figure income. I’d like for you to challenge the belief that working hard and putting time in equates money or success. It doesn’t.

Soon after, I discovered Michael Hyatt’s new book, Free to Focus. Michael, like Brooke, challenges the idea that productivity is NOT about finding or saving time. Productivity is about working less AND having more free time. Can I get an AMEN?

But wait, you may say. I have LOTS of stuff I need to do. Do you? Michael challenges us further by saying that all things are a choice and you can choose not to do something.

Here are a few things I’ve started implementing in my own life and business in order to work less and have more free time:

Batching

This is a powerful tool I just recently learned. 

What is batching? 

Batching is when you work on similar tasks or projects in one, long, uninterrupted swatch of time. One popular example is batch cooking on the weekends so you have pre-prepped meals or ingredients for the week. I know some folks batch cook for the month by preparing freezer meals.

Why is batching this effective? It minimizes task switching. Every time you switch tasks–aka multitask–you lose up to 40% productivity. It gets worse. It’s been proven to increase stress and anxiety, kill creativity, drain your brain of precious resources, and effectively reduce your IQ to that of an 8-year-old. 

You may think you’re good at multitasking–checking emails, responding to texts, and working on a paper all at the same time–but no one is.

I’ve implemented the batching method in my business by batch-writing content (blog posts), my weekly emails, and my social media. Instead of scrambling the night before to write something for my blog, it’s been planned and batch-written at least a month ahead of time. I hope to increase that to 3 months ahead of time soon.

Schedule Checking Your Email (and Other Forms of Distraction)

How many notifications and beeps come from your phone everyday? Or your computer? (Every website now seems to want the ability to notify you…) You may think it’s no big deal when your phone beeps or vibrates. However, it’s been proven to increase your anxiety and the only way to relieve it is to check your phone.

High performers are not at the mercy of their devices. They schedule specific times to check email and may even minimize checking their phone for text messages.

Batching is powerful if you stay focused on the tasks at hand. You may have to turn off internet access while doing your work. The classic “let me check what’s happening on Facebook” scenario where, one hour later, you forgot what you’re working on. We’ve all been there.

Ideally, I’ll check my email twice a day and address them to reach Inbox 0. I turn my phone to silent and put it out of sight when I’m in batch mode.

In reality, “busier” people are simply sloppy with their time management and there is no direct correlation with how successful one is and how much time they have available. @BrookeCastillo Click To Tweet

Outsource

I’ve always been a huge fan of outsourcing. As the content creator of my business, it is not a good use of my time to do things like approving members to my Facebook group, edit and upload blog posts to WordPress, or schedule social media content. I know how to do all of these things and did all of this for a long time, but a time comes when it is no longer a good use of your time and will hinder your business.

It’s just like how you don’t room your patients or check them into your office. What other things in your life (or business) should you no longer do? Learning how to delegate tasks and ensure quality are skills you can learn.

Schedule YOUR Time First

Most people schedule their days or weeks by scheduling their work or other “must do” items before scheduling “fun” time or family time, or whatever their personal priority is. Then they wonder why they never make it to the gym or see their friends.

Schedule these things FIRST! And protect this time! Just like you’d never schedule a friend date in the middle of your clinic, (you wouldn’t even entertain that, right?) you need to schedule and protect your time as well.

Mondays to Fridays 5pm-8pm is my protected family time. Jack goes to bed at 8pm. During those hours, I do my best to put my phone aside and be with my family.

Just Say No

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Warren Buffet

You don’t have to say yes to everything you’re asked to do. In fact, if you want to be more productive and have more free time, you need to learn how to say no. If you’re a really nice and helpful person, this can be difficult to do. But saying yes to everything you’re asked can lead to you overbooking yourself and stressing out, which will hurt your productivity overall. 

Learn how to say no, especially when the things you’re asked to do cut into your family time, personal time, or time you planned to spend batching. That way, when you are able to help someone, it won’t be stressful or counterproductive.

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