Batching, Pockets of time & Brainless Busy Work

Updated: Feb 22

Do you ever spend an hour or two or even a whole day in your office and wonder what the hell you got done? I was the QUEEN of Multitasking. 8-20 windows open at once, jumping from item to item. Feeling brain dead by 7pm if not earlier. I'm reformed and I'll never go back.

If you prefer to watch, I've done a Youtube Training on this that you can find here. This training also covers a quick Canva overview and basic good photography & editing.


Here's what's different!

  • I don't have 42 partially complete projects competing for attention

  • I'm not knackered early in the day & spaced out by night

  • I don't aimlessly scroll social without even seeing it, wondering why I'm not sleeping

  • I no longer pick up my phone constantly looking for stimulous

  • I get WAY more done in a day, to the point I'm shocked and amazed, lol

Now I called it Multitasking, but it's not really doing multiple things at once, it's jumping from task to task. Switch Tasking is the actual term for that process. Sometimes you have to switch task (motherhood) and some jobs are simply continual switch tasking. Being a restaurant server & reception clerk are two obvious ones. My squirrel brain LOVED being a server. Having 10-12 tasks ahead and doing them in an efficient order and jumping around from item to item was a CONSTANT dopamine hit. At some point, your dopamine gets depleted and you crash. I took that same switch tasking into my everyday life and my business. I spent significantly more time working than I needed to and rarely felt like I got much done. Another way we get that dopamine hit is by picking up our phones, even if we don't do anything after we pick it up!

Batch Working changed my life substantially, but for my Squirrel brain, batch working alone wasn't enough, my brain needed that extra stimulation. Let's dive in!


Batch working is doing larger blocks of tasks together for a focussed time, getting into a flow state. Instead of doing the same task 7x a week or 30x a month, for 5-10mins a day, do a block of time. Your blocks of time can be 30 mins if that's all you have, and up to 90 mins if you can create that much uninterrupted time.


You’re naturally batching already! When you head out to go grocery shopping you will likely make a few other stops at the same time rather than heading out five times a week or five times a day! That saves us time and gas. When we apply batching to our business and the rest of our life, we are more efficient and our energy stores don't get depleted.

STATS

  • It takes an average of about 25 minutes (23 minutes and 15 seconds, to be exact) to return to the original task efficiently after an interruption. Isn't that gobsmacking?

  • It takes 20 minutes for the average brain to get into flow state. Flow state is when you’re in your groove and being very productive.

  • Our brain can withstand a max of 120mins of focus, although some productivity experts recommend 50-70mins. Ideally, set a 50min timer and work that long, then walk away for 5-10mins of movement. Refill your water and stretch, pet the dog, dance to some music, empty the dishwasher. Keep your brain relaxed & unfocused. Often your best ideas come in this pause. Don't switch over to social - that's switch tasking! WAY more dance parties happen in my office now, I wonder if I'll get more co-ordinated? Hmmm.

So, what can you batch?

  • Cooking! Meal Prep or making enough for leftovers is classic Batching!

  • Cleaning - Better yet, hire that batch out!

  • Phone Calls - Make your customer care or host coaching calls in a group

  • Reading - save those more in-depth articles, blog posts and stories, then sit down and read them with a cup of tea, really having a chance to absorb them

  • Expenses and Accounting - I shared my batching technique for this on my Biz page Dec 30th as part of prepping for a new year

  • Email & Messenger Replies - Empty your inbox or reply for x amount of time, THEN CLOSE IT. TURN OFF those notifications, there are no email spice emergencies!

  • Getting Paperwork in order - paying bills, stamping catalogs, printing flyers

  • The biggest batching opportunity for the average small business owner like us, is Social Media! Business pages and groups both give you the options for scheduling posts. You can schedule an entire week or month much faster doing it in advance.

  • If you use Instagram I LOVE Planoly for organizing my Insta. I lay out my posts and my grid and then the app reminds me when to post. I DO NOT use the auto-post feature with Planoly as the algorithms don't give auto-posted items the same exposure. I use it layout my work on my desktop, rather than my mobile. I love it even just for keeping my hashtags organized! Your insta can autopost to your FB Biz page or your personal, depending on your insta setup!

  • TIP: Use your stories for ‘on the fly casual shares’ from your business/life.

If you do a lot on social you can break it down into mini batches, done back to back or at different times.

  • Batch 1- Find the photos that you want to feature over the period & edit as needed (I share super easy editing steps in this video at approx the 50min mark)

  • Batch - Write the content

  • Batch 3 - add the hashtags & schedule


HOW to batch!

#1 Do a brain dump. This is where you get ALL THE STUFF out of your head. My first one took hours and was FREAKING MAGICAL, read that process here. After you dump, note which items can be batched for maximum efficiency. NOTE! Without a brain dump you likely won't effectively batch as your brain will be trying to get you to pay attention to all the little things stuck in there! Once you've done a brain dump, keep it up. Each time a task or idea pops into my head I write it on my list (I do keep my brain dump on paper). When I'm not in the office I email it to myself OR if it's a book to read or a podcast to list to, I add it to a Google Keep note. Then my mind is free to get new ideas since it's not got the same ones swirling around.

#2 Eliminate Distractions - Flow State isn't achieved when you're being distracted. Here are my tips!

  • Use music to boost a scattered/squirrel brain. I use my upbeat playlist in the background. I ONLY that playlist, never random new music because I don’t want to be focussed on the music & words. I tune out the words although my brain absorbs the energy. Without background music my brain wanders off because it likes to be engaged in more than one thing and easily get distracted. With music, it gives my brain the opportunity to engage in more than one thing without derailing me. When I have music going, as I do now while writing this, I don't have random thoughts popping into my brain to write down, chase away, or open another computer window to start on. If you squirrel, try this!!!

  • Hang a sign on your door. When my kids were little they came in my office every 5 mins to tell me about something that happened on Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana or Mindcraft. Once they were 'old enough to do something by themselves' I got a Dollar Store Stop sign and attached a note: WORKING! Knock only for blood, fire or ambulance. Once I was done my work I'd go hear all about their stories and I could really listen and interact rather than nodding without listening.

  • Leave and go to the library or a coffee shop if you need to. When my youngest was 12 I moved to a home with my office in a separate building 50' away! 💪🏽😆

  • Set your phone to do not disturb. My kids know that a phone DND can be overridden by calling twice back to back if they ever really need me.

  • Turn OFF notifications. 🛑 Stopping your computer from sending pop-up alerts is huge, each time one of those flash across your peripheral vision it takes your attention. Standard in Chrome is continual notifications, even when I've left FB and I'm working in something else my FB notifications would pop up. Good grief, turn that crap off!

  • Have kids? Consider 'work toys'. I started my business when my son was one and I went full time in my business after having my second. Phone toys saved my life 18yrs ago. I had a special basket/box of toys for my kids. Those toys were only used during Mom's work time. They were 'quiet toys' of course, lol. My kids loved these toys more than the others simply because they weren't as readily available to them and they often ASKED ME to go to work so they could play with them.

  • HIRE A SITTER! In that hour of focused time you would likely get done what would take you three hours poking it around a crazy life.

  • HIRE A HOUSEKEEPER - You can earn as much in one class as an average 4 hours of housekeeping! The class will take you 3hrs and will build your business. It's a no-brainer, your kids don't care who cleans your toilet, you get an extra hour of time and the housekeeper is 'free' in the end.

Not everything can be batch worked although you can apply the same principles to a grouping of small to-do list tasks. Setting x amount to time to work on those items and not stopping until your timer is up or the job is done!


After you've finished your batch work, CELEBRATE in a way that feels meaningful to you, enjoying that bigger steady dopamine experience.

POCKETS OF TIME

Many of the life and business tasks that can't be batched are perfect for pockets of time! Since it takes 20 mins to get to flow state, we're going to consider anything under 20 mins to be a pocket of time. It could be 5 mins waiting in line, to 20 mins while your kids are playing quietly.

  • Checking social notifications, replying to comments onposts

  • Do a quick email overview for priority items like orders, unsubbing etc

  • Deleting or editing photos

  • Checking in with a few customers or team members

  • All the 'small stuff' on your to-do / brain dump


BRAINLESS BUSY WORK

This is what I call the 'stuff of life' that we do on autopilot. Folding laundry, washing dishes, gardening, cleaning, sorting, cleaning the chicken coop, etc.


Until I discovered podcasts I'd start one of these tasks and wander away part way through it due to my squirrelling brain. Since I didn't need to use my brain to do the brainless busy work it would make up to-do lists or whatnot, or I'd get bored. I'd race off to jump onto whatever popped into my head. Now with an interesting podcast going, I'm engrossed. I complete my tasks, I don't continually check my social or race off in 4 directions with the laundry half folded, the dishwasher half emptied, etc etc. Now if it's left half done it's because I ran out of my pocket of time, not because I squirreled! NOTE, doing a Brain Dump or Thought Download is PIVOTAL, if you haven't done this your brain will keep distracting you while you're listening to a podcast! When I first started listening I used the 'rewind' feature constantly, lo. When I discovered brain dumping that changed everything! Now when my mind has wandered off, I stop and examine the thought that derailed me before I restart my podcast. Most of the time it's to-do's I've not written down that kept jumping to the front of my mind. Podcasts are not something to listen to when your brain needs to engage in your task. I can't podcast and design, or podcast and do taxes, for example. That's actually Multitasking and very few brains can actively engage in 2 things! I hope you put these practices into place and you find your productivity SOARING! Please make sure to come back and share with me and please share your fav podcasts, productitivy techniques or anything serving you well!

🎯Watch Youtube Training, including photo editing: http://bit.ly/DKProductivity

🎯Listen: Audio only of the Youtube above: http://bit.ly/DKProductivityAudio

🎯My fav podcasts http://bit.ly/MyFavPodcasts 🎯Read my Brain Dump Blog Post Happy Growing, Cooking & Eating!

XO Dana K

Find me on Social: FB Grow It Cook It Group FB Epicure Biz Page Instagram

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DANA KAYAL    |    SPICELADY@DANAKAYAL.COM    |    250-681-3262   |    KELOWNA, BC     |    NORTH AMERICA