You’ve got those writing tasks to do, and they are not all fun (although, to be fair, a lot of them are). We’re talking research, actually writing a draft, querying, reading, blogging, editing, proofreading…the list could go on.
If you’re flicking between these sorts of activities daily then it’s time to talk about task batching – because this will save you time and energy in the long run.
Have you ever heard the myth of the proactive and productive multi-tasker? Yep, multi-tasking is not the way forward. In fact, the time that it takes you to re-focus on a new task when you are already in the zone could be spent much more effectively.
Let’s use writing a draft as an example. Writing a draft requires your creative brain to switch on.
Imagine the scenario where you have written your to-do list for the day, and you have the following on it:
- Writing 1000 words
- Editing – Proofreading
So, you happily write your word count, feeling creative and completely in the zone. Right, time to switch to proofreading your work. This is a little trickier because editing is not the same as writing and requires a different type of concentration. So, after spending a good ten or twenty minutes trying to refocus, you proofread a chapter. Good. Okay, onto the querying. Ah, now this is different again. You have to refocus that brain once more, which wastes yet more time. We haven’t even moved onto the research element of your day yet.
Refocusing the brain takes up precious time that could be used on something else that suits the focussed zone you are currently basking in.
Matching Tasks and Batching Repeat Tasks
Depending on your tasks, there are a couple of different ways to task batch. These can be broken up into Matching Tasks and Batching Repeat Tasks.
If you have just written 1000 words of your novel, ask yourself, what writing activity on your to-do list is similar to this task? Take Blogging for example. Personally, I always use Tuesday’s as my creative days. That means that I spend time writing my work in progress, before moving onto writing a blog post. I don’t have to take time to re-focus my mind on writing to do so or to switch my creativity too much – because I’m writing about writing after all. In fact, I have found that when I write creatively my blog posts are far more interesting, chatty, and engaging (trust me – I asked Grammarly).
You can match your tasks depending on the thought process so that you know you won’t have to disengage and refocus before moving on.
Batching Repeat Tasks
As well as matching your tasks, it can really help to batch up jobs and tick them off. If you write a blog post every week, why not take one afternoon a month to get four blog posts written? This will really free up your time for other creative exploits, and you might find you get far more done.
By labelling certain days for job lot tasks ahead of time, you can line up your work and dive straight in without having to refocus your mind on the task at hand.
So, the next time you are planning your writing week (and if you want to read more about that, read: Ten Tips for Planning your Writing Week), try and think about task batching at the same time.
You may find that you reclaim those precious minutes that were previously wasted – and that’s at least another few hundred words of your work in progress.
Take a moment now to write a list of your tasks and see how they could fit together, or plan your repeated tasks into one time frame – you won’t regret it once you give it a go!
Want to chat about task batching and how it can help you? Head to the contact page and send me an email! Don’t forget to sign up to the email list to receive weekly blog posts before everyone else, direct to your inbox.