“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be your stereotypical article about setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions. But I will candidly add my voice to one topic that pops up more in January than any other month: Increasing personal productivity.
Between my Type A personality and the tactical business wisdom shared by my friend and colleague Melissa Swink, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at maximizing my limited working hours. And after reading this blog published by one of my clients, #SocialSchool4EDU, I finally had a word to describe my strategy – “task batching!”
What is Task Batching?
“Task batching” simply refers to grouping similar tasks together, so you get more done in a short amount of time. My favorite project management program, Asana, published this great article that walks you through the basics of task batching and provides tons of examples of how you can implement it in your business.
What Happens if You Don’t Batch Your Content?
As small business owners, we’re faced with a never-ending to-do list every single week. It can feel daunting to tackle what we have on today’s list, let alone work ahead! But the alternative is stress and burnout. Worse, if you get sick or have a personal emergency, no content will get published because you haven’t worked ahead.
And we all know that consistency is key when it comes to content marketing!
When I first started Emily Writes, I didn’t work ahead, I didn’t schedule content, and I certainly didn’t have a plan in place. I would wake up to a to-do list that included daily social media posts, blogs, and emails – and everything had to be written, approved, and published on the spot!
Talk about pressure! Task batching became necessary to save my sanity.
How to Batch Your Content Writing
Step 1: Block Time
Set aside 1-2 hours to create content for the week ahead. As you get better at this, you can do two weeks at once, one month at once, etc.
Step 2: Use Themes
Use content buckets to determine your themes. This blog provides an in-depth walk-through of how to use content buckets for social media posts. You can apply the same concept to your blogs, podcasts, videos, email newsletters, and more. Just choose the different “themes” that you want to use throughout the year and rotate between them.
Tip: It would be helpful to choose your themes for the quarter or the year ahead of time so that every time you sit down to batch, you already have a sense of direction.
Step 3: Draft Content
Sit down and start writing! You could also record yourself talking and have that recording transcribed on Rev.com. [affiliate link] Don’t worry about perfection at this point; just get your thoughts out.
*At this point, if you are working with a content writer, hand off your draft or transcription to them. They can polish, perfect, and even schedule your content!
Step 4: Polish Content
Step away for 5-10 minutes, and then come back to polish your draft or transcription. Aim to be succinct and engaging, with a dash of personality thrown in. Make sure every piece of content has a call to action (here are 100 free ideas!) and, if applicable, a compelling visual. If your content is a video or podcast, record it now! Don’t put it off!
Step 5: Schedule Content
Just about every type of content can be pre-scheduled, so you can “set it and forget it.” My favorites are Agorapulse for social media [affiliate link], Flodesk for email marketing [affiliate link], and WordPress for blogging.
Bonus: Getting Fresh Social Media Ideas
Let’s face it, one of the areas that could use “task batching” the most is social media! You can get away with posting a fresh blog, podcast, or email newsletter 1-3x a month…but social media needs constant attention. Depending on which platforms you’re using, you could be looking at daily upkeep.
If that sounds exhausting, I have a resource for you!
I recently released my first-ever digital product, 57 Social Media Post Ideas. This amazing guide is presented as a checklist, with each of the 57 specific, attainable ideas designed to be used either once or as recurring features. (Nothing is better than a post that can be used more than once!)
I’ve kept the cost low, at $14.99, to make it affordable for everyone. And one more thing: When you purchase this guide, it also teaches you my simple-but-effective content bucketing system, which will also help you ideate for the future!