Work smarter – Batch working for small business owners

Work smarter – Batch working for small business owners

When you run your own business, your time is split between so many different jobs. Depending on what you do (perhaps you make things, or you clean other peoples homes?) this all takes time. But of course that not the end of it, what about the admin, the marketing, the accounts. All this takes you away from your business and I assume the bit you enjoy! So we need to find ways to work smarter. Get the admin or social media posts, done quicker. There are different ways to do this, depending on how you like to work. But today, I want to talk about Batch working. I only really learnt about it a few months ago and now I use it as part of my planning

What is Batch Working?

Batch working is grouping similar tasks and tackling them in a very focused manner.

If you’re the family cook then perhaps you do batch cooking? Cooking up larger quantities of food in one go, then having the extra portion when it’s needed. So rather than cooking every night, you may cook more portions of meals when you have more time, for example, at the weekend. Then during the week – the meals just need to be warmed up, rather than cooking from scratch. This way it saves you time & money (no need to buy take out, for a quick fix. Also you can buy ingredients in bulk which usually works out cheaper).

You can take this approach with your work.
So rather than flitting from one job to another and back, you stick with one at a time. Do you find yourself being distracted from the task in hand by shiny things like social media, new emails etc? Then you could give this a go. (It’s not easy, I still get distracted but I keep trying, haha)

First, list the jobs you want to do, i.e. check/file/respond to emails, write blogs, plan your social media posts.

Turn off the Internet (if you can) or at least notifications or programs you don’t need. This is to stop yourself from being distracted. If you wanted you could set an alarm at this point – the aim is to remain totally focused on one job for the next 15mins or until the job is done. If it’s a big job, breaking it up into shorter time slots might make it more manageable for you.

Then settle down and just focus on that job. When it’s done or your alarms gone, you can then have a fidget, a quick pat yourself on the back – you got that first thing on the list done. Then repeat with task two.

Batch by Job,

By doing similar jobs, at the same time, you may be able to save more time – for example, if you have 5 emails and three want information about making a booking, then there will be similar information that goes into each email. Create a template response – or keep certain paragraphs of information, that you use often in a word document. So you can quickly copy and paste the info into the email – quick tip is it info that could be added to your website in as part of your FAQ / frequently asked questions section? Might save you more time in the future if people can find that info before they contact you – it won’t stop everyone, but even if it saves you from writing one or two emails a week it all adds up.

What about social media?

Do you just post to your account, as and when you think of them? – do you do it every day? How much time does it take you every day? Plan your social media posts – this can be for the week ahead, the month ahead or the year ahead it’s up to you.
There are companies out there that sell premade posts for you to tailor for your company. Or using products like Canva.com you can create your own

Plan

Create a plan – this can be written out in by hand, or in excel or there is a site called Trello.com which creates boards which can be handy for this. I set up a board for the month – add cards for the dates then create a card per post. It’s up to you if you only add a title – or you could create the whole post in the description section, as well as adding the images you’re going to use. These cards can be moved about until you’re happy with your plan. I’ve found that batching my posts by a theme each month means that some parts of the content that can be used again, for example, an image from a post can appear in a blog, or vice versa.

Trello.com is great  help you plan your social media content
Trello.com - you can even attach the images you're going to use
Get creative

Create the extras you need for the posts i.e. images/memes/videos blog posts (I tend to leave blogs until last but if I wrote them earlier. I might be able to use the content more in my post so cutting the work some more.
I use Canva.com it makes easy to create images for posts. Using Canva that you can quite easily create a month worth in a short amount of time (well if you know what you’re going to post about hence the plan.
Prepare some templates for different things you post about so if you add reviews do a template for that or a product shot. Then you just need to change the middle content and download. ( I also keep a lot of my old posts on the system and just download the new ones as often I can reuse some or part it in another post.

Schedule

Schedule your posts – there are a number of tools that can help with this, most have a free account (I like free) or you can pay to be able to post more often or to more accounts.
Facebook and Instagram can be scheduled via the “Creator studio” but it can be a little glitchy and can sometimes get you blocked you if you make too many posts too quickly as they think it’s spammy – even if they’re to be posted out over several days??
So you could get around these issues with a third party site like later.com, hootsuite.com tailwindapp.com.

You can still post to your account whenever you fancy during the month but this way at least you have something scheduled and if life gets in the way and you run out of time to post something for the day, you don’t have to worry – something will be going out.

In conclusion

Whenever you can batch up work and get work done in a block, it’s going to save you time. Even if it’s just the time of opening and closing the programme on the computer or logging into a site everything time you do one little job. Once you’re in the zone hopefully it’ll just flow and it’ll help you to work faster too. But if you can get organised, all those little jobs you had to squeeze into your day, alongside the bits you like doing, can be done and dusted. Allowing you more time for your business or time with your family.

So what else can you batch up? Leave me a comment below let me know what else we could be batching and if it works for you.

I am Pippa and I have run Pippas Web - web design for small business for 10 years. I help small business owners find their bit of cyberspace. I provide the technical know-how, so they can get back to running their business. If you like what I write in my blogs, you can sign up to my newsletter for more tips straight to your door. All list members get a copy of "How to get your business seen online in 2020".