Completing any task involves time getting set up, doing the task, and often some kind of tying up of the loose ends, and cleaning or tidying up at the end. Some tasks may involve travel time. That’s why batching can be so effective in helping you find more time for your creative projects. You cut down drastically the time you spend on setting up, traveling, and transitioning from one task to another. Deciding that you will only go food shopping once a week, or less can make a big difference. Putting your errands together can cut down hours wasted in travel time.
Making big batches of food ahead of a major project and freezing it, can also reduce the workload. It may require more planning but it is well worth it. Also in the last hectic days before a big project’s completion date, consider a few takeout meals as a way of getting you through the hump. If you are somebody who enjoys cooking you may make your regular food preparation far too complicated. It’s great to create a really delicious and elaborate meal for family and friends on occasions.
But make things simple for your daily life and you will free up a lot of time for other ways of expressing your creativity. I find batching my coaching calls on one or two days a week, works well for me. It allows me to get into my coaching mode, and have my client files on hand. Then on other days I can focus on my other writing or arts projects, or schedule other business or family activities. You can also batch your work to promote your projects in a few days or half days spread over the months you have scheduled. Batch together the telephone calls you need to make, or the trips to pick up materials for your project.
Batch together the creative part of the process too. Find out what amount of time you need to get into high focus on your artwork, and then what time your energy starts flagging either take a break, or to go on to something completely different. I find I work best on a project when I have about three or four hours or even a day, or a weekend, where I can completely get into a project. However if I spend too much time in a row, I go into overload. I need to schedule breaks to go for a walk or have a meal or snack, about every one hour and a half, although sometimes I get so wrapped up in my work that hours pass without me noticing.
What about you? Where are you wasting time by not batching together similar tasks? How often do you need to change activities completely, so that you keep refreshed and productive? Journal your activities for a few days, and see what time you can free up just by putting similar activities together, or planning better your errands. While you make think you already know what you are wasting time on, you may make some interesting discoveries about how you can free up your time.