One of the biggest deterrents from writing is how much time it takes. Not just how long it takes to write a book, but the amount of time it takes on a daily basis. I’ve talked about finding time to write in the past, specifically about how to make do with any 10-20 minute windows you have in your day. But what happens if you don’t even have that much time? Or what if that time isn’t enough?
When that happens, it’s time to start creating time to write. The obvious way to make time is to cut something from your schedule; watch one less tv show, say no to friends, or task someone else with making dinner. But sometimes none of these are real options.
One thing that really helped me get more writing time was learning to batch as many tasks as possible. There are a number of tasks that we do repeatedly, whether it be weekly, daily, or a number of times throughout the day. Some of these tasks will be less time consuming if you set aside a block of time and tackle the task in one shot.
With that in mind, here are five tasks you can batch to find more writing time!
1) Social Media
It’s possible you’ve heard that it’s never too early to be building a platform on social media. Or maybe you just really like to be looped in on what’s happening on Facebook or Twitter. Regardless, if you check in on your social media accounts more than once or twice a day, it’s probably taking up more of your time than you realize.
Reading posts and responding to comments takes time. And be honest, how often do you think to yourself, “Oh, I’ll just jump on for a minute to see what’s going on,” and the next thing you know, fifteen minutes (minimum) has passed? This used to happen to me at least five or six times a day. Now I save my social media catch up for fifteen or so minutes at the end of the day. It’s enough to check in and engage, and I gained at least a half hour of daily productivity time.
We’re pretty much programmed these days to answer emails ASAP. But every time you do that, you have to stop what you’re doing, put your full attention on the email, then get yourself back into a working mindset when you’re finished. It can also be really easy to get sucked into an email you don’t have time to answer. Instead of answering emails throughout the day, choose 1-3 fifteen minute windows to tackle your inbox. And when you do, keep your responses as short as possible; Don’t give a long explanation if it’s not needed and don’t answer an email that doesn’t really require a response.
If you cook every night, it probably takes about an hour a night to get dinner on the table. At least, that’s what it usually takes me. Instead of cooking dinner every night, see if you can put aside 2-3 hours on the weekend to cook and freeze meals for the entire week. This cuts down on time because you can have a few meals going on different burners/in the oven at the same time. Plus, there are probably even a few foods that you have a couple times a week, like, rice, potatoes, or a certain vegetable. Batching your cooking means you can make them all at once. This will cut down on how much time you spend prepping, cooking, and cleaning up each night and give you more time to write!
Okay, maybe you don’t clean every day. And, yes, this is usually the first thing to go when we need to find more time. But at some point, the cleaning does have to get done. When you do it, you’re better off tackling each task in its entirety at once. This is true for daily tasks and weekly ones. Don’t load the dishwasher/wash dishes throughout the day. Do it once, and give yourself just a little more time when you do. Don’t just vacuum one room or one floor when you really need to do the whole house. Sure, these types of tasks may only be saving you five minutes here and there. But those five minutes chunks can add up and turn into more time for writing.
This was a game changer for me. Instead of taking the time each day or each week to plan what I need to get done, I put aside one day a month to plan my writing schedule, blog posts, and social media posts for the entire month. I used to lose so much time on a daily basis trying to figure out what I was going to write/post each day. Now I get into planning mode for 4-5 hours a month. By the end, I know what I’m going to work on and post for the next 4-5 weeks. What you need to plan might be different from me, but if you’ve noticed your day getting regularly interrupted because you have to think about your tasks before you do them, this might be a good option for you.
These are the batched tasks I’ve found to be most helpful to me, but this method can be applied to almost anything you do repeatedly. So if you’ve found yourself regularly losing time to a task, see if there’s any way you can batch it and fill the time you gain with writing!
And it’s also worth noting that while this post was written with writers/writing in mind, it can be applied to anyone looking to create more time in their day-to-day schedule.
As always, I hope this helps!
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Now it’s your turn: What tasks can you batch? Tell me about it in the comments!