If I were to define it, it’s basically the process of bunching tasks together. Instead of working on one thing and then another, you stay on a single task and complete it. In Dumas’ case, he puts out a new podcast ever single day, so he takes an entire day in his week to do all of his interviews.
After reflecting on how I could implement batch processing in my workflow, I decided to sit down and think about all of the tasks that I had to do in a week. I basically came up with this list:
- Writing and editing content
- Formatting and scheduling posts (i.e. finding photos)
- Marketing content/social media
- Recording audio
- Recording video
- Emails/marketing messages
I then experimented with a new workflow for a while. It turned out to be intense.
The Ups of Batch Processing
The main upside of batch processing is focus.
Steve Pavlina talks about dedicating yourself to the completion of a task or project instead of jumping around from one thing to another. In essence, it’s the same idea as batch processing, but the difference is that most of us have many duties to handle; not just one.
In other words, batch processing would be unnecessary if you didn’t have many things to do, because you would always be doing just one thing.
You can see from my list that I have a half-dozen or so ongoing tasks. In an ideal world, I would be able to dedicate long stretches of time to content creation. Then, I would batch the scheduling of posts. From there, I would move onto marketing, and so on.
I spent several weeks working towards the completion of all of my writing duties in the first two days of my week. It didn’t always work out perfectly, and I was usually a little burned out by the end of it, but it did free up the remainder of my week to handle other tasks.
The Downs of Batch Processing
The main downside of batch processing, at least for me, is deadlines.
No matter what type of work you’re involved in, there are deadlines and completion dates for everything. If you miss them, you could risk being reprimanded or even fired.
I write content for my clients, so that means there is usually a deadline for the completion of posts. Most weeks, I found that I couldn’t avoid having to halt writing duties to go and schedule a post. From my perspective, I felt that putting off the formatting and scheduling of posts would allow me to focus on creation, and if I could get all my writing done in one fell swoop, likewise I would be able to schedule everything I’d written using a different chunk of time. It didn’t usually work out that way though.
I even have consistent due dates for my own blogs and podcasts, so there are deadlines to meet in that sense too, even if they are just personal goals.
In short, trying to dedicate time to the completion of a single task proved challenging.
Another difficult aspect of batch processing is that creative inspiration doesn’t strike on command. If your work is redundant and straightforward, concentrating on a single task isn’t as hard. If you have to think about what you’re doing (as in writing), however, you can’t always force a timeframe.
Conclusion: How to Optimize Batch Processing
In reflection, one of the things John Lee Dumas mentioned was that he had a template for the questions he asked his interviewees. I did not have a specific template for my work, and though it would make the creation of content a little more linear, having those rails in place probably could have helped me stay on task.
Additionally, in my line of work, there is an opportunity to work ahead. I don’t have to wait for deadlines to come around. I can schedule posts days, weeks and months ahead of it them being published. Of course, that necessitates having multiple prolific writing sessions.
Could your work benefit from batch processing? Have you done similar experiments? If so, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!