Time Management and Batching

Time management is the most illusive dream for many of us that spend our time juggling competing priorities.  How best to use the limited time we have in the day, to be the most effective we can be, while still accomplishing everything we set out to do for the day.  To some, Time Management requires rigid adherence to a schedule, that allows them to put together their day the best way possible; to others, it’s just a habit they have acquired over the course of years of practice, either by accident or because it was required of them.  Lee Iacocca believed that the ability to effectively use time was everything, and that concentration was the key to success.  He was right, of course; without the ability to concentrate, you won’t be able to complete the tasks you have set out to do for the day.

When thinking time management, you should also keep in mind the Pareto Principle: that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.  Thus if you can hone in on what 20% of the work you do provides that 80% results, you can prioritize it effectively, and thus have greater results in less time.  In fact, whole books have been written on the subject, most notable The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.  While I personally have yet to pare down my week into four working hours, I have noticed a technique, first introduced to me by Sunny Lenarduzzi, on how to be more effective in using my time: batching.

Batching is the act of taking all of the work of one particular type and scheduling a time to do the entire week’s, or even month’s, work in one or two sittings.  As an example, like me, Sunny is a YouTuber amongst other business interests.  She therefore needs to produce her weekly videos in a time-effective manor, so she can provide the content her hundreds of thousands of subscribers want to see, without taking too much time away from her other responsibilities.  This is where batching comes in; she schedules a time each month to do all of her weekly video production, a time period of about four hours, according to her video on the subject, to produce the videos she produces for each Monday of the month.  This allows her to effectively manage her channel, without taking swaths of time out every week to make sure the next week’s video is ready.

In my own work, I’ve done some experimenting with batching, and where I have used it, it tends to work very well.  My Let’s Play series were all batched each week, and when done correctly, I always managed to have the content produced and uploaded on time.  When I don’t batch, I have noticed that it’s easy to drop the ball and miss a scheduled upload, much to my chagrin.  In order to combat this, I have decided to implement some changes in how I produce videos, and will be making those changes in early September, to see how well they work out:

–Video Content for any individual segment will be produced in one sitting, split by a short break between videos. This means when I sit down to produce content, it will likely turn into a two-hour session.

–Thumbnails will be produced at the same time, in one sitting. This should only take approximately one hour for all seven weekly segments.

–Uploads will be done in one session. This should take only two hours per week.

–Articles for McBainmanor.com will be written in one sitting for the month, with an eye on producing content with a full month buffered (so articles written in May go live in July)Video content for any individual segment will be produced in one sitting, slit by a short break between videos.  This means when I sit down to produce content, it will likely turn into a two-hour session.

You may wonder why I’m telling you this.  After listening to Ferriss talk about how much time he recovered by focusing on his high-effectiveness activities, and how they have allowed him to recover a large amount of his free time, I reviewed what it takes to set up, and break down, for a recording session.  I realized that when I record my Fallout 76 videos, which go live every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, my work is usually efficient, set up happens once (usually taking about 15 minutes), as does breakdown (5 minutes), and the inevitable breaks in-between each video (5 minutes each if nothing happens).  This means that on top of the 90 minutes of recording, I also use 30 minutes of set up, take down, and rest.  In the event I don’t batch, and do videos separately, that same time would add up to 60 minutes extra (15 minutes of setup for each recording, 5 minutes of break down, but no break times).  This means I’m saving 30 minutes by batching these videos.

You may scoff at saving a mere 30 minutes of time, but to put things in perspective: I do 7 segments a day.  If each segment I batch together saves approximately 15 minutes in production time, less the first one per day, that means I’m recovering almost an hour and a half of my week.  This is the same amount of time it would take to produce all seven thumbnails, if done in similar fashion.  Additionally, while I upload videos in batch, I can use that time to do other things while I wait for the videos to upload and process, and start adding things such as end screens to my videos, something I have been long neglecting.  If you have ever tried producing anything on YouTube, you’ll know that end screens and postproduction extras really help grow a channel, and it’s something I’ve neglected, thus this will be an effort to correct for that.

So while I try my grand experiment in batching, I encourage you to do the same, and let me know how things go.

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