Close your eyes and think about your life..
What are the elements that make it happy, peaceful or successful?
Now, think about that one thing that is absolutely essential to your life, and yet you struggle to do it day after day.
Yes, the one that makes you scream, shout, and despair. The one that you must get done before getting on to other important things in your life.
It’s something that you think about almost all the time. It could be anything. You can’t get it out of your head.
For Amy Porterfield, the successful podcast host of Online Marketing Made Easy, it is her podcasting itself. She used to call everyday as the podcast day. Scrambling over the topic, recording, copy, editing and on went the list ..every single day!
For me, it is the cleanliness drive. I just can’t get on to anything worthwhile without seeing my house in order – the work desk, the bookshelf, the room, the other room, the fans, the looking glass, and my list goes on and on.
For you, it may be something else. But you get the point. You just can’t seem to finish it and yet can’t get it out of your head. How frustrating. Most of the time, you have to get on with other things anyway, but that’s excruciatingly painful.
That’s where this idea of Mega Batching comes in. I heard this from Amy herself and she transformed her life applying it to her podcasting.
And, I, of course, applied it to my Safai Abhiyaan, my cleanliness drive. Given that we’re still continuing without a help at home, looking back, this is just what I had needed in the first place.
It’s a simple idea, but works wonders. At the heart of it, it is all about bundling (batching) similar things together. So, what ever it is that you are cringing about, break it down into sub-tasks that must be done in order to complete it.
For Amy’s podcasting, the sub-tasks were, her topics selection, outlining the podcast content, reviewing it, creating show notes, writing emails to her subscribers list, recording the podcast, editing it and final review.
For my cleanliness drive, it was my brooming, mopping, mosquito spraying, dusting, doors cleaning, cleaning the tops (fans, spiderwebs et al), mirrors, clothes arranging and books arranging.
Well, I never thought I’d be doing a job description for your house help 🙂
Anyway, you get the point. Make an exhaustive list of the work that must get done in order to call that overall task done – Podcast or cleanliness drive or what ever it may be for you. Spend good time in doing so because you could very easily miss out on something. If you do, it’s fine though, you can always add to the list.
The next step is to combine the similar things together. If all the sub-tasks look similar, well they aren’t.
Topic selection is very different from recording the podcast.
Brooming is way different from mopping.
So, Amy focuses on just topic selection on Day 1, just like I now focus on just brooming on Day 1. Basically, you batch the activities something like below.
- Monday mops
- Tuesday tops (fans, spiderwebs..)
- Wednesday mosquito spray, books at bay, clothes away
- Thursday broom (wrappers and papers)
- Friday dusting Yay!
- Saturday doors or shall I say Saturdoors 🙂
- Sunday broom (small dust)
It was a huge mindset shift as I am used to seeing all of the above happening everyday since I was born. Perhaps so are you. But then, whoever said that all of this has to happen everyday. 🙂
Amy has something similar for her podcasts.
The real killer is the multi-tasking. This concept heavily relies on the principle that multi-tasking is the world’s greatest time-waster. It takes the brain a HUGE amount of time to switch from one activity to another. To add to that, it is very frustrating and stressful.
I can totally relate. The daily switch from broom to mop was killing me.
If you’re thinking some of this is not evenly placed in terms of time, then you could combine a few things but make sure they’re similar. I have two days for brooming as I think that works better for me.
This approach makes me walk out of this mindset after having done the decided sub-task for the day. Yesterday, was Tuesday Tops day, and I did the fans. When I saw clothes or wrappers on the floor, it frustrated me much less, because I looked at the sparkling fans and was reminded that the floor is for another day.
Try this out in whatever you do. You will of course need to make few adjustments and will learn in the process but I promise if would be far more enjoyable and satisfying.
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