How to Make More Time For Business Development
Last New Year’s, I spent most of my vacation at the beach with friends beinginside making major updates to my business website. I was so excited for this time away, but there I was inside. I did this because my website update was the kind of important project that I never had time for when I was serving clients January through mid-December.
At the time, I felt I had only one option: capitalize on this personal time and sacrifice my much-needed vacation to finally just get it done.
Have you ever been there?
Whether you’re starting a business, growing one, or maybe even working on a career or personal project, so often other responsibilities get in the way that we have to prioritize. Before we know it, we are scrambling in the late weeknight hours, squandering our weekends, and or - perhaps most often - just not getting to the important development work we would really like to do.
It seems like it’s a luxury. But it isn’t. It's possible and it's powerful. With a bit of calendaring and planning, it’s much, much closer than you think.
Meet the "Batch Day"
After last year, I wasn’t going to spend another 12 months feeling like I could never grow or develop the business. I've tried a lot of productivity ideas and techniques in the pat but everything changed when I heard about something called a “batch day” from Kelsy at Paper + Oats.
A “batch day” is a bit what it sounds like: a day you set aside to go through a bunch of batched tasks so you can knock them out all in one fell swoop.
It’s simple in a very great way. It’s one day where you block out your entire schedule - no meetings, calls, or other obligations. Your only job - on that particular work day - is to work ON your business, not in it.
Kelsy hosts a monthly productive challenge that you can learn about/subscribe to here. The way she does it is very focused on several tasks, setting a day schedule, etc. but I’ve found my own way that I’d like to share with you.
Here’s how I do “Batch Days” for Greatest Story:
- I set at least one “Batch Day” per month and I schedule them at least 6 months (if not a year) in advance
- If I feel a bit overwhelmed and spot another free day, I grab a second “Batch Day” on the monthly calendar
- When I schedule a new client and project, I make sure to avoid and plan around all previously scheduled “Batch Day” dates (which is easy to do since I've set them several months in advance)
- I spend the entire Batch day out of the house and spend 10am-7:30pm at my favorite coffee shop, powering through something major
- Rather than “batching tasks,” I generally choose one or two key projects for the business that I never have time to work on during a regular workday
With these simple rules, I saw a dramatic impact to my both my business and my work/life balance. I am blown away by what this one simple practice helped me to do (and not do) last year.
This is what having at least one “Batch Day” a month helped me to do in 2015:
- Wrote and rehearsed three new speaking presentations for 8 speaking gigs
- Created and launched anniefranceschi.com, including physically moving hundreds of blog posts over from my personal blog, anniemade
- Conceived of and launched coaching and brand analysis services
- Completed a 40 hour business website update
- Did a comprehensive, eye-opening business development analysis
- Implemented resulting strategy and positioning projects including major social media changes, website changes, and other messaging
- Planned, launched, and wrote the first four issues of my weekly newsletter
- Wrote and auto-published both my Christmas and New Year’s posts in advance before the holidays
- Developed, wrote, designed, and edited something just for my newsletter subscribers, launching on February 10!
And here's what I didn’t have to do thanks to “Batch Days”:
- Feel guilty that I wasn’t working on passion projects
- Skimp on important business development and strategy
- Always work on projects in the evenings and on the weekends
- Work over Christmas and New Year’s!!! (the best part, really!)
Of course, it's not perfect. Things come up. Occasionally I do answer emails or take a quick call. And not every “Batch Day” goes to plan. Just this past week, I’d planned to use the day to do develop a TedX talk but instead ended up using it to play catch-up after a weekend out of town. Sorry TedX, maybe next time.
Could a "Batch Day" Help You?
After a year of doing this, I enthusiastically share this concept with you. If there’s something you feel you never have time for, that you feel like you are always having to put on the back-burner, I really think it could be a game-changer.
Because the thing is - it’s never about having time, it’s about making time.
We always use the time we’re given - even if it's only spent checking Facebook. It's a vacuum and we fill it. And things pop up that we can't predict.
If we never have a plan - a net to catch us and slow us down - our lives will be one never-ending journey in survival mode. You can’t start a meaningful business that way, or grow one, or live a life you get to be present and enjoy.
So try scheduling yourself a "batch day" and start out your own version of it. Make a date with yourself, focus on that thing you’d really love to do, and see what happens. I really think you’ll be blown away.