Empowering the Freelance Economy

Freelancers who batch work get more done and have less stress: here’s how to do it

Batch working can help freelancers focus more and get more done in a day
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Many freelancers are swamped with various projects, constantly switching between writing, client calls, social media updates, and email responses. It can feel like you’re putting out fires all day without making any progress. However, freelancers who have discovered batch working, find it can transform how they work and feel.

What is batch working?

Batch working, also known as batch processing, is a time management technique where you group similar tasks together and complete them in dedicated blocks of time. Instead of switching between different types of tasks throughout the day, you focus on one type of task at a time. For example, instead of checking emails sporadically all day, you dedicate a specific time slot to manage all your emails at once. Tip: Please inform clients this is your preferred method of working so they know you are not ignoring their emails.

What are the benefits of batch working?

Enhanced Focus and Concentration: By concentrating on a single type of task, you minimize distractions and reduce the mental load associated with task-switching. This allows you to enter a state of deep work where you can perform at your best.

Increased Efficiency: Grouping similar tasks together allows you to complete them more quickly and efficiently. When you’re in the flow of a particular type of work, you can capitalise on the momentum and avoid the downtime associated with constantly shifting gears.

Reduced Stress: Batch working helps in reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed by breaking down your workload into manageable chunks. It also helps you maintain a clear and organised schedule, which can significantly decrease stress levels.

Improved Quality of Work: By dedicating focused time to specific tasks, you’re likely to produce higher quality work. The increased attention and care you can give to each task leads to better outcomes.

How to create a batch working schedule

Identify Your Tasks: Start by listing out all the tasks you need to complete. Group similar tasks together, such as writing, graphic design, administrative work, meetings, and so on.

Create a Schedule: Allocate specific blocks of time for each group of tasks. For instance, you might reserve mornings for creative tasks like writing or designing, and afternoons for administrative duties like emails and invoicing.

Set Boundaries: During your batch working sessions, eliminate distractions as much as possible. Turn off notifications, close unnecessary tabs, and let others know you’re unavailable. This will help you maintain focus and make the most of your time.

Stick to Your Plan: Consistency will help you meet your productivity goals and reduce your stress. Stick to your batch working schedule as closely as possible. Over time, it will become a habit, and you’ll find it easier to maintain.

Incentivise yourself with “treats”: A treat could be a tea break, a trip to the closest beach for a walk, a 20-minute session curled up on the sofa reading a book, or lunch with a friend. It’s amazing how much more focused we are when we have a goal to work towards other than something work-related.

Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly review your batch working strategy to see what’s working and what’s not. Be flexible and willing to adjust your schedule to better suit your needs and improve your workflow.

Examples of batch working

Emails: Instead of checking your inbox every hour, dedicate two or three specific times throughout the day to manage your emails. This could be first thing in the morning, after lunch, and before you wrap up for the day.

Content Creation: If you’re a writer or a content creator, dedicate specific days or blocks of time solely for content creation. Use other times for research, editing, and publishing.

Social Media Management: Schedule a block of time each week to plan, create, and schedule your social media posts. This way, you’re not constantly distracted by the need to post content in real time.

Client Calls and Meetings: Try to schedule all your meetings and client calls in one or two specific time blocks during the week. This allows you to have uninterrupted time for deep work on other days.

The goal is to work smarter, not harder

By grouping similar tasks and dedicating focused time to each group, you should quickly enhance your productivity, reduce stress, and improve the quality of your work. What you may discover is you are spending more time than needed on certain projects or clients that are not cost-effective for your business. This is what happens when time gets away with you. You switch back and forth between different tasks and never seem to get any paid tasks completed as quickly as you could. You may have to rethink how you charge for such projects in future.

Give batch working a try this week, and you might find yourself accomplishing more in less time, all while enjoying a more balanced and organised work life. And some treats for your hard work!

Here are some apps that can help you integrate batch working you’re your daily schedule

Timing: Never worry about forgetting to start or stop a timer again. Timing automatically records which apps, documents and websites you use, so you always know where your time went.

Trello: Organise tasks and projects using boards, lists, and cards.

Todoist: A powerful to-do list and task manager to keep track of your tasks.

Google Calendar: Schedule your batch working sessions and set reminders.

Asana: Manage projects and tasks collaboratively with team members.

Notion: An all-in-one workspace for note-taking, task management, and project planning.


Mark, Gloria, et al. “The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress.” University of California, Irvine. Research on task-switching and productivity.

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