As a Female Digital Nomad, I’ve learned a lot on the road: How to live 3 months abroad with only one carry-on suitcase, how to sleep well on a 16 hour flight, and how to get a full day’s worth of work completed in half the time.
Yep, I am 100% more productive as a Digital Nomad than I was working in an office thanks to the benefits of batchworking. And it doesn’t all stem from being inspired by new scenery or creative coworking offices, but because I have embraced batchworking as a way of life on the road balancing travel and my full-time job.
In fact, most of what I do in Digital Marketing can be “batched” one way or another. Often saving time, effort, and clutter within my work flow.
What is Batch Working?
Batchworking is a type of routine that focuses on completing a single task in the moment before moving on to the next. Essentially, it keeps both your mind organized as well as your to-do list. For example, I work in Digital Marketing so my batchworking might look similar to this:
- Monday – Write 5 blogs
- Tuesday – Schedule all client social media posts
- Wednesday – Create all social media advertisements for the month
- Thursday – Design graphics for the week to use for social media
- Friday – Weekly reports
Of course, I do other things than listed above, but the point is that I have a specific focus for how my time is allocated. And therefore, my frame of mind is already prepared to kick ass on that goal for the day.
The Pomodoro Technique is an excellent tool for newbies to get used to batchworking and re-focus their routine.
Why is Batchworking Beneficial for Digital Nomads?
No matter how organized you are, being a Digital Nomad means your life is a little messier than others. Them’s the breaks. Living out of a suitcase, not having a “homebase,” working from different cafés each day: This is the dream (holla!) but it’s an easy transition into a life of mental messiness which affects your productivity.
Especially for someone who is naturally “all over the place” in general. I am the type of person if I don’t have lists or a clean room, I can’t focus. These are physical aspects of “messiness” that batchworking can help remedy – the clutter of your mind within the workday.
When I first began my career as a Digital Nomad, my work routine mimicked the traffic laws of Southeast Asia. Which, if you’ve been, you get the joke. HA HA – jokes on us because there are no traffic laws in Southeast Asia!
Multitasking is Not a Badge of Honor
When you boast about how many tasks you’re juggling, you’re not saying “I’m 100% owning these assignments to the best of my creative ability!” You’re actually saying, “I’m completing these assignments with moderate potential and it’s taking me longer to do so!”
Multi-tasking is the first way we work ourselves to mental fatigue, and ultimately burn out, which affects our sharpness and ability to create and solve problems in the most proficient way possible.
In an article for the the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bregman states that our productivity decreases by 40% when we focus on multiple tasks at once. And you can’t argue with Harvard… so there.
How to Get Started
So you’re ready to embrace the elite (just kidding) and begin batchworking? These were some of the things I did to get started. Trust me, I used to be a Juggler Extraordinaire and am now confident that I was wasting so many hours multitasking vs. working on one problem at a time.
- Turn your phone off for 1 hour at a time and compeletely allow yourself to immerse your actions into the job you need to finish.
- Take breaks. Choose a system what works best for you, but essentially work for a designated amount of time, and then take a mandatory break. I typically work on the 30/5 rule. I focus hard for 30 minutes and take a 5 minute break to stretch and take my eyes off the computer screen. I’ll repeat this pattern 4 or 5 times before allowing myself a longer break to lay down or eat a meal away from my desk.
- Give yourself deadlines. This will begin to train your brain to estimate how long it will typically take to finish the task so you can maximize your schedule moving forward.
- Don’t work in pajamas. Okay, this tip is 100% a personal opinion. I started doing this in college when I would dress up on exam days and I swear it helps! As a Digital Nomad, if you have a full work day or conference call, dress up! I’m sure there is a science behind it, but when you feel put-together, your brain agrees and elevates your performance. Placebo effect at its finest.
The Benefits of Batchworking You’ll Notice Immediately
Less stress trying to accomplish mutiple tasks by working inefficiently. When I could totally and wholeheartedly mark off an assignment, I felt in control and powerful. Yeah! Take THAT, to-do list!
Working less hours is one of the most noticeable benefits of batchworking – especially for Digital Nomads who don’t have the distraction of a bustling office to get you sidetracked. Immediately you will accomplish more in your typical 8 hour work day than ever before. And as a result, you will have more free time to explore the new city you’re in and play tourist for a day.
You’ll begin to know the value of your time. You know the phrase “Time is money?” Of course you do. You now see minutes as valuable time to be distincly focused and every wasted email or meeting as an opportunity to get something done.
Once you begin to value your time, you’ll position yourself so that others will respect your valuable time as well.
You’ll enjoy disconnecting. If you’re anything like me (or most millenials with office jobs) you do not find happiness when you walk away from your phone or tablet or laptop or desktop – you find unnerving anxiety if you’re missing something, like if a client or supervisor has an urgent message for you after hours. Committing to your designated work hours and then walking away from the computer once you’ve completed your assignments is probably the most freeing feeling as a remote worker.
I hope you’ll consider adopting this work routine to save time and effort! Do you have any additional tips you’ve learned while working remotely or more benefits of batchworking that I missed? Share them with me in the comments!