Planning Your Batch Writing Sessions To Maximize Productivity

Nick Greene    By under Content Strategy.


Hey there, folks! Hope Monday's finding you well! Now, I'm certain you've all heard of batch writing - a content creation strategy that basically involves occasional marathon writing sessions as opposed to a more frequent routine.

A few weeks back I wrote about Pamela Wilson's Seven Lessons Learned From Three Years Of Content Creation. Today, I'd like to revisit that piece, focusing on another of the insights Wilson shared. See, she is herself a big proponent of batch writing:

"The secret to stress-free content production - I'm convinced - is batching," she writes. "Want to gain freedom and flexibility? Plan a marathon content creation session. Crack out a month or two of posts, then sit back and devote your energy to promoting those posts when you publish them."

It's how I produce the majority of my articles. At least once or twice a week, I'll sit down in front of my computer with a stack of pieces to work through, not moving until I'm finished.

I'll be the first to admit that this strategy doesn't really work for everyone - nor should it. That's what I'm here to discuss with you folks today. How can you make it work for you?

More importantly, how can you tell if that's even possible?

It's All About Finding Your Rhythm

Look, here's the thing about the content creation process - it works a little differently for every single content creator. What I mean is that you've got a rhythm; an ideal time and place to ply your craft. In my case, I tend to write most of my stuff at night, when a lack of the distractions that tend to be commonplace during daytime hours makes it a lot easier to focus.

Others find it easier to write in the morning or in the afternoon, and that's perfectly alright. That's what works best for them. It's when they're the most productive, and thus when they should get their most important work done.

Great advice, right?

Sure...but there's one minor problem with it. What if you've got no idea when your most productive hours are? How can you figure out your rhythm then?

"It's classic productivity advice: match your most important work to your most productive hours. If you do that, you'll get a lot more done," writes Laura Vanderkam of Fast Company. "But this advice assumes you know when your most productive hours are. Many people don't."

Drawing on advice from Daniel Gold, the author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide To Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, she offers up the following strategies:


  • See how you spend your time on days that are light on work - what sort of schedule do you generally stick to?  


  • Actively track your time and feelings. Write down how you're spending your time (or use a time-tracking app) to see when you do your best work.
  • Look for patterns in your focus. If you're able to work for ninety minutes straight, you've probably found a period of peak productivity. If, on the other hand, you're taking a break every few minutes to check Facebook or Tumblr, then you're probably in a trough.
  • Think back to patterns earlier in life. Did you find it easier than your peers to stay up late at night, or did you always wonder why people complained about morning classes in University?
  • Ask your colleagues and friends - when do they see you working your hardest?

Seek Patterns In Your Productivity

Once you've figured out when you do your best work, your next step is to figure out how you work. What sort of patterns or habits do you display when you're whiling away the hours writing an article or designing an infographic? Do you work best in short spurts coupled with staggered breaks, or are you the type of person who simply throws themselves body and soul into whatever they're doing until it's done?

Although research does indicate that people work best when they go by the Ultradian Rhythm - that is, ninety-minute periods of work during periods of high alertness followed by rest during periods of low alertness - that doesn't necessarily mean that this style is the best for everyone. Some people really can work tirelessly on a project for hours at a time - but are you one of them?

Before you schedule any time-frames in which you're to mass-produce content, you need to answer that question. It sounds a bit airy, but you need to figure out the sort of 'shape' your productivity takes; the patterns you typically follow when batch writing. If you find it difficult - or even overwhelming - to complete a marathon production session, then that may well mean that batch writing's not for you.

Closing Thoughts

Personally, I think batch writing is awesome - it's how I produce the majority of my content. Even so, I'll readily acknowledge that it doesn't necessarily work for everyone. Some writers are better-suited to putting out their work at a more regular pace, while others deal with time-sensitive pieces that need to be written up and published within a certain timeframe.

The key, as I hope I've shown here, is figuring out what works for you, and playing to your strengths.