Years ago, I learned a lesson from ProBlogger that has helped me effectively and efficiently use Twitter for my work. The lesson is part productivity, part organization, and perfect for Unclutterer: working in batches.
Way back in 2008, blogger Darren Rowse wrote about the benefits of organizing your outstanding tasks into similar batches, and then addressing each batch individually:
In my understanding of the term ‘batch processing’ it was always used to describe systems (usually computerized ones) where data was collected together for a period of time before it was processed. Instead of doing every small ‘job’ as it arrived jobs were ‘queued’ or collected until the computer was ready to process them all at once. This meant that the computer could do these ‘batches’ of jobs all at once when it would otherwise be idle.
Darren started to batch outstanding tasks — writing, processing email, social bookmarking and so on — and found that getting these done in a burst of energy freed up time for other, more taxing activities later. Today, I use that advice to great effect while tweeting for Apple World Today.
I’m in charge of the Twitter account at Apple World Today (among other things). To provide an interesting experience for our followers, I’ve created a list of daily themed tweets, as well as a schedule for when they’ll be published. Over the weekend, I sit down and write what will be our tweets for the week. Getting this done ahead of time frees me up to concentrate on the myriad other things I have to do and, I’ll be honest, it feels so good knowing this task is done.
The following is the theme schedule I follow:
- Monday: Funny stuff to start the week off right. Amusing photos, videos, etc.
- Tuesday: Behind the scenes. A look at what my colleagues and I are working on, like articles in progress.
- Wednesday: Informative or surprising tweets. Quickie how-to tweets or tips that are 140 characters long, or little tips that people can use right away. People love these, and they take the most thought from me.
- Thursday: Retweet interesting content from followers and share relevant industry news.
- Friday: A look at our work culture. Unlike on Wednesdays, Friday posts focus on my colleagues and I as people. You’ll see us with our dogs (or cats), at the cafe and so on.
Even if you don’t tweet as part of your job, batch processing tasks can be an extremely effective way to organize your tasks. However, those of us with “Twitter” on our job descriptions will certainly benefit from devising a formal schedule and “batching” time to sit and write the week’s tweets. You’ll get time to formally sit and consider how you’re using social media, you’ll free up time for other tasks during the week, and you can practice your organizing skills, too. As Michael Scott would say, that’s a win/win/win situation.