Freelance illustration work is quite unpredictable. Tasks change depending on clients, if they need layout/digital work or actual watercolor illustrations; if I have time to focus on my own projects and Etsy store; if I have to help out at the cafe a lot (mostly shifts on late afternoons/evenings) or pressing deadlines to throw everything upside-down.
So to stay sane and organized while working from home, I do this one simple thing:
Batching | Organizing my daily routine in themed portions.
How does 'Time Batching' or 'Task Batching' work?
To use 'Batching' (or 'Block Scheduling') in a daily routine and schedule, similar tasks are grouped together. This can mean tasks that require similar materials or similar mindsets. Once (especially small!) tasks are part of a group, it's easier from one to the next since all necessary materials or references, or the necessary peace of mind, are already in place.
It also makes it easier to schedule out individual days, especially for self-employment or when working from home. Instead of being overwhelmed by the flurry of small to big tasks that need to be scheduled, they simply fall into one of the established 'batches' and those batches have their fixed place in any given day (or week, though this blog post uses daily batching).
No matter what projects I'm currently working on, this allows my days to have a regular schedule:
- Morning: Organisation, Client Contact, Etsy / Packaging, Social Media, Digital Work / Layout and design work. Anything requiring my laptop and internet, I get done before lunch. This helps me getting started - I'm way too restless in the morning to just start on one single, long task. Getting all the tiny to middling tasks done first thing lets me cross off a huge portion of my to-do list.
The time difference from Korea to most of my clients (Europe, United States) also requires for me to reply to emails and messages first thing in the morning. Especially the storyboard company in the States I'm working for will just finish their day when I get up, so it's always a good idea to check in for any pressing matters.
I also update my social media in the morning most day, and get housework done (meal-prep, cleaning, washing...).
- Lunch: Most of the time we eat something small at home. If I have orders to ship that day, I'll get my trip to the post office done before mid-day. This marks the end of my 'Organization' batch.