Brain Science Your Way To
BATCH SYSTEM WRITING
WHY BATCH WRITE?
Producing a blog a day, scores of business proposals or half a dozen books a year is no longer considered exceptional.
It is today’s standard for anyone with an idea to advance, be it a new thought, technology or product. This high level of productivity requires an energy-efficient system, not long days and sleepless nights.
The key is batching: grouping similar writing tasks and focusing on one batch at a time. Within each batch you perform a single task and don’t let any other tasks distract you.
Batching is not multi-tasking, which research shows doesn’t work. Formula 5 isn’t the left hand typing dialogue for a novel while the right hand crafts transitional prose for a travel guide. Humans can perform two tasks at once, such as walk and talk, or chew gum and read a map. What we can’t do is focus on two things at once. Multi-tasking, like juggling is an illusion. To the casual observer, a juggler is juggling three balls at once. In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession. Catch, toss, catch, toss. One ball at a time. It’s what researchers refer to as “task switching.”
HERE ARE 8 WAYS BATCH-WRITING WILL INCREASE YOUR EFFICIENCY IN PRODUCING BOOKS, SALES PROPOSALS, SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT, RESEARCH AND POSITION PAPERS:
SETTING UP YOUR FORMULA 5
BATCH WRITING SYSTEM
ORGANIZATION – REPEATED DECISION MAKING
From songwriters and choreographers to novelists and screenwriters, those who have mastered craft do so, in part, because they organize their output. Free your mind from repeated decision-making for rote aspects of any writing project. Set up once, a system you return to again and again for each new project. You produce faster because you don’t invest precious resources recreating the assembly line each time you use it.
Create templates for:
starting new projects (sandboxes for experiments, covers, references, appendices)
versioning (footers) and
archives (dated, nested folders).
Copy and paste templates into folders you create for each writing project. As you accumulate new ideas for individual projects in related batches, you are doing it within established architecture. When accessing a project at any stage of development you needn’t squander brain energy trying to remember its location or how it’s organized.
Automation allows you to move faster because you are reacting through cultivated habit, not repeatedly making a choice.
IDEA GENERATION = READINESS + CONTAINERS
Ideas flow at times convenient for them, not you: while you are driving, showering or running errands; and immediately upon awakening from sleep.
Be ready with containers for the flood: notebooks, voice recorders or mobile digital devices.
The more ideas you generate and document, the more you can execute on. This means finished projects and products to your target market faster.
ACCUMULATION + BATCHING = ↑ VOLUME AND TEXTURE OF IDEAS
Formula 5 batch writing, in its simplest form, is accumulated ideas over time in a unit of 5.
Accumulated ideas eventually presented as a singular, completed writing project is no different than managing multiple projects to completion at a traditional job:
You work on a project for a time then put it aside at a natural stopping point or because you’ve reached a stated milestone on the road to completion.
While that project “bakes,” you turn your energies to another which may not relate to the first.
You advance this second project to its next milestone then pick up projects three and four.
Ideas from the fourth project may spark an idea to add to project two.
If so, you place that newly-formed idea in project two’s organizing container where you are accumulating ideas for later evaluation and possible development.
WORKING MEMORY + BATCHING = WHAT WE KNOW + WHAT WE’VE STORED AND CAN RETAIN LONG ENOUGH TO ↑ THE PRODUCTION AND QUALITY OF 5 RELATED WRITING PROJECTS.
Computers can batch thousands of jobs. By contrast, there’s a limit to the human brain’s ability to consciously manage a large volume of ideas consciously.
That limit is called “working memory.” It’s the ability to take stored, conscious information and readily retrieve it in ways that allow us to satisfy a current goal.
MRI research studies show the brain’s capacity for working memory to be, on average, 5.
Attempts to batch-write more than 5 projects in succession is to work against the brain’s limits and court divided focus and reduced output.
↑ SIMILARITY OF TOPICS + GENRES + WRITING STAGES =
↑ BATCH ADVANCEMENT AND ↓ TIME.
This is foundational to Formula 5
Work with 5 writing projects that are as similar in content, genre and writing stage as possible. Think of the batch as one project with 5 related sections.
Batch similar ideas and genres (research papers, books, blogs, social media content).
Advance all projects in the batch of 5 at the same stage of writing: Idea generation, development, research and editing.
These strategies allow you to take advantage of the limits of working memory in service of your productivity.
FREQUENT TOUCHES X MULTIPLE VERSIONS = ↑ IN MATURE IDEAS WITH ↓ IN ENERGY EXPENDITURE
Advance batches by creating multiple versions of each project.
Rather than attempt to perfect a single project with each working session, touch projects in each batch frequently and cyclically. This allows for the “bake time” – objectivity and maturation – that quality writing requires.
This strategy will maximize your ability to refine each version of your ideas over time without taxing the limits of the brain’s conscious resources.
↑ MILESTONES = ↑ WRITING + PRODUCTION QUALITY
Achieving stated milestones is your most valuable productivity metric for each writing session. Not pages or word count.
Is the milestone for a batch of projects to analyze and flesh research? Line edit before sending to peer review? Tighten sections filled with clunky prose?
The value of your writing productivity is based on the best execution of ideas in any given day, not the number of hours you work or words you type.
HI, I’M GINA GREENLEE
And I’m the author of 17 books and counting. Through deliberate practice of research underlying the neuroscience of productivity, I’ve increased the rate at which I write and publish books exponentially since 2012: from one book every three years, then annually and now three books a year and counting.
I’m naturally curious and ideas are my favorite toys. Experimenting, making discoveries, then grappling with their clear expression on the page to share with others is the primary reason I get up in the morning.
After years of being overwhelmed and frustrated by the inability to execute productively on a continual flood of ideas, in 2017 I developed Formula 5: The strategic, efficient – and most important – fun and sustainable system for faster, easier execution of written ideas.
Though individual execution will never be as fast as idea generation, research shows we can rewire our brains to close the gap considerably. Whether you write books, songs, business proposals, research papers or social media content, the Formula 5 system for accumulating and expressing ideas will do for your writing productivity what elite coaching does for high-performing athletes, entrepreneurs and business executives whose achievements dominate today’s headlines.
Have fun experimenting with Formula 5. And look for the book Formula 5: Brain Science Your Way to Batch System Writing which is available on Amazon now!