The Cons of Batch Processing

The Cons of Batch Processing
This post was previously published. It has been updated.

Recently I looked at the pros of batching, where you lump activities that require the same tools together to do at the same time. Today I will look at the disadvantages of batching.

#1: Tedium

Batching activities can create tedium. Sure, you may have 500 entries to put into your bookkeeping program. But doing them in one sitting is going to be tedious and mind-numbing. While activities that require no thought or effort can give us a nice break from the more intense ones, lumping them altogether may be a recipe for brain sleep.

#2: Exhaustion

Batching can create exhaustion. A prime example: holiday baking. I create six to seven varieties of cookies and candies at the holiday time. Batching them together means 12 hours in the kitchen, an aching back, and the grumpies. Spreading it out over several weeks makes it fun, and leaves me with energy left over.

#3: Not Everything Can Be Batched

Work may not be batch-able. There are some things that may not lend themselves to batching. Waiting to wash all pets when they are dirty may leave you with a very filthy dog running around the house.

Likewise, most of the bigger projects that I tackle are not batch-able; blog administration, lawn work, craft projects are all in this category.

#4: You Can Ignore Things

Batching means you ignore things. While this can be good, batching is working from an assumption that you have a backlog of items sitting there. However, if you are completely caught up at work, isn’t is silly to ignore an incoming email only for the reason that you only process email at set times?

#5: Overrides the 2-Minute Rule

Batching negates the 2 minutes rule. I like David Allen’s 2 minute rule, because it encourages me not to pile items to deal with later. But if I put things in a pile to batch process them, wait, haven’t I just violated the rule? Hmmm…

I believe that batching, like most other productivity tools, can be used effectively for certain things. But it is not a one-size-fits-all solution to getting things done.


  1. Hi Laura, I love batching but going back and forth between different batches so I don’t get bored. I’ve always liked working on multiple projects at once and going back and forth. Is that not good for productivity?

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