Batching is grouping tasks or patients into groups so all can be “processed” at once. It is something we do all the time; we gather items for a single task together to do the task more efficiently.

How many of us have a pile of notes waiting for new patient letters and how many of our clinics have a basket of new referrals waiting for the screening/ allocation meeting?

The up side is that it can feel more efficient, in terms of task time per task, to group these things together. However it may lead to tasks being deferred until you have “time” to do all the letters and it may add an unacceptable delay to the first set of notes you put in the pile.

Batching is inefficient; aim to ‘do today’s work today’. Unless there are clear efficiency gains without quality losses we should generally only “touch a piece of paper once” and so if it needs doing, do it now!

Tip: when you are really busy will a full in-tray don't spend ages ordering the tasks. Just screen for urgency and simply start at the top. I have a friend who turns the tray over and starts at the bottom (then she cant see the item which stops her avoiding it). Finish each one.