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How to Manage Multiple Projects at the Same Time

The 3 P's of Multitasking: How to Manage Multiple Projects

You'll get a million tips on how to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines, but we all know that only the person who's actually in the situation knows how difficult it is. Nonetheless, we have a few points that may help you.
Workspirited Staff
Last Updated: Oct 25, 2018
Multitasking
Multitasking has become the need of the day. Gone are the days when you could dedicate your entire time and energy to one thing at a time. Today, even everyday tasks like daily chores, a job, kids' doctor appointments, etc. have turned into projects that need deadlines to be completed in.
In such a world, it becomes rather difficult to balance many tasks at the same time. It doesn't matter if they're all only work related, family related, even hobby related or a combination of more than one. We have to cram in everything and we are at a loss about how. Well, here is a suggested outline that you might be interested in.
Prioritize
You've heard this over and over again, but yet you don't follow it. It is really the simplest and probably the only way you'll be able to manage more than one project at a time. Before even starting them, you need to chart out, priority-wise, which is the most important and which is the least important, and arrange them in descending order.
time
The level of priority may differ from person to person. The two main criteria, though, for any project, are the time of submission or delivery and the importance of the project itself. Time of completion is something that is already stated. The importance and time taken to actually complete it is something that you will be have some estimate about.
So, arrange them in this order:
  • Projects which have the closest deadline and will take long to complete
  • Projects with a close deadline but won't take long to complete
  • Projects with a reasonable deadline, but will take long to complete
  • Projects with a reasonable deadline and won't take long to complete
Once you do this, you can easily move on to the next step.
Plan
After you have made a chart of which projects need to be submitted when, first count the number of hours, days, months, or years you have to complete each of them. It's not possible that all the projects will be assigned to you at once.
So, every time you get a new project, you need to make a note of it on the chart and do the following. Count the number of days to the deadline. Then, you need to make some calculations and come up with the amount of time you think you will take to complete the project.
Deadline Concept of overworked man
This period has to be lesser than the actual deadline period. This will give you some grace period in case you don't meet your own personal deadline. There are two ways you can go about this planning.
  • You can either dedicate sometime daily for every project. The ones that need to be completed earlier can have more time dedicated until they reach their final stages.
  • Once they reach their final stage, the others will have reached their core stage. So you can balance out the time that you give to each one. When the time allotted for one is up, put it down and switch to the other.
Business Man Working
  • Another way of doing it is to focus only on one project at a time. This way, your entire concentration is on one project and you're less likely to get confused and mixed up.
  • When you're almost done with the one which has the first deadline, you can start the next. However, with this method, you're at a high risk of not meeting the deadlines, because unforeseen changes may stop you from completing even a single one.
Be reasonable with your deadlines. Don't push yourself, but don't be too lazy either. In case of new additions, you need to make a new per day timetable. Once you've fixed this deadline, you can proceed to the next step.
Perform
After you've made a solid plan of how much time you're going to allot to each project, you need to get your hands dirty and do the actual work. If it's just supervision, you need to make sure that all the tasks are assigned properly to the workforce. Make all the deadlines known to them.
You may not want to tell them about that little grace period that you've kept aside. What they don't know won't hurt them. It will come handy if they do not complete the project on time. If they do, well, they deserve a pat on their back. If they don't, you can give them the extra grace period and ensure that the project is indeed completed in time.
If you're part of the workforce, then you'll get the details of what you need to do in what particular area from your superiors. Again, if you have multiple projects, all you have to do is follow the points given here.
The only way to handle more than one project and deliver it before or on its deadline is to stick to your action plan very stringently. To make yourself feel better, you can include some time for relaxing and luxury within the timetable. In fact, you must do it. Use that time only to relax yourself.
When you get back to work, you'll start with a fresh mind and will be able to focus well. You might think that it's all very easy to say, but hard to do in real life. But isn't that why you're reading this in the first place? So, make a plan, stick to it and see how smoothly you handle all the projects that come your way.