It would be lovely if we only ever got one project at a time during our work hours, wouldn’t it? However, this is not the reality within a company. Between constant emails, deadlines, the multiple projects we are handed, and managing the tools we need to use to complete said projects, it can be a struggle to get anything done at all. This is where knowing how to prioritize multiple tasks on multiple projects shines the brightest. Learning how to balance priorities is a key to managing multiple projects on the go.
Multitasking is not managing multiple projects
A lot of employees and employers confuse the concept of managing priorities within multiple projects and multitasking. This is wrong. Multitasking hurts your productivity and simply cannot be done. It has been proven over and over that our brains cannot multitask. Our brains are not designed to give attention to two tasks simultaneously. When we try, we are way more likely to miss things and make foolish mistakes. The first step to managing multiple projects is to work on one thing at once.
Planning is everything
The most important skill to develop for managing several projects is planning. “Project planning will help you figure out your timeline for your projects and the appropriate deadlines associated with each project” explains Charlene Vidaurri, a project manager at Writinity and Last Minute Writing. When you know what each project needs, what tasks are associated with them, and when they will all need to be completed, then you can accurately prioritize which project needs working on when. It also helps decide which team is working on which project if you are lucky enough to have several teams at your disposal.
The next skill to hone is prioritization. Once you have planned and estimated the amount of time it will take you to complete each task, then you can set your top priorities. It’s important to recognize high and low priority tasks and understand which ones need to be worked first. Asking your managers or project leaders which tasks you should be focusing on helps here. If you are the person in charge, making a list of the five or six highest priorities for the day is a good idea to stay on track with your projects.
Use the right tools for the job
If you are managing multiple projects, there are plenty of tools and software out there to help do just this. Using these tools can be a lifesaver. Project management software like Flowlu takes a lot of the manual labor out of managing your schedule and your tasks. The software has calendaring tools and can schedule tasks and subtasks, as well as increase transparency into how other team members are performing, which is helpful for getting your projects done on time.
Senior management is responsible for setting priorities
If you are not in a management position, then it is important to realize that when your boss sets a priority, then that is what you work on, even if you disagree. This way you are afforded protection against any consequences if the project deadlines aren’t met. Also, be prepared to have the priorities shift or change, as your manager might get new information from a client that affects the original priorities that were set.
Learn when to say ‘no’
If you are managing several tasks on a few projects, sometimes you cannot drop what you are doing to help someone else. “Knowing when to say no to helping others is an essential for managing multiple projects,” says Opal Cox, a business writer at DraftBeyond and Researchpapersuk. It’s ok to say that you are working on a high priority task and you can’t stop at that moment.
Communication is everything. You can never over-communicate. Be clear, direct, ask for what is needed, and communicate what is important, especially if there are multiple projects involved and you will be able to head off most of your problems before they become problems.
Project management with multiple projects can be daunting at first. However, with these things in mind, you will find managing multiple projects a lot less stressful.
About the author: Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments London and Gumessays.com. She has been involved in many projects all over the country. When she is not taking care of her two children, she likes to travel, read, and attend business training courses.