Have you ever found yourself in the situation were you are working on several different projects at the same time and you also have a lot of other tasks that need your attention? I have experienced this quite a few times and found some techniques that still enables me to work efficient in these periods.
In this post I will share my most important techniques I use to cope with this.
First of all do not focus on how much work you have to do in a limited time. This will only set your mind in a panic like situation were you are worrying more about the work that needs to be done than actual doing it. It is no need to stress, relax and focus on the one task your are working on at the moment. It is not the end of the world if you don’t have time to do all your tasks.
Plan your day
It is important to plan your day to limit the task switching throughout the day. Before you start your day you should make a plan and try to stick to it. If you are working on project A and a person from project B starts asking you questions it fully accepted to tell him that you are currently working on something else and that he can come back when you have scheduled to work on project B. I prefer to plan my next day before I leave work. I find it easier then when everything is fresh in mind. Sometimes I like to plan my day so I start with my priority one tasks first but sometimes I make the plan based on what kind of tasks it is. I find it more efficient to do the hardest and most challenging tasks before noon.
When you are working on multiple projects and tasks it even more important than usual to be structured. Take notes and write a TODO list, I promise you that if you don’t do this things will be forgotten. I use easy standard tools as Outlook calendar, Outlook tasks and OneNote to write notes for the different projects, tasks and meetings.
Don’t accept all tasks or meeting invitations you get if you already know that you a work load way over your head. It is a very good thing to know your limits and just say that you have no chance to have it done or go to the meeting. If it is very important then you need to discuss and prioritize if you could replace it with some of the tasks you already have.
If you see that you will not be able to have all your tasks done by the deadline you can consider putting in some extra hours. I could be a well worth sacrifice to spend a rainy Sunday working to get your work load down to a more comfortable level.
It exists a lot of techniques for this but these are the one I find most useful. The good thing with the techniques mentioned above is that they are very easy to follow and to use. So…take a deep breath, plan your day and start working