In the fast paced business environment, it is more than likely that you will be expected to take on more than one task at any one time. To continually succeed in your job you will be made to manage multiple projects and will need to make sure that they are successful. Many senior psychologists believe that multi-tasking is a myth and that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously as was previously portrayed to us.
In reality the brain switches between tasks very quickly, each time we switch between different tasks there is a stop start process that takes place in the brain. The start stop is hard on our brains because rather than saving time, it makes us less efficient and prone to more mistakes and this can give us less energy throughout the day.
It can be hard to work on projects that are tedious and do not interest you so it is important to practice to work on them first. Priorities need to be assigned to all your projects which include a detailed plan in writing. If you get stuck between projects you can transition to another project, this can reduce your easy projects queue. When you are assigning multiple tasks to people you need to communicate deadlines and make sure they are allowed to complete in the time allocated.
Here are our top five tips to help you manage any project:
When you are juggling your multiple tasks, you need to have a “can do” attitude and to not get involved in the downwards spiral of thinking how many projects need to be completed. You need to look at your workload and bunch together all the tasks that are linked to each other. You will need to sometimes collaborate with other colleagues on projects so you need to present how you envision accomplishing the project and getting feedback from your team members. A meeting also brings the group together and helps you discuss how to finish the tasks.
Creating a plan will get you to focus on problem solving and helps your brain out with the worry and defeat that has been occupied with. An effective plan can make a 1000 foot mountain into a reasonable mole hill. Planning can also estimate the effort a project might take even if you have an overlapping project. The plan will also identify urgent and important tasks that need to be completed first. You can get project planning tools such as Liquid Planner and Asana that will help you stay one step ahead to prioritise all the projects you have to complete.
Sometimes it is easy to say yes and accept a project even though you are juggling your fair share of plates but you sometimes need to be a “no” person. It is common office behaviour to want to please your manager and look like the can do person but there is always a point where you need to draw the line. When your manager swings by to hand you a last minute task you will need to speak to them and show them your list of priorities and see which one they want you to replace instead of the new task, this will give you project management skills.
Multi project management can be easier said than done but when you are looking at your project try to focus on one project at a time. As your mind is on many different tasks you need to try to be disciplined and concentrate on the task at hand. This focusing exercise takes practice and it will get easier over time. If you are ever worried that you may forget the brilliant thought then make sure you right it down. You also need to switch your emails off and not be tempted to visit random distracting websites.
You need to make sure you complete something every day even though most projects are completed; project jugglers never get a sense of completion. You can make sure that you do not mark a project complete unless it is actually off your desk.
London training for excellence offers a course called managing multiple projects across the world, management project skills can help you manage multiple projects and help you track your progress. Find out how to build your project management skills with LondonTFE.