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Advice for Managing Multiple Projects

written by: RobinRaven • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/30/2011

A great project manager is a skilled multi-tasker. However, when it comes to multiple projects that all require your attention, staying focused can be a challenge. This balancing act can be made simpler if you keep a few things in mind.

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    Listing your Way to Sanity

    When it comes to a heavy load of projects, lists are invaluable. However, there are levels of lists in this aspect of project management. For instance, you want to first list all the projects out by hand (or on a word document). From that list of projects, assign deadlines to yourself (or write the deadlines given to you). If you are writing the deadlines given to you, it's usually a good idea to set the deadlines up by a couple of days. Being done ahead of deadline can help you look even better and more professional when it comes to project completion responsibility.

    Looking at the completed list with deadlines, number them from 1 to the last number of projects you have. The number one project should be the one that's due first. This is your first aspect of prioritizing. From there, you want to consider the projects from most to least important. The most important project gets a 1 down to the least important. Each of the #1 projects are ones that you must commit to working on each and every day. Look at the remaining projects to decide how you want to divide your work hours.

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    Delegating

    Managing Multiple Projects To be as effective as possible, know when to delegate. You are given so many projects because you're trusted to do an effective job with a lot of work and responsibility resting on your shoulders. Trust yourself as much as those in charge trust you. Know that you are a good judge of knowing when to ask for help. One should never be afraid of asking for help. It's not asking other's to do your job. It's asking others to do their jobs; they are working on the project alongside you. All hands on deck should be striving towards the greater good of the project. Whether it's help with setting up a meeting or the completion of a challenging task or even a menial task that you don't want to waste your time on, ask for help each and every time you need it. Multiple projects are impossible to handle if you do it alone.

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    Developing Your Own Method

    Every project manager needs to know his limits. While this is established through trial and error, try to see what methods work best for you. Perhaps doing it all yourself in an efficient manner is a more productive use of your time and energy than delegating tasks, then pulling your hair our when they're done wrong. While delegating tasks is important, each project manager has a different way of splitting up project work. Maybe you're someone who likes to take on lots of projects, then mostly do them one at a time. That will be impossible to do in the pure sense of the sentence, but you may be able to do something in the neighborhood of that. A focus on one project at a time for five hours a day is probably realistic, even if you're managing multiple projects. You simply have to switch up days that you focus on which project.

    For the most part, you probably want to save your favorite parts of work on the project for last. Having an aspect of the project to look forward to--and knowing the project is nearing its completion when you get there--can really lighten your load and attitude.