Managing multiple projects or jobs at once can be overwhelming. Whether you are in school and juggling multiple classes, or working multiple jobs, the amount of work required can become stressful if you do not manage your time well.
Some classes require a crucial amount of work during a semester. Others need two or more jobs to make ends meet or could be entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. Regardless of the work you are doing, managing multiple projects at once can easily cause burnout. Developing and personalizing a schedule to fit your time while also maintaining a healthy mindset takes practice and adjustments that will help ease pressure in the long term.
Here are some tips to effectively manage multiple projects more efficiently.
1. Your agenda is your holy grail
If you haven’t already, it is time to invest in a detailed agenda. You should carry it around everywhere like it is your personal journal. Having an agenda that lays out your everyday duties, hobbies, and priorities each week will help you manage your time properly and keep you from becoming overwhelmed or forgetting tasks. It is important to update it every day to easily adapt to any new tasks given and adjust your schedule accordingly.
If you do not like using agendas or often forget to update them, you could use other options such as a calendar, sticky notes, and your phone. This way, it will be easier to remember important information because it becomes very difficult for our brains to function well under high-stress levels. Using an agenda or having a to-do list will also help track your progress better and ensure efficiency.
2. Plan ahead
Planning ahead will help you stay on top of all your projects. Before starting work or school, Monday morning or Sunday night, think ahead of all the deadlines you have coming up. This is where your agenda comes into play. This way, you will know everything you must do to have a successful upcoming week and will not be surprised by any late work.
Planning will allow you to prioritize the essential tasks first. Getting a head start on that stressful big project will guarantee enough time to get the work done successfully. For those of us who struggle with procrastinating and leaving things until the last minute, prioritizing the heavy loads of work will ensure a more successful and healthier work process.
3. Create a safe space
Whether you work from home or in an office, your environment plays a big role in your ability to focus. Ensure that you are working in a quiet place with limited distractions. Placing your phone and computer on ‘do not disturb’ while working could be an efficient method to limit yourself from the endless distractions of social media or conversing with others.
When working from home, it is beneficial to form a “workspace” where you can sit and perform your tasks. Doing such will help differentiate your professional life from your home environment. Having a separate workspace, rather than working from your bed, will help you become more organized and productive – all of which are key when managing multiple projects at once.
4. Finding time for breaks
Your mental health is very important. Therefore, finding time for yourself or going out is essential. Although juggling multiple jobs or projects at once can be time-consuming, it is important to find time to relax in order to prevent burnout.
A study from Cornell University found that taking breaks, anywhere between 5 to 60 minutes, will help refresh your brain and body by increasing your energy levels, productivity, and ability to focus later. Taking a few minute breaks every few hours or simply going out on the weekend can help regenerate your mind and body.
5. Know your limits
Just how taking time to yourself is important to your mental health, knowing your limits is too. Know when too much work is too much. Although not everyone has the luxury to change their jobs or the amount of work they undertake, it is important to evaluate your performance and know how it affects you physically and mentally in your everyday life.
One way to prevent burnout from excessive amounts of work is by putting your work materials away after a certain time. This way you will have time to enjoy your personal life and work more efficiently during your working hours.
Whether at school or work, managing multiple projects at once requires consistent focus. While there might not be as much time to go out and have fun, having a strong schedule and committing to it could help. You might need to schedule your friends in for a night out in the city, and although it can become frustrating to fit your loved ones in for time, it will help ease your schedule and ensure there is enough time to prioritize work and life.