How to Organize Multiple Projects

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If you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you need to accomplish, don't panic. You're not alone! Nearly every working adult--and, of course, those who work by managing a household!--has more on his or her plate than is possible to handle all at once. But it's possible to prioritize and get the things done that are really important and relax knowing everything else can be tackled later. Here are a few tips on how to organize multiple projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Calendar
  • Online or handheld scheduling tool of your choice

Review and Regroup

  • Do a brain dump. Take a block of time--preferably at least an hour--with a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Without judging or editing your thoughts, write down every single to-do or project that's floating around in your mind. It could be something that must be done immediately, something you would like to accomplish someday, or something on a so-called "bucket list."

  • Organize all the data into relevant projects. Look at your list and organize the individual items into groups. For your "someday" ideas, put them all on a "someday" list in a folder, either physical or on your computer. For everything else, group similar tasks that are part of the same general project.

  • Break each project down into individual steps. For each project, create a folder, either physical or on your computer or handheld device. For each project, take the tasks you've already thought of and fill in the gaps of small, actionable steps you need to complete to consider the project complete. Put all those tasks in order.

  • Schedule the time-sensitive tasks into your calendar. Some of the individual tasks you've decided upon in the previous step must be done on certain days. Add those to your calendar and set a reminder for the day or week before if you think it's necessary.

  • Assign each individual task within a project a priority and a context. You may choose to prioritize certain projects and work on the most important ones whenever you have some time, or organize them into context. For instance, if you have some time at home, you may work on one of the steps of a project that can be done at home. If you're near a phone, you may choose to work on steps that involve making phone calls. As you complete the tasks, check it off in your project folder and analyze how it's moving you closer to getting that project done.

  • Revisit your project lists regularly and repeat all the steps as necessary. Once a week, review all the project lists or folders and see where you are in each one. Do another brain dump to help relieve your stress, and organize these new thoughts, ideas, and potential projects into your system.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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