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Managing Projects Successfully

November 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Call it the curse of the hyper-productive person, but trying to do too much with your time can almost be as bad as trying to do too little. That is because, no matter how well you are using them, you only have so many hours and minutes to spend each day.

That realization leads us to an interesting question: How many projects can you successfully balance at once?

Obviously, there is not a set answer to this question. For most people, however, it is probably around four or five major projects, depending on how complex each one is. Any more than that, and you probably need to either prioritize your goals, or talk with a supervisor about your workload.

For time management considerations, here are a couple of tips for doing each:

When prioritizing. Figuring out which of your goals is most important to you can take a lot of work and self-reflection. Begin by trying to figure out which tasks are most important to your current job performance, and what you most need to do to take the next step in your career. Once you have clearly identified a few issues in those areas, it should be easy to spot some things that can (or should) be attempted later after you have finished other items first.

When meeting with supervisors. Know beforehand that this can be trickier than setting your own priorities. You do not want to sound like you are complaining about your job, especially when the economy is tough and companies are looking for ways to cut back. With that in mind, make sure to provide some details when explaining to managers that you may have too many projects on your plate. Keep the time log and show them how you currently spend your day, the number of open projects and priorities that are currently your responsibility, and what your future time commitments look like.

If you have more than one manager or supervisor, it might make sense to bring them together into one meeting. That way, you can point out that you could be more efficient and effective if you were more focused on a smaller number of priorities and let them focus on what those should be.

Figuring out how many projects and priorities you can successfully manage is not always straightforward. If you are feeling overextended and have more than four or five major items to deal with, however, it might be time to make some new priorities.

Once you have settled on which are the most important projects, you need to then focus on the steps to take in managing each project.

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Tags: Office Productivity · Planning

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