As a project manager, you are usually not just managing one project at a time, but several at one time. As much as focusing on one thing at a time and completing the task is better than battling ten things and taking twenty times longer it brings to though how you allocate your time.
Multitasking Questions That Come to Mind:
- How you can keep each project separate?
- How do I keep track of each project and make sure they continue to move in the right direction to meet the end goal of the project?
Multitasking becomes a survival technique for project managers to cope with the flood of information that comes your way, as life becomes more complex with many more things needed our attention.
Short-Term Focus on Projects:
I find it is best focus on small goals on each project, as the big goal will arrive before you know it. This helps the whole team to focus on achieving the short term goals and helps minimize multitasking.
- Breakdown the Project into Smaller Milestones: Instead of spending several months putting together a business case for a project, breakdown the project into milestones like: put together the costs, benefits, risk analysis, then resource plan.
- Breakdown Your Day into Project Segments: If you have ten things to do in a day, block out a half an hour for each, or however each might take. I tend to block out time for my several projects on my calendar over the course of the week, as I know some projects need a few hours of my attention, while others just need 30 minutes a week. Don’t just do a bit on something, drop it do something else, and then pick up the first thing again.
Long-Term Focus on Projects:
Although, it may seem contradictory to the Short-Term Focus section, a project manager needs to have long-term focus also. It is good to also take time to reflect on the vision of your projects and see what is down the road.
- Don’t spend too Much Time Focused on the Future: The main tip is to not get bogged down in the detail of what’s down the road, unless there is a good reason to dig that deep.
- Look at Project Dependencies: Is there something that needs to be done on your project that takes a lot of time, that you should start now, rather than later. For example, government regulatory approval or other approvals that might be internal or external and months to complete.
As project managers, we are asked to digest more inputs each day. Keep in mind it is important to try and limit multitasking while managing your projects. This can be best done by reducing the flood of work that can be assigned to an individual. It is important to give your team clear tasks with priorities and deadlines.