Forum Topic: Tips for managing multiple projects?

Does anyone have a system they particularly like, or just some general tips they've picked up along the way, for managing a to-do list for multiple projects? I've tried keeping it all in one running list, but it's a pain to reference the project in every to-do and link dependent to-do's within the same project. So then I tried a separate to-do list for each project in my planner, but that makes it hard to judge how much overall project work I have at any given time. Argh! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Part of Friday review process....

Currently I do not have many complicated projects, but have in the past. What I did then was make it a part of my Friday review process (within a GTD context)... I would review each project and make a consolidated list of what needed to be done the next week. I would make a circle in the complete box, which was a clue to me that it was on my week list. Frequently I would merely write the project name and task # on the weekly task list rather than re-writing the task.

Sometimes this process would uncover that I had way too much to do in the next week and would also determine what could be delayed a week and began damage control before I was overwhealmed and disappointed people.

Weekly reviews are, to me, the key for staying on task and completing projects on time.

The Passionate Pilgrim
-- Excellence through Simplicity

Context and prioritzing

I *always* have multiple projects with multiple steps going on at once. I maintain one big to-do list on a single page, with each task assigned to a project. Some of the bigger projects have sub-projects within, and the tasks are assigned accordingly. Its layout is much like an outline.

The "biggest" project, or the one that needs the most attention is listed first, and then the ones of lesser priority or with a longer timeline/horizon are listed later. This list is re-done every Monday so that I have a good view of the week ahead of me (I try not to think about work on the weekends). Goals that have been completed because of the tasks done the prior week are listed on my goal card so that I can remind my boss not to fire me at appraisal time.

Jenn

Migraines of a thousand

Migraines of a thousand projects. I’d love to know an easy way to manage all the projects too; actually, I do, hire out a lot of them with lottery winnings.The bane is the weekly review, as Passionate Pilgrim says, “the key for staying on task and completing projects on time”. I think it doesn’t matter what system you use, it’s only as good as your weekly review. That part falls short for me and so not everything goes along as it should.

The ‘gtd’ concept of spitting everything out in alphabetical order appealed to me, as one who becomes immobilized by trying to decide prioritizes. A mind map program was used as I am very motivated by colours, and after many versions, a frighteningly long list of Projects appeared. Under each, I set out the “next actions”, then printed off each project to a page.

Taking from those Projects, I created a summary mind map page of core areas to work on over the next three months, with notations of the projects I was most concerned about. That ended up as,

First Concerns: Mary’s present, Letters, Spring Bills, E’s Business Cards, &tc.
Second Concerns: Bathroom & Kitchen, Address Book, Sell, Balcony Work
Fun Things: Wade, Stamps, Sewing
Heavy Guilt Things: Dad’s Photo Album, Bathroom & Kitchen, Family Archives
I call that the Working Projects Page.

I moved the Project Pages for those items to the front of the notebook and just put in alphabetical order. Now, the Planning Notebook has these sections:

Working Projects Summary Page; tab
Working Projects Pages; tab
Alphabetical List of All Projects; tab
A-Z of Projects Pages (other than the Working Plan Pages).

Since all the “next actions” were done during the original mind mapping stage at the beginning, it is now set to go. This notebook is a letter size circa which is incredibly handy for moving pages around, and the pages big enough to write any kind of notes I need. On a daily or weekly basis I can pull out “next actions” from the Working Projects Pages and write them somewhere else, such as a smaller notebook I use, or just work from the main planner.

Weekly review really is key to keep it going, and then I look through the entire a-z also and make notes on anything I have done on those projects or other notes or revisions. Every so often I update the entire Plan on the main mind map and print off updated everything or just what needs updating.

Hard as ice is staying on track. I find myself constantly doing things that are not in the plan …

Don’t know if this any help to you, but there you go, one way I am currently trying to get things gone with a hundred projects.