‘You can’t keep it all in your head. Project control tools are an absolute necessity for the control of large projects.’ – Louis Fried
With so many different tasks to think about and keep your eye on, it certainly helps to get things down on paper in order to visualise what needs to be done.
The first thing you should do is prioritise, which basically means you’ll get the most important things done. So at least you are working on the right things at the right time. Make a list so your tasks are more clearly defined.
The next step is to set time boundaries, as this allows you to track your process and work towards the tasks.
Tasks also tend to take longer than you think! It is common to add a time cushion, say about 20%. Give it a go – it definitely helps you remain on top of things.
Something that we use quite extensively at work is Kanban. One of the most useful methods to manage projects is the creation of a Kanban board. It contains three sections: Backlog, in progress and complete.
All of your tasks start in the Backlog category. When you start working on a task, you move it to the in-progress column. Then when it's finished, you move it to the Completed column. The board can be customised - you can even add other columns for things like "stuck" or "need help."
The key benefit of a Kanban Board is it provides transparency to team members and your manager.
Showing your work plan to someone else can prove to be quite useful in terms of getting feedback and support. A colleague or manager might have useful insights into how to deal with multiple projects.
One last thing – inconsequential as it sounds – is that social media and emails can be very distracting when trying to get things done – so turn them off for a bit to help you focus on your projects.
And here’s one last dash of inspiration for you:
'Project management is … The art of creating the illusion that any outcome is the result of a series of predetermined, deliberate acts when, in fact, it was dumb luck.’ – Harold Kerzner.