With a new semester to look forward to, one of my biggest productivity-related challenges have been getting to grips with juggling multiple projects at the same time. I thought it may be useful to share what I’ve learnt so far, and the strategies I’m planning on using to ensure things stay well under control, so that those of you are who dealing with the same may find it handy.
Attempting to take classes, write freelance, and handle a ton of extra-curricular tasks on the side is not a straightforward task. Before getting into the work aspect of any of this, I want to stress how important it is to avoid burnout, and the only way to ensure this is to create pockets of down-time where you can totally unplug from your world of work. Different people do this in different ways. As much as I love marathoning Friends as the next person, it is also important to know that some time away from screens will make a world of difference in your levels of productivity once you return to it. Maybe grab a meal with a few friends, or go out for a walk: you’ll find yourself a lot more recharged by the change of scene than you realise.
Different kinds of work demand different parts of our brain, so I like to categorise my tasks according to the type of project I’m working on, and what it requires of me. Our brain is also likely to get fatigued if we keep doing the same kind of task over and over again, so what I’ve found best is working in a kind of cycle - if I’ve been writing for the past hour, I may switch over to reading for a little bit, or I might choose to do miscellaneous admin work (the overflowing inbox hits the best of us) if I want to rest my brain without feeling the guilt that comes with being unproductive.
Organization is another massive part of ensuring you’re successfully managing multiple projects. I like to use both a planner and calendar so I have both a visual idea of what the next couple of months will look like, as well as a day-to-day idea of what the week ahead holds. They may seem insanely simple, but keeping track of all your meetings and events you want to attend actually takes some getting used to: once you get the hang of it though, you’ll be surprised by what a difference it makes to your productivity.
For all those of you taking on new projects/ new jobs this year, I hope some of this helps!
If you hear the track from Friends coming from my way, know that I am in the process of self–care, not procrastinating.