Man and woman in office collaborating on project by using sticky notes on a screen

Managing multiple projects in project management

November 5, 2018

It’s far from uncommon for a project manager to be given the duty of managing numerous tasks and responsibilities at once, leaving them to wonder just how to balance multiple projects. Many find themselves attacking whatever the “emergency” of the day is while they fall behind on key aspects and tasks in other projects and areas. Managing multiple projects in project management is a challenge that requires you to manage tasks, resources, and your own time over the course of several projects’ life spans. Thankfully, there are strategies, mindsets, and tools that can help you accomplish this with organization and success.

Strategies for managing multiple projects

To stay organized while managing multiple projects in project management, you certainly could use the help of a reliable software solution like Quickbase. But before you get to this point, adopt some helpful attitudes, habits, and perspectives to set yourself on the right track. People who manage many projects have to have superb time-management skills and the ability to keep a cool and level head. Here are a few tips and strategies for managing multiple projects:

  • Maintain a positive attitude. Don’t get too wrapped up in the idea that you have too much to do and not enough time to get it done. This mindset can be a trap that will make your fears become a reality. Think about your work in pieces rather than as a giant whole to help keep yourself from getting intimidated by the challenge of how to juggle multiple projects. This will help you set realistic goals and develop a healthy motivation to accomplish things that feel doable.
  • Have a plan. Strategy and problem-solving are the path to success. Breaking down a mountain into sizable treks brings travelers to the top. Project planning is a must, but it’s even more crucial when you have multiple projects to work on.
  • Learn to manage up effectively. It’s important to understand how to effectively communicate with your managers. Make your manager aware of your progress. Ask questions, but make sure they’re well-thought-out ones. You want to show your manager that you are resourceful and independent while not shying away from asking the questions that matter.
  • Learn to say no. While juggling many projects and tasks, the urge to please and be helpful may be strong, but ultimately, it’s not always a wise decision. Don’t be tempted to say yes to last-minute requests. If you say no, do feel free to provide an alternative solution.
  • Know your limits. Overdoing it will actually lead to less productivity. Know how long it takes you to accomplish tasks, how much focus each needs, and in what situations you feel most productive. Don’t overextend yourself; focus on being your most productive self.
  • Maintain focus. When you’re working on a specific task, try to give it your full attention. If you allow yourself to be interrupted by other projects or tasks, it will actually take longer to accomplish everything overall. Limit the number of times you check email or visit distracting websites.
  • Set daily goals and complete something each day. Daily goals will get you to the finish line. Choose one task or item to complete each day, and make sure you don’t quit for the day without completing it. That’s the best way to keep up momentum.

How do you prioritize multiple projects?

Once you’ve put yourself in the right mindset for managing multiple projects, it’s time to attack the challenge of how to balance multiple projects and tasks by prioritizing. With limited time and resources in a given day, project managers are called upon to prioritize what must be worked on first. It may sound like an easy task until it’s time to make hard choices. The following steps can help you get your project priorities in order:

  • Separate business and personal projects: Prioritizing business projects over personal projects might seem like a given, but personal projects do tend to sneak in throughout the day. Add them at the end of the to-do list, and only work on them once other tasks are completed.
  • Recognize the difference between urgent and important tasks: There are clear differences between urgent and important projects. An urgent project is often time-sensitive, and in many cases, other tasks are dependent on its completion. Focus on these projects first.
  • Consider the results: Sometimes, to prioritize a project, you must consider its projected benefits for your enterprise. A project with a higher financial reward will outweigh a project with a minimal reward. But even when this is the case, you must consider how much longer the more lucrative project will take to complete.
  • Prioritize projects by deadline: This one is self-explanatory. Labeling each task or project with the projected deadline can help you easily see which projects are urgent, important, or neither and plan accordingly.
  • Request feedback: You don’t have to prioritize projects by yourself. You can ask for feedback from team members and management as you create a list of priorities. Meeting with your team to plan activities for the day, week, month, or year can give you a better sense of the overall timetable and which parts should go where in that plan.
  • Stay flexible: While planning and prioritizing are helpful and essential, you need to maintain flexibility, too. The priorities of one day might be very different from the priorities of the next. When things go amiss or new needs arise, project managers must rise to the occasion and adjust their plans to reallocate resources.

Common mistakes

These skills can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes encountered while trying to balance multiple projects. Learning to properly prioritize will help you avoid some of the most common traps in project management, such as:

  • Conflicting priorities
  • Failure to track dependencies
  • Loss of critical resources
  • Allocating resources incorrectly
  • Setting unrealistic deadlines
  • Failure to update or reassess baseline plans

Tools for managing multiple projects

Now that you’re armed with the right strategies, consider how technology can provide you with the tools for managing multiple projects and help you better prioritize to meet your goals. Our low-code platform can help you create applications that will best organize your projects and match your exact workflow, all in one central place that your teammates can contribute to. We offer solutions for:

  • Workflow automation
  • Collaboration
  • Dashboards and reporting
  • Integrations

Professionals in a variety of industries rely on Quickbase for their custom app-building needs. Our powerful no-code platform is highly accessible and can adapt quickly as your business and processes change.

A personalized app can help you break a project into tasks that are organized by priority and assigned to chosen team members. Process managers everywhere have used custom applications built using Quickbase to keep their projects organized and hold themselves and their team accountable. For those who appreciate the power of organization and planning, the benefits of Quickbase are immense. You’ll be able to see your work laid out for you as a big picture and broken down into the smaller moving parts. Start a free trial today to see for yourself how Quickbase can help you improve your project management process. Contact us today to learn more about our no-code software. Our staff would be happy to point you in the right direction.