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Multitasking 101: 20 Strategies to Handle Multiple Projects at Work

10 Mins read

From relying on outside help to using an impact matrix, here are 20 answers to the questions, “Can you share your best strategies for handling multiple projects and how others can implement them to become a master multitasker?”

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are extremely helpful because they can take on tasks that I don’t have time for, or would rather not spend my time doing. Having a virtual assistant can greatly reduce my level of stress and allow me to focus on more important aspects of my many projects. 

Anyone wanting to master multitasking can benefit from implementing this strategy in their scheduling system by having a virtual assistant assigned to tackle various tasks when life gets hectic. Having a virtual assistant is not just about freeing up your schedule, it’s also about empowering yourself, creating space in your life to think things through, and giving yourself the respect you deserve!

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Switch Tasks, Not Focus

I try not to switch back and forth too quickly. I may switch to answer a quick question or make a small change, but I set time or goals for each project before moving back and forth. I may work on a project for 30 minutes or until I get to a good stopping point and then switch to another that needs work. 

This enables me to switch gears without stress and also provides enough variety to prevent me from getting bored or procrastinating. I can also stop to take calls or have a quick meeting, but those stops are usually part of the overall daily plan. Having a daily plan with your end goals in mind is the most important thing when you multitask.

Baruch Labunski, CEO, Rank Secure

Know the Difference Between Urgency vs. Importance

As a CEO and small-business expert, the strategy that will save you from multitasking overwhelm is drawing a clear line between what is urgent and what is important. 

Sometimes, what is important becomes urgent, and what is urgent becomes important, but knowing in advance can help you divide your time accordingly. Something urgent needs to be done but perhaps doesn’t have to be perfect. While something important could need more precision, time, and effort, you can chip away at it more gradually.

I find this helps me divide up my day and prioritize multiple projects at once by mapping out important projects step by step in smaller time blocks, while urgent tasks can be approached in more of a short-term binge.

Gates Little, President & CEO, altLINE Sobanco

Manage Digital Kanban Boards like Trello

I am a big fan of Trello. I’ve always been a list-maker, and Trello provides a way to make digital lists. Each board is a separate list that consists of cards that you can input your projects on. The cards can be moved from one board to the next, so you can easily see where each project stands at a glance. 

You can also create checklists within the card so that you and your team know which items need to be completed before moving or archiving the card. Trello also allows you to tag other users so everyone is notified of tasks that involve them. I find Trello to be much simpler than other project management tools, and it’s still just as effective.

Michael Green, Co-Founder, Winona

Use a Ticketing System to Track Emails

One of the challenges I face when working on multiple projects is the high volume of email communications. Project management platforms help, but many clients can be in the habit of using more traditional methods of communication. 

One of the systems I implement is the use of ticketing systems like Zendesk. The idea is that any email communications are set to generate a ticket in the system. The tickets then remain open until the email thread is closed out. This reduces the number of items that fall through the cracks by tracking messages on the back end, without a major impact on the email experience that people want on the front end.

Dennis Consorte, Digital Marketing & Leadership Consultant for Startups, Snackable Solutions

Leverage an Eisenhower Matrix for Improved Efficiency

The Eisenhower Matrix dramatically helps with your time management when handling multiple projects. It is a decision-making technique that enables you to separate important and urgent business tasks from those that are not. 

It divides your workload into four sections and lets you evaluate which ones must be done, scheduled, delegated, or decluttered. Many people have challenges recognizing which tasks to do first, especially if there are too many workloads to accomplish. 

Incorporating the Eisenhower Matrix into your work routine allows you to prioritize your duties, making you more productive and efficient. This also lets you strategically finish projects without compromising deadlines and output quality.

Allan Stolc, Founder, Bankly.dk

Create Workflow Segments

One of the biggest drawbacks to multitasking is mental switching costs. Every time we switch tasks, it creates a “boot up time” to reorient to the new problem set. So, how do I solve this? 

I segment all work into different categories first. For example, all “sales” work gets labeled as such and physically organized by color and descriptor. All “interviews” similarly go in one bucket. I like waterfall agile project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Basecamp for this purpose, but even color-coordinated Chrome browser tabs can have a similar effect. 

Then, I plan my day (as best I can) based on these lines of effort. For example, Monday morning might be blocked off for “sales” activities and Monday afternoon for “interviews.” This way, I can lower my mental switching costs, while also getting the compounding benefits of focused work.

Ewen Finser, CEO, The Digital Merchant

House All Your Projects in One Place

I like handling multiple projects at once by storing them in a project management tool. This gives me a better overview of tasks so I can organize them based on priorities. For example, if I’m managing a product roadmap for several product launches, I’ll add each task to my project management software while detailing the number of launches and any side notes. 

So if you’re struggling to become a multitasker, house your tasks in a project management tool. This gives you a bird’s-eye view of everything, allowing you to complete projects efficiently.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money

Don’t Waste Too Much Time Perfecting Each Task

As someone who juggles multiple health-writing projects at once, I’ve found that the best way to stay productive is by stepping out of my comfort zone and switching between tasks as necessary. 

Don’t try to meticulously perfect one task before moving on to the next; this can consume a lot of time and energy. Instead, set reasonable, achievable goals for each project and take regular breaks whenever it all becomes too much. This process can be hard for some people to adapt to, but with a bit of practice, anyone can become a master multitasker.

Rosmy Barrios, Director, Health Reporter

Eat Your Frogs First

As a small-business owner, you always have multiple projects on the go, and it can be difficult to balance tasks when everything seems equally urgent and important. So, my strategy is to do my least favorite thing first. Whatever task is the most annoying, boring, or time-consuming will be what I tackle first while my energy is high and my motivation is steady. 

After that, I feel so accomplished that the rest of the tasks seem doable and even easy! It’s a snowball effect that helps projects gain momentum, rather than falter at the finish line because I’m burnt out from procrastination.

Andrew Gonzales, President, BusinessLoans.com

Implement Project Autonomy

Multiple projects can be hectic; however, if you manage to become a master multitasker and are able to productively cater to each project, it will increase company efficiency by many folds. The trick here is to limit the delay time between getting information and implementing it. 

The best way to do this is through implementing project autonomy, where each team that is leading a project is self-accountable for that project’s completion. This reduces micro-management and the need to cross-check every detail and run it by the management, as well as the time it takes for approval for said changes to be granted and implemented. 

Through project autonomy, each team is able to operate independently and without restriction, which allows multiple teams to be operating in a self-governing environment, where they tackle a project in their own way. The trick is for the upper management to collectively gauge each team and guide and offer them support without impeding their project autonomy.

Alan Carr, Director, Webpop Design

Know What Is Flexible

The best way to attain multitasking is by knowing the flexibility of the tasks. Some projects and deadlines are farther away than others, and you should capitalize on that. Try to know the category of the project so you can work on it accordingly. 

Postpone the projects that do not require urgent care or attention so you can focus on other projects better. They can have a detailed list of the projects they are working on. They can even have software that does it for them. Knowing the flexibility of the deadlines is important to becoming a multitasker.

Spencer Reese, CEO, Military Money Manual

Keep One Another Accountable

I am a multitasker, and I have found that one of the most effective strategies for handling multiple projects is to keep each other accountable. Having a team, or even someone outside the team, to help me stay organized, track progress, and review checkpoints can help immensely when trying to accomplish different tasks at once. 

Without the accountability piece, I find myself more often forgetting about tasks or letting them slip behind my other projects due to competing priorities. To become a master multitasker, I’d suggest using this strategy with others and checking back in regularly, as it will keep you on top of all your ongoing projects.

Derek Bruce, Sr. Director, Skills Training Group

Avoid Distractions

One of the easiest ways to get behind when managing multiple projects is through distractions. Whether it be from email notifications or individuals dropping by the office, distractions can cost you valuable time. In order to limit distractions, I set aside focused time. 

Setting blocks of time in which automatic notifications respond to emails, alerting others when I will be available and able to respond to their email, reduces the temptation of needing to answer every email as it arrives. I also close my office door and put a sign that says “Focus Time” to alert others that I am working. This reduces the temptation to stop just to chat. By scheduling these blocks of time, I am able to handle multiple projects at once.

Mary Kay Bitton, Head of Product Innovation, FLO Vitamins

Build a Brain 2.0

Multitasking usually means overloading our brains with unnecessary information. Before you know it, things fall through the cracks and the ball-juggling act falls apart. To master multitasking and to live an anxiety-free life, make every single thing living in your brain tangible. 

Have a virtual brain to help you thrive. Write down everything that’s stored in your brain. It can be a simple set of Post-it notes or productivity software like Notion. Any phone call you are supposed to make, write it down. There is an email you are supposed to send, set a task. Nothing should solely occupy your brain. 

This system needs to be so well optimized that a future you with amnesia can pick up without thinking twice. It’s not just productivity tools. You can use browser extensions if needed. Don’t force anything as you will be the one who will use it regularly. The idea here is to build a Brain 2.0 that works for you. Once you have complete control over situations, juggling work gets easier.

Andreas Grant, Founder, Networks Hardware

Block Out Your Time 

Block off a time slot for each project or client for you to work on, so you can productively divide your day to manage multiple projects. The time-blocking technique uses a successive approach to multitasking, which allows you to set a schedule for one task to focus on, and then another, and then another. 

This ensures more quality and efficient work rather than juggling everything all at once, which is more prone to errors, sloppiness, and high stress. Essentially, this technique compels you to set aside time and energy to devote to one task at a time before moving on to the next.

Garrett Smith, Head of Local SEO, GMB Gorilla

Master Delegation

You can’t do everything by yourself, so you have to trust your team and their skills. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities helps everyone stay accountable. It also ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done and how each individual can contribute towards the project’s success. 

As a team leader, try to provide your team with as much autonomy as possible in order to speed up production without sacrificing quality. This way, they don’t have to wait for approvals or clarifications before taking action—every decision-maker is empowered to make their own decisions regarding their tasks quickly and efficiently.

Gary Gray, CFO, CouponChief.com

Prioritize Your Tasks Based on Urgency and Importance

If you want to become a master multitasker, I advise that you get organized. Create systems and processes for yourself to better manage multiple projects at once. I personally prioritize my tasks based on urgency and importance as one of my go-to strategies when it comes to handling multiple projects simultaneously. 

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, this strategy helps me recognize which tasks need my attention right away, which ones can wait, and which ones are not worth my time. By doing so, it allows me to make calculated decisions that reduce stress and give me clarity over what needs to be done first. With practice and dedication, you too can become an expert multitasker! So don’t waste any more time—start getting organized today! Good luck!

Jose Gomez, CTO & Founder, Evinex

Break Down Your Projects into Smaller Tasks

By breaking down big projects into small and manageable chunks, you can focus on completing each task one at a time. This way, you don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged when feeling like there’s too much to do. 

Additionally, make sure to set deadlines for yourself so that you stay on track and motivated. When it comes to managing multiple tasks simultaneously, organization is key! Take some time upfront to plan out what needs to be done for each project and create a timeline for yourself that outlines which tasks need to be completed first as well as their due dates. That way, you know exactly what needs to be done and when. 

Finally, it’s important to stay flexible in your approach. Things don’t always go as planned, so it’s important to be able to adjust accordingly when needed. If a task takes longer than expected or if other things come up in the meantime, make sure to take that into account and give yourself ample time for each task.

Ai Hiura, CMO & Co-Founder, Faverie

Follow an Urgency / Impact Matrix

When working on multiple projects and multiple tasks within each one, prioritization can become subjective. To clarify my priorities and create a more actionable to-do list, I allocate each task/project into one of four categories: 

  1. HU/HI (High Urgency/High Impact) Example: Project – Website Migration (Primary Objective for Q1) Task – Fix redirection error on website. 
  2. HU/LI (High Urgency/Low Impact) Example: Project – Review of Brand Identity (Minor Objective for Q1) Task – Meet with CEO to review current brand guidelines. 
  3. LU/HI (Low Urgency/High Impact) Example: Project – Conversion Rate Optimisation (Primary Objective for Q2) Task – Analyze website user journey. 
  4. LU/LI (Low Urgency/Low Impact) Example: Project – PPC Audit (To be reviewed later this year) Task – Check-in with PPC consultant. 

By using the method above, what initially felt like a lot of spinning plates, is now a step-by-step to-do list with justification.

Joe Cowman, Head of SEO, FATJOE

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Terkel, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.

Multitasking stock image by Marko Aliaksandr/Shutterstock

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