FAQ of the Month
I have a lot of projects on my plate, and I'm getting overwhelmed. Can you suggest strategies for coping?
Sometimes having more projects can be a good thing: the chance to develop new skills, take on more responsibility, perhaps work on teams with new people. And yet, especially during an unusual time such as this, it’s easy to lose focus and feel stressed when juggling multiple projects. Try these 4 things if you’re experiencing a bit of MPP (multiple-project paralysis):
Understand the big picture. Which project(s) are most important as you objectively weigh all relevant factors (deadlines, stakeholders, etc.)?
Break things down. After ranking your projects by order of importance, break them down into lists of smaller, less intimidating tasks.
Know thyself. When do you have the most energy in a given day? When do you feel most creative? Use that time to focus on vital aspects of a project, and resist the urge to multitask (spoiler alert: it actually makes you less productive!)
Set expectations. You’re only one person, and if you have multiple projects, it may mean that others -- colleagues, fellow students -- need to be patient as you work down your list. You can help them by setting expectations in advance, e.g., “I have another project ahead of yours; here’s when I should be able to get back to you. I’ll let you know right away if I need to adjust my timeline.”