Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Juggle ... Projects

Be glad I'm not tasked with teaching you to juggle balls, dear readers, ... not even in the tawdry interpretation.

On Sunday, Jeffe the Queen of Spreadsheets posted her very insightful Top 5.

On Monday, James gave us great examples of how to prioritize and renegotiate deadlines.

Today, I'm all about making a manwich with my fellow Whores, so here are my Top 5 Tips for Juggling Projects:

  1. Prioritize: Rank your To-Do List. 
    1. P0 = Absolutely Has To Be Done Or People/Animals Will Die. 
    2. P1 = Should Be Done To Maintain My Happiness. 
    3. P2 = Should Be Done To Achieve Personal Growth.
    4. P3 = Should Be Done To Maintain Others' Happiness/My Reputation.
    5. P4 = Doesn't Have To Happen, But Would Be Nice To Please Me. 
    6. P5 = Doesn't Have To Happen, But Would Be Nice To Please Others. 
    7. For some reason, this very necessary step is what trips up most folks. While I can write a novella on the topic, suffice it to say the root of success is knowing what is truly most important to you. We are talking about your life, not just the day job or the writing gig. That means no one else gets to define what is important to you except  you.
  2. Manage Expectations: Yours and Others. You have your prioritized list. Odds are high that you're unable to do everything on it in the time allotted. Have a conversation with the others affected by your goals and tasks. Stay rational. Don't become emotional. Do not allow the words "you should" or "you must"  to pass your lips. Those are incendiary terms that will bite you in the ass.
  3. Negotiate Deadlines: Don't be afraid to take control of your personal schedule. You know the times required and available (if you aren't sure, see Jeffe's Point #4 from Sunday). If you have dependency on someone (say an editor or a CP) and their deliverable dates change, you have the right to renegotiate your deadline. It's the old "a failure on your part does not equate to an emergency on mine." It is one thing to be cooperative and a "team-player." It is something else to be an ulcer-riddled doormat.
  4. Commit To The Task: This is about the faffing (thanks, Jean, for my new favorite word!) and diddling away time. Whatever your favorite distraction, remove yourself from it. Get your brain in the game and Do What You Said You Would Do.
  5. Say No: Just because someone asks or demands something of you does not mean you have to agree to it. 

There you are, beloved readers, my Top 5 Tips for Juggling Projects. Did/do you have a juggling challenge? What step(s) have you taken to overcome it?


  1. I love your ranking system. I should get disciplined about applying it to my To Do List. Instead I tend to do the "easy" tasks, for the pleasure of taking them off my list. Which means the complicated/annoying tasks linger on there, lurking with menacing glowers, moving from day to day and accreting more weight with every delay.

    1. Curse those menacing glowers! Watch out for the fetid hot breath as those annoying tasks pile up around you. ;)

  2. Great little to-do list but I have to admit I'm with Jeffe on my task selection, though I tend to break it up. I do 2-3 'little' things giving me the feeling of accomplishment and then get on to at least one of P0, P1, P2 -- then get back to the little things for comfort! Must try harder though ;)

    1. Isn't that what they always say, Nikola? "It's the little things that count." :D

    2. There's nothing to say "little things" can't be/aren't high priority. I've more than a few P1s that are smalls tasks ...some even result in huge impacts. :D

  3. I sense a circus theme building here this week LOL. So glad you liked the term faffing!