Many project managers are juggling 5-7 major projects simultaneously. A great percentage of time is wasted going from point A to P back to B and then to Z. Our team members are equally torn between priorities - trying to keep all of the balls moving forward slightly each day. When done to excess, multitasking can increase your error rate and cause you to lose time, especially as the complexity of the tasks increases.
When you have a flexibility to work as you want to, it is ideal to take your Project A number 1, and plan to work on it solely from start to finish. It is a novel idea in our society - to do one thing at a time. And it is extremely powerful.
Even focusing on just one large project, say for example juggling a huge corporate event with hundreds of attendees and a staff that is taking direction from you, can require enough of it's own multi-tasking. But then to be forced to shift your attention to multiple other projects at the same time can make our performance drop significantly as we naturally fight with project and stakeholder confusion, lack of adequate time, slowed communications, and many other problems.
If reducing your project multi-tasking is not possible, here are a few affirmations that you can tell yourself that will help put you into the right project mindset while you are working on one of many.
- Tell yourself, the work I am doing is sacred and deserves my complete and total attention for this short while. Tell yourself that there is nothing in the world more important than what you are doing at this very moment.
- If the thoughts of all the other things you have to get done clutter your thoughts, give yourself 5 minutes to write them down with the commitment that after this is done, you will return your FULL attention to the task at hand for a period of time prior to going back to the list you just made.