How to Handle Multiple Projects with Deadlines


“Think. Think. Think. What to do? What to do?” ~ Winnie the Pooh

Decisions overwhelmed me Saturday morning. My next two weeks looked impossible to manage.

I had four projects to focus on in the next four days. Two had deadlines. These projects had seven tasks. Because I’d be driving places, I could also stop at four more places since I’d be in the area. That made eleven tasks in four days.

After that, I had 10 days to work on nine more projects. Again, at least five dates factored into my possible plans. These were bigger jobs involving more time to complete.

Some tasks had to happen in order. Some had several details to do first.

As Pooh asks, “What to do? What to do?”

How to Handle Multiple Projects with Deadlines

I didn’t know what to do. I’ve tried so many solutions in the past that didn’t quite work for me. My business-analyst husband came to the rescue with a simple spreadsheet for making decisions. If you’re in a similar situation, this idea may work for you, too.

By the way, I didn’t write everything I’m doing in this decision chart. I have a to-do list process to keep track of these. I made an exception for errands. I thought it was helpful to include these because of the parts of town I’d be in.

The Free Spreadsheet to Help You Handle Multiple Projects with Deadlines

Here’s my Google spreadsheet to help you to plan out the steps for your complex concerns. Contact me if you’d like an Excel version.

I’m on day five. I’m very pleased with how this spreadsheet helped me decide on what needed to happen on which day. If I completed any effort, I marked it red. I decided not to do two (crossed out) and missed one. I met the deadlines for the first four days.

Getting Started with What to Do . . . What to Do . . .

Here are the easy steps for you to get started.

List your project names in column A. Put dates in row 1.

Start writing your details across different dates, matching them to the main activity in column A. You’ll shuffle the tasks, of course, until your plan looks doable. It was easy to shift some of these tasks when my plans changed even on Day Two.

Now I’m heading into my next ten days. I have three major things to do that I’ll fit everything else around. Two I’d like to do because of the timing and opportunity. One I have to do for our insurance company. (I wish they could wait another week, but they can’t.) All three have deadlines.

Because I can (and not because I have to):

  1. I’m trying to mail most of our Christmas gifts by the end of next week before holiday shipping rates start.
  2. I have an opportunity to clear out a lot of things to give to the Cru Xchange (a free garage sale).

These are two big-enough intentions on their own.  We’ll see how it goes. I’ll be happy with whatever progress I make.

A Variation on This Decision Chart

I came up with a variation on the decision chart as I thought about Christmas. Again, it’s a multiple project decision chart with several deadlines. Names are in the first column and general time frames are in row one.

Here are the different scenarios to factor in:

  • Our Virginia family will be in Florida for Thanksgiving. I will give them our granddaughter’s November birthday presents and a few Christmas gifts to take home. (Their car will be full.)
  • Son Number Two and his family live in Orlando, so I don’t need to do any wrapping yet. No shipping is needed.
  • Our daughter and her family in Minnesota probably won’t join us this year. I want to mail all their things by October 1st.
  • I’m giving our California family homemade calendars. I could mail their gifts after shipping rates are normal on December 27th. If I run out of time in the next ten days, this option works.

What Will You Do?

I’ve written my blog post for you and marked it off as done (red).

I hope these ideas help you manage your planned activities with deadlines.

And then there’s our friend, Pooh Bear. (I don’t think he’s interested.)

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

NOTES:

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