5 Tips on How to Manage Multiple Projects (while also having a life)

Right now I'm working on three-ish writing projects. Not including this blog, which is already super time-consuming. So if we count this, that's FOUR PROJECTS. WHOA.

How do I deal with so much writing on my plate at the same time? Well, first off a) I'm a ninja and we can handle these things, b) sour patch induced energy, and c) I scream a lot and type a lot of really awful words. SOMEHOW ALL THREE OF THESE THINGS COME TOGETHER, and leave me with time to manage my writing and actually have a life at some point along the way.

But for real- how do you manage multiple writing projects at the same time without having a mental breakdown?

Okay, I'm willing to concede that this MIGHT JUST BE MY OPINION. (but basically all I do on my blog is spout opinions so this probably isn't news for you guys) Goal setting might not work for everyone. 

But, as far as my personal method goes, I'M VERY GOAL-DRIVEN. So setting goals is incredibly motivating for me. It's an easy, practical thing you can do to try and force yourself to write. My phrase for this is adopting a NaNo mindset. Because we're all pretty good at setting/achieving goals during NaNo- but how good are we at doing that when it's not July or April or November? Setting goals that you can achieve on a consistent, day-to-day basis will yield more words than you'd think. 

The key is not setting your goals ridiculously high... but not setting them ridiculously low either. Because you want to stretch yourself, but you don't want to find yourself getting burnt out or losing interest in your project because it's just TOO EASY. 

THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER. I only discovered this method recently?? Listen closely, guys: The secret is a dry erase calendar. 

So what you do is you take all your projects into account, and you plan out what you're going to do in each project for each day. If it's just a word count, then just write the number of words you'd like to write on your calendar, using different colors for each project. 

And if you realize something isn't going to work for you, or if something comes up, (this is the best part) JUST ERASE YOUR PLAN FOR THAT DAY. AND IT'S GONE. FOR GOOD. No messy pen marks!!! You just rewrite it on a different day when you think you'll have more time. If you're a perfectionist then you can thank me later. xD

Also, the calendar is fabulous for keeping track of how many you wrote each day. Right beneath your word count goal, just write how many words you managed to write that day, and BOOM. You can see at a glance how often you're completing your schedule, and how often you're not, and then you can adjust accordingly. :D


The main idea here is making sure you don't get too caught up in one project that you lose sight of what you're doing in your other projects. THIS SPELLS DISASTER. (don't ask me how I know that) Because you'll get so absorbed in the project you like, that before long, you've forgotten to work on your other projects in... way too long. 

Also, it's important to evaluate which of your projects are the ones you need to spend the most time on, and the ones that can wait. Then, you can set goals and schedule your writing around that. :D 


Three steps here: 

1) Learn that when you get on your computer to write, that means YOU. ARE. GOING. TO. WRITE. PERIOD. And for goodness' sake, stop using your writing time for Pinterest. xD

2) Do what you set out to do- if you got on your computer to work on that one novel you need to edit, but find yourself working on your first draft instead, then CEASE AND DESIST. And do what you're supposed to be doing!! 

3) Figure out what distracts you, and GET RID OF IT. Pinterest notifs keep drawing your attention?? (yes picking on Pinterest is my thing, in case you were wondering) TURN THEM OFF. Can't stop checking your Twitter feed? TURN OFF THE WIFI. 


In the end, a big part of it is JUST DOING THE THING. You've made goals. You've made a schedule that you know is going to work for you. You've got everything prioritized and you're doing a fairly good job of staying focused. 

NOW GO WRITE ALL THE THINGS.


~ Jonathan 

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57 comments:

  1. So helpful. Thank you so much, Jonathan. :) I don't know how you do it - but you always speak to exactly what I need right now for my writing. Thanks :)
    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. NO THANK YOU. :D You comments are always so awesome and inspiring to me haha. Super glad this applied to you though!

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  2. a few things on this post :

    1. another typo
    2. boy you're an ESTP (cuz i know and understand these feelings so much)
    3. goals are goals
    4. why did you not show us a picture of your amazing dry erase board

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    1. 1. oh my word please no not that again TELL ME WHAT IS
      2. #greatmindsthinkalike obviously
      3. true they are
      4. well I did take a pic but the calendar is right next to my window and I can't take it down (it's complicated) and so it reflected the light really weird

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    2. 1. okay hint - it's in your SET GOALS area
      2. #duhobviously
      3. *nods*
      4. oh okay well that's annoying too bad

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    3. 1. which paragraph because I can't find it
      2. #yup
      3. *nods also*
      4. yeah I knoooow. it doesn't have screws it has like weird sticker things so if I pull it off the wall then... it won't go back on. sigh. xD

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    4. 1. second (and is worried you think this is how the world is supposed to be written)
      2. #iknowit
      3. *keeps nodding*
      4. ooooohh those things - which also cost money. Yup keep them on the wall

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    5. 1. ugghhh of course the longest paragraph (did you mean "word" there? JULIA RYAN YOU JUST MADE A TYPO)
      2. #sodoi
      3. all this nodding can't be healthy
      4. yeaaahhh those. *nods* exactly. even though it was only like five dollars (#walmart)

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    6. 1. yup hahahaa and its like RIGHT THERE - starts with a "N" (omw yes i did *dies laughing* WHATEVER)
      2. #gladyoudo
      3. *keeps nodding anyways*
      4. yup yup. but DUDE five dollars can buy a shirt!

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    7. 1. This conversation is entertaining
      2. Jsyk Jonathan, Julia is still my favorite blogger (#cuzshehaschocolate)
      3. JULIA IS RIGHT. $5 CAN BUY A SHIRT.
      4. <- Just putting that there because the rest of this conversation has been in 4s.

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    8. @Julia
      1. OH OKAY I FOUND IT *rushes to fix it* (haha seeee #youmaketypostoo)
      2. #same
      3. fine then but if your neck is sore later don't say I didn't warn you xD
      4. okay but I have plenty of shirts GOOD GRACIOUS WHY WOULD I WANT MORE

      @Eliza
      1. hehe thanks I guess? xP
      2. HEY. #RUDE (um I have sour patch though... and chocolate)
      3. see above
      4. same

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    9. @Everyone
      1. Yay you fixed it.
      2. *Shrugs* Yeah. #apparentlygreatmindsarealsoreallystrange
      3. *refuses to nod because doesn't want a neck ache*
      4. Yep, plenty of shirts. XD

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    10. 1. Hehe yup. *whispers* It was November xD
      2. #true
      3. good plan :D
      4. SAAAME

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  3. I try to stick to one project at a time but the dry erase board is a cool idea!

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    1. IT'S MY FAVORITE THING EVER. The only problem is I'm like really protective of it because my siblings will come in and draw on it and I'm like 'WHOA NO TOUCHING' XD

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    2. Haha that's how it'd probably be with me xD

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  4. I've been binging blog posts for the past hour, and this is literally the most helpful one that I've read. Now I really just want to go and nail down all of my projects. XD Thanks for this, Jonathan!

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    1. Binging blog posts??? HOPEFULLY NOT WHILE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING. XD Glad you found this helpful though!!

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  5. This was basically the most timely post ever. I literally was just trying to figure out how I'm going to juggle ALL THE THINGS, because now that NaNo is over I don't have an excuse for not posting. And I also must write, and probably life. Life-ing is good xD.

    ANYWAYS. This was epic and I LOVE the calendar idea. I need to break out my dry erase board (which I haven't used in forever) and do the thing. Thanks for this epic post!

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. YES TRUE YOU DON'T. And I will track you down and make you post because your blog is fantastic, mwahaha. xD But yes, having a life at some point is always a good thing. *nods sagely*

      YES YOU SHOULD TRY IT. It's sooo easy to use and really helpful. (honestly I'm like promoting my own idea all over the comments section but IT'S FOR YOU GUYS'S OWN GOOD SO XD)

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  6. JONATHAN YES YOU DID THE POST. (And I've seen this glorious calendar and want one)
    I'm working on three projects..... Writing, writing, and rewriting ugh. I really need to prioritize xD

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    1. YES I KNOW. #FINALLY (you have learned well because it is the best thing *nods* xD)
      Ugh I know isn't rewriting the woooorrrsssttt

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  7. dude okay the dry erase board pleases my perfectionists soul greatly so plz try and get us a pic xD I've used Excel for what I've written, but never to set goals.

    I've done non nano months and yep, I'm a total goal person too. Often if I'm still writing a book after nano I set a goal of 1k a day, and if I don't reach it, then I don't try and make it up. it's worked for me anyways XD

    great post! (and the typo is uh, kinda obvious jsyk xD)

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    1. YES I KNOW THANK YOU. XD (it pleases mine also *nods*) yes okay maybe I'll peek into the hangout and shoot you a pic

      ooh that's actually... a really good idea? I've never thought of that but after NaNo it's easy for me to have like "POST NANO SYNDROME" where you can either keep cranking out 4k words a day (but they're all horrible) or you can't touch your novel because you're so tired. xD

      thanks! (well APPARENTLY NOT because no one would notice these things if JU DIDN'T ANNOUNCE THEM TO THE WORLD XD but I fixed it hehe)

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  8. *applauds this post* I'm one of those crazy organizer people, so I love it when other people say how good organizing is! XD

    But #1...what was that you said about not setting ridiculously high goals? *laughs nervously* I think I missed it.

    (and everyone keeps mentioning a typo in this post, but I didn't catch it. So either you fixed it or I'm a terrible proofreader XP)

    audrey caylin

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    1. *bows* xD SAAAAME. I'm super organized normally. (or at least I attempt to be)

      Hmm?? Oh pfftt no I didn't say anything about ridiculously high goals. Nope. You're totally safe. xP

      (OKAY SEE THIS PROVES MY POINT IT OBVIOUSLY WASN'T /THAT/ OBVIOUS)

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  9. Bravo! I'm a perfectionist, and it's later, so thank you. ;)

    I seriously need to go buy me a dry erase calendar now.

    And yes, goals are the best!! Thanks! My guess is that you already have more than enough people to be in a cabin with come July NaNo, but if you have an open slot . . . ;)

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    1. THANK YOU. XD And no problem lol!

      Yes go do it- like I said, only 5 bucks at Walmart. :P

      YES I KNOW THEY TOTALLY ARE. *high fives* I'm actually not doing my own cabin this year?? Because one of my friends already invited me to her cabin (like, legit the day after April NaNo ended xP)

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  10. THIS ACTUALLY DESCRIBES MY LIFE !!

    very, very, very sadly. I like constantly have 100000 things to do and yet I never do. I AM REALLY CONSIDERING TURNING WIFI OFF. It's so distracting, y'know? I think I'm an expert at starting projects but never finishing them. AND I'M A CRAZY PROCRASTINATOR. Ha. Not a good mix.

    *wails for ten years*

    BUT THIS POST IS VERY TIMELY

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    1. OKAY SO FOLLOW THE TIPS, THEY CAN'T GO WRONG. (actually they might only work for me but it can't hurt to try right?? xD)

      YES YOU SHOULD DO THAT. Wifi is sooo distracting ugh. But it's also pretty great so it's like a love/hate thing.

      Okay you should definitely try NaNo then!!! (if you haven't already) I think that's a SUPER great way to get committed to a project. *nods*

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  11. SCHEDULES ARE THE BEST. Dude your dry erase calendar has been /epic/. Like...WHY DON'T MORE PEOPLE DO THIS. It's saved my sanity. EVERYONE GO GET A DRY ERASE CALENDAR AND DO THIS THING. I PROMISE IT'S AS GOOD AS JON SAYS. XD

    Also goooals are the. best. ever. I love goals. And deadlines. BASICALLY THIS WHOLE POST IS #WRITINGGOALS

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    1. YES THEY ARE. Oh my word see everyone reading this- CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL RIGHT HERE. XD But seriously- it really does work!!!

      Saaaaame. I'm super goal-driven. Deadlines are good also but to a lesser extent because #stress. xD WELL THANK YOU. :D

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  12. I love this!!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!
    I have been dealing with this problem recently. I mean, it's so hard to write AND live at the same time. It's even harder in May. IT'S SO BUSY!!!! I'm finishing school, my sister and I have a b-day, and events at my church, and they're all so TIME CONSUMING!!!!!! O-o

    *Flails*

    Ahem. Thanx so much, again. I really need to get my schedule FIXED. lol

    Oh, by the way.... This is gonna sound so stupidly stupid, but are you working on a book right now? *blushes* I know you WRITE, because come on, this post is about your WRITING schedule, but I don't really know what.... lol

    I'm writing a book, by the way. lol x|

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    1. Glad you liked it! :D
      THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. That's awesome that you're graduating though! And having a birthday, and doing church stuff... but YES I FEEL YOUR PAIN. It's hard to fit writing in between all that. xD

      TRY THE CALENDAR. It's super helpful. *nods*

      LOL no that doesn't sound stupid at all! And yes, I am currently working on another book. (I've written 2 first drafts and am editing one of them.) IT'S TOP SECRET- I'VE ONLY TOLD ONE OR TWO PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF MY FAMILY ABOUT IT XD But yes I am SUUPPEERR excited about it because it's turning out really well so far. *nods*

      cool! what genre is it? :D

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    2. Thank you! (I'm NOT - haha - GRADUATING. At least, not THAT kind of graduating. lol I'm just finishing the school year. Wait. I AM graduating from a grade, but just not high school or anything. Yet.)

      I'd like to think that I'm an organized person, but when it comes to SCHEDULING...... *whispers*.... I'm a really un-organized person..... *flails*

      'Tis QUITE. I'm starting to use it more. lol. I mean, they're ALWAYS there waiting on the wall!!! lol

      Good.... *sigh or relief* Oh, COOL! I WISH YOU ALL THE BESTEST OF LUCK!!!

      I know!! *squeals* Um..... It seems like normal nonfiction at the beginning, but LATER..... *cackles* It gets CRAZY fantasy! xD

      So yeah, I'm super excited for my book. I'm currently in the first draft (I just started and I'm a SUPER SLOW writer...). I LOVE the plot, and HAHA - SPOILER ALERT - it involves...... Never mind *zips lips* Let' just say it involves one of my favorite fictional characters... WELLLL..... Actually, his son. :D xD *cackles*

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    3. OH okay you mean you're just finishing up school for the year, gotcha. xD Well that's still cool! I do school through the summer haha.

      LOL well just find a method that works for you, maybe? Because I could neveeerr do a planner or bullet journal or anything but the calendar works for me. *nods*

      THANK YOU. I'm going to need it for this novel because it's gonna be interesting haha.

      OOHHH okay well that sounds pretty cool! Even though you literally told me... NOTHING. XD I must here more about this soon hehe.

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    4. Yeah! lol. Awww!!!! *frowns sympathetically* You poor dear. xD

      Yeah. lol. I've been working on it, and it's going GREAT. :D I'm definitely going to be able to write more during the summer, so.... YAY!

      I'm excited to read your book!!!!! *flails*

      It is cool. *beams proudly* lol I can't wait to write more and reveal some INTERESTING things. :D I'll hand out a few things. It involves:
      1) Blue Morphos (look it up :D)
      2) Ships, boats, oceans....
      3) Weird people
      4) Possible dragons *squeals*
      5) Kidnappers

      That's all I'm saying, but it felt SO GOOD to get that out there! :D

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  13. *reads this the day after you publish it and there's already a bazillion comments*
    OK SCHEDULES YES I LOVE SCHEDULES AND I TRY TO GET MY WRITING BUDDIES TO DO THEM BUT NOPE.
    Also I feel u I have to write quickly bc I have to take snippets to OYAN with me WHICH IS SOON.

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    1. SAME. *high fives* YOU AND I CAN SCHEDULE EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE TO MAKE UP FOR IT XD
      Ooh yes no pressure good luck on that! :D

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    2. Are you still planning on going to SW?

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    3. Noooo D: I feel really bad though because I said I was and then it changed. I'll tag you when I post the status about it.

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  14. Ahhh! I needed this! Especially since this month is CRAZY. And I'm like, "Well, I have to do this, this, and this. Oh, and that life thing has to fit in there somewhere. *pauses* Excuse me while I curl up into a ball and cry." But seriously, this is sooo helpful, because honestly, I'm starting to feel kinda overwhelmed.

    Goals and schedules are totally my thing. That's like, what I do. A dry erase board actually helps? I should probably get one.

    Thank you so so so much for this post, Jonathan! :D

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    1. SAAAME. Seriously though, try some of these things! They might help you out. *nods*

      *high fives* Awesome! AND YES OMW GET A DRY ERASE BOARD. If you like to schedule then you will loooove it. :D

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  15. I saw the post title in my feed and was like AGHGJDSKFLAHKSDJF I NEED THIS. DESPERATELY.

    Prioritize -- that's very important. Thank you for this post! *fist bumps*

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    1. ASDFLDSKJLKJ YOU'RE TOO NICE. XD Glad you liked it though! :D

      YES IT IS. *nods* Thanks for commenting!

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  16. My writing laptop isn't connected to the Internet. BEST. DESCISION. EVER. Not that I never get distracted by the Internet...or siblings...or multiple other things...but yes, having no way of getting to Internet stuff on the device I'm usually writing on is SO HELPFUL.

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    1. OH MY GOODNESS THAT'S LEGIT BRILLIANT. I would maybe do that but I only have one laptop sooooo it kinda has to be connected to the wifi if I want to blog haha. xD

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  17. Okay getting a dry erase board is brilliant! Perfect for someone who is constantly changing her schedule and plans like me.

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  18. Mental breakdowns?? Psshhh, who gets those.

    *distant sobbing*

    Thank you for the tips, Jonathan! And more importantly, thank you for demonstrating that others share in the struggle. The dry erase calendar idea is seriously awesome. I waste SO much paper, lol.

    It's funny how you talk about goal-setting being easier during NaNo cause I can never goal-set and have it work out for that but generally at any given normal time I can. So I laughed at that.

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    1. What's a mental breakdown again...? Idk but whatever it is I've obviously never experienced one. .*cough* :P

      No problem! Super glad that you liked the post! THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. But yes, the dry erase calendar will fix that problem. xd

      WAIT REALLY? Wow okay you're the first person I've met who's like that haha :D

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    2. Am I actually?? Haha, I always find that NaNo just totally kills my motivation to write. I also always end up way too busy when I want to try and do it. Fate is against me! :P

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  19. How have I lived this long without knowing your blog existed? I have no idea. But I'm hooked! This is hilarious + I so needed the advice!

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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    1. LOL well thanks so much, glad you liked this post! :D

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  20. Love it! Thanks for sharing this, Jonathan. Prioritizing is key for me. I get too confident sometimes in my ability to multi-task and over-commit without prioritizing first.

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  21. Thank you for this post! For some reason, I'd never considered using a dry erase calendar... this is going to my list of things to buy. XD I've recently discovered erasable pens, though... that's sorta kinda similar, I guess. XD
    Great post!
    jeniquablog.wordpress.com

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