How to Balance Working on Multiple Projects

This is a guest post by Stuart Brent. Stuart is a serial founder, whose projects include Vacord Screen Printing, userinput.io, startupresources.io and startupaffiliate.io (for now).

Here’s my starting disclaimer:

It kinda sucks to run multiple projects.

I like doing it, and a lot of people do, but it is stressful and sometimes you feel like a fool.

Some quick pros and cons:

PROS

  • You never get bored, because you’re keeping things fresh for yourself by moving around from project to project.
  • It’s more fulfilling, because you can pursue other ideas.
  • It lets you scratch your crazy entrepreneurial / scatter brained itch more, by at least making a waiting page for.
  • It allows you to build a portfolio of sites and services which can cross promote each other.
  • Having multiple projects diversifies your income, so that a slow month with revenue doesn’t hurt your overall income as much.
  • You can build out multiple projects and see which one the market likes the most, and then abandon or flip the others.

CONS

  • It’s impossible to put 100% effort into a project when you have multiple projects.
  • It’s harder to grow a project without full focus.
  • If you want funding, good luck. Why would someone fund your side project? They want you to bust your ass to make your startup work if they put their money into it.
  • You just have way more to do, all the time.
  • It’s stressful.

It can work.

And it can be awesome.

I’ve been doing it since 2010, when I read The 4-Hour Workweek, and thought that instead of just focusing on my successful screen printing company, adding drop ship sites to my repertoire would make sense.

I had my screen printing shop in the daytime, and at night and on weekends I built out some dropshipping sites.

WAYS TO SPLIT YOUR TIME BETWEEN PROJECTS

IF YOU HAVE JUST TWO PROJECTS

  • AM/PM SPLIT

Depending on when you wake up, devoting all your AM hours to Project A and all your PM hours to Project B can make sense.

Have lunch at 11:30 or noon to split the day in half.

One issue with the AM/PM split is that it doesn’t really work unless you get up at a decent time. I start working at 7am most days, but I know that tons of people are night owls or just don’t get going this early.

This kind of split will put a crunch time on your tasks, which is helpful to motivate you.

Need to get some marketing done today for Project A? Well, you better finish by lunch, or else it waits until tomorrow.

For me, and for a lot of people, my best brain power is in the AM hours, so if you’re like that, you may want to work on your more intense project in the morning time.

  • WEEK A / WEEK B

This is my preferred way to split your time between two projects.

It’s quite simple.

This week, you work on Project A. Next week, you work on Project B.

And then the following week? Yeah, you guessed it, back to Project A.

I like this method because you get to focus all week on the project and plan out the week. And if you have a week in which your mornings keep getting screwed up, like you get a flat one day and your cat has to go to the vet and whatever, you don’t mess up your balance for the week.

Also, by the time Thursday comes around, you can gauge how productive you’ve been for this week’s project, accordingly freak out, and try to cram in more before next week comes.

This is the best way to really focus between the two projects, in my opinion.

  • AFTER HOURS ONLY

If you have a service or startup that is already earning and takes up all your time, like my screen printing business as an example, it makes sense to only allow yourself to work on the new project after or before regular work hours, and on the weekend.

If you’re really motivated by it, which you no doubt are or else you wouldn’t be fooling with it, you will want to make time to work on it.

It’ll be a treat.

And by keeping focus on the earning project in the normal work hours, you can help keep your spouse and bank account happy. I knew a lady who had four kids, and a part time day job, but she got up at 4am to cram in time for her small graphic design service she ran.

That is both nuts and real dedication.

Side note: get away from the computer at least every half hour! A rule of thumb could be 5-10 minutes of activity/exercise per hour. That could be 5 minutes every half hour or 10 minute each hour. You can take a little walk, stretch or grab a coffee: your choice! If you don’t have an espresso machine, take a look at Get Coffee, Be Happy!. They have a lot of guides to help you find the best coffee maker with grinder for your home office!

IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE PROJECTS

  • TASK DAYS

I was discussing how to split up between two companies in my mastermind group a few years ago, and someone in the group suggested not splitting up by project, but by task instead.

I was floored by this, because it made total sense but never seemed obvious.

And what do I mean task days?

  • On Mondays, you write new blog posts in the morning then promote them in the afternoons.
  • On Tuesdays, you do all your social media promotion and tweak email copy.
  • On Wednesdays, you review all your analytics and channels, and work on SEO.
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, you do development.

That’s just an example, you can of course split up your days however you need.

This works well because you get in the mentality to do the same thing for each project in a batch.

On Mondays, you’re using your writing brain. On Thursdays, your brain is in development mode.

By staying on the same type of work, you can stay in the right mindset.

  • TASK WEEKS

Taking the task day idea further, I do task weeks sometimes, planning everything out for the next six weeks.

  • This week, I’m going to focus entirely on writing a ton of content and guides.
  • Next week, I’ll focus on setting everything up in Buffer and Tweet Jukebox etc to share those articles, and do other promotional work for them, and set up all my social media content to go out for the next month or so.
  • The next two weeks, it’s a development sprint to revisit and upgrade a specific project, or two.
  • The following week, it’s a full on effort to analyze all your SEO opportunities and implement them.

Again, it’s whatever tasks you want, but a full week’s worth at a time.

  • ROTATING WEEKS

The same thing as task weeks, but set in stone.

A week of writing, a week of content promotion and SEO, a week of development and improving sites, a week of marketing. Over and over. On your Google calendar, set to repeat. Whatever weeks you think are most important.

CONCLUSIONS

It doesn’t matter that much how you split up your focus between projects, it’s just crucial that you have some sort of focus plan. Without a plan, it’s impossible to know what to be doing to maximize your time and effort.

YOUR TURN

Are you working different projects at the same time? How are you managing your time?
Share your experience with us!

Simone Barbero

Simone Barbero

Italian performance marketer and media buyer. Affiliate marketing is my bread and butter. Productivity and self-improvement are my passions. I created Hustle Mode ON to help fellow Side Hustlers be more productive and smash their goals.

Leave a Reply