Time management series: Tracking and managing multiple projects at once

A screenshot of a Microsoft Word document with a table showing a list of projects. The columns, from left to right read:  Project, Already Completed, Waiting For...and What I can do now. Below it are three examples of projects with dates listed next to the steps that need them.
This isn’t my “real” project list, but gives you a good idea of what it looks like and how I use it.

Every job has it’s challenges. A big one for marketing, public relations, and communications professionals is the ability to keep track and manage a lot of different “plates” in the air. When I arrived at my current place of employment, I had a system for tracking projects, but I quickly learned I needed something a little more robust. It is a continual process, but above is the current rendition of what my project task list looks like.

Some quick notes about it:

  • Even though Excel is more my forte, I’ve found that Microsoft Word seems to be the best for this type of format.
  • I try to update this every day.
  • It’s old school, but yes, I print it out. I then go through and highlight it (especially 3-4 things out of the last column that I absolutely want to accomplish during the day), and write all over it.
  • It goes with me to meetings so, when people ask the status of a project or my work overall, I’m able to give specific updates including dates.
  • This helps me see if a project is not moving forward and keeps me from forgetting about projects.
  • The way the last column is worded is my newest “improvement.” It not only hints that I need to set a next actionable step, but it also asks whether what I’m waiting for is stalling me or if there are still things I could be doing.

How do you manage your projects? How do you keep yourself from letting anything fall through the cracks?

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