Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This question already has an answer here:

I am currently writing 10 books.

  • Each book is non-fiction.
  • None are part of a series or set.
  • Each is unrelated, no content is shared between them.
  • Each will require approximately the same amount of work to finish.
  • I can find no means to prioritize them, as they all seem of equal importance.
  • I have no deadlines.

I completed similar projects before, but was motivated by deadlines. I estimate each book will require this much time before it is ready to talk to editors:

  1. 40 hours for brainstorming content.
  2. 40 hours for writing and organizing content.
  3. 10 hours for proofreading.

I find it difficult to make any progress on any of these. What is an effective approach to managing and prioritizing my time and focus on multiple projects such as this? I.e. schedule a little bit of time each week for each of them, work on only one until it is finished, or some other approach in between?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Raystafarian, Rory Alsop May 6 '14 at 21:08

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Why are you working on 10 projects rather than focusing on 1 at a time? – Kramii May 6 '14 at 8:40
I'm not concerned about order, and working on 10 at a time would be fine, I just want to find which way would be more efficient. – Village May 6 '14 at 12:40
Even if this is a duplicate, the answer by Stephan Kolassa is better than those of the other question, specifically because it deals with books, not just a generic project. – thursdaysgeek May 6 '14 at 22:34
up vote 7 down vote accepted

It may make sense to work on two or three books in parallel, so you can switch between them if you hit a writer's block. However, ten books are probably far too many.

I would suggest designating one book as your primary focus and working on this one the majority of your time, and designating one or two others as backups. If you do hit a snag with your primary target, feel free to switch to the backups for an hour or even the rest of the day - but come back to your primary one the next day.

When you are done with your primary project, you are not done yet. Start talking to publishers immediately. In the meantime, promote your first backup to your new primary project and take a new backup on board. Repeat until all books are done.

Advantages I see:

  • You will more easily get back up to speed if you switch only between two or three books rather than between ten.
  • You will finish one of them faster. Don't underestimate the motivational kick you will get out of finishing something!
  • You will have something to do (books 2-10) while dealing with editors for the first one - you won't be sitting on ten unpublished books while you are waiting for editors' responses.
share|improve this answer
This seems like good advice. If I worked on just one at a time, I could get stuck in the brainstorming phase and end up not making progress on anything. – Village May 6 '14 at 12:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.