2 Key systems for juggling multiple writing projects

sticky notesAre you an academic author who is working on multiple projects at the same time? If so, you understand the challenges associated with keeping track of all the pieces for each project in order to meet individual submission deadlines.

In her recent TAA webinar, “Juggling Multiple Writing Projects…and Completing ALL of Them“, Christine Tulley, author of How Writing Faculty Write and career advice columnist for Inside Higher Education, shared two key systems to log all stages of all of the projects and schedule writing time for each to aid in multiple writing project management.

Timing system

The primary focus of a timing system is to determine when you are doing each of the projects and how much time you have to devote to all writing projects each week. The first step to developing a timing system is to select and prioritize your three highest priority writing projects.

Once identified, Tulley offers several options for scheduling those projects based on priority, as follows:

  • Schedule your highest priority project into the most “frequent and longest times to write” available and find additional time for the other two projects in your schedule throughout the week
  • Schedule projects by days of the week giving your highest priority project the days with the longest periods of available writing time and scheduling the other two projects on other days of the week
  • Schedule projects by energy level putting all of your writing projects into time blocks where you are most productive (i.e. mornings for AM people)

When faced with a more fragmented schedule, Tulley suggests that you designate specific days for the second and third ranked projects and then fill available time slots on the other days with your highest priority project.

Storage system

The storage system focuses on where you are keeping track of all projects – past, present, and future – and the details to be stored for each. Tulley suggests using some form of tracking log to identify which stage each part of each project is at any given time. Color coded logs, Trello boards, and Kanban/Agile whiteboards are all options for tracking projects.

Regardless of the method of tracking, the information your store should include the following items:

  • Projects by name, deadline, status, and notes about where you left off and what you need
  • Ideas for new projects (conference proposals, articles, etc.)
  • Submitted projects that you are waiting on

The complete session recording and related resources are available in TAA’s library of Presentations on Demand.


Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.