Why one should be involved in more than one project at once

Spreading yourself across multiple companies, startups or projects forms a good approach in shortening ones path to success. Main motive is the increased pace at one gathers multiple skills, having the opportunity to watch and participate in multiple work cultures. The more you do, see and learn, the bigger your chances to succeed at whatever you are planning to do.

The number of projects one can pursue depends on his skill set, level of commitment and time availability. A skilled project manager, for example, can look into managing a couple early stage projects at a time and still obtain good results if he or she has good knowledge of productivity and management techniques and great communication skills.

Such approach is common on freelancing (where one usually works on many projects at a time) and it can also be applied with success on personal business projects. Setting a clear timeframe per week for working on the project and sticking to it ensures a commitment as well as a clear separation between the project and any other tasks.

Diversity usually keeps people excited. Spreading your time and attention across multiple projects along with the fact that one can never know for sure if a business will succeed or not can increase his or her’s chances to create something remarkable.

When one feels that a project has more changes that others will usually allocate right away more time and resources in that directions to increase it’s chances at the expanse of the other projects with less potential.

What is your opinion on the topic? Do you think people should focus from day one on projects or set a timeframe and spread the available work time across multiple projects?

5 thoughts on “Why one should be involved in more than one project at once

  1. … but this is also a bit dangerous. I believe the ability to focus is critical for success. Running multiple projects at the same time will kill your focus, this is what I have learned from personal experience. Currently I'm trying to work only on a single important project and in my spare time try small exploration projects, no more than one for small period of time.

  2. The above recommendation is not intended for all professions.

    Clearly not being in the position to judge anyone I can tell you are not (yet) focusing. Going to university courses, being employed, attending social events (building business relationships, basically), working on important personal projects & other smaller ones is clearly a way to spread yourself across a lot of activities at once. Try only doing one of those (you get to choose which, obviously) and see how much time it takes until you want to diversify and look into other gigs.

  3. “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the 100 other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the many things we haven't done as the things we have done.” Steve Jobs

  4. The most unexpected and crucial cost of accepting several challenges at the same time is task switching. Indeed, the time required to manage several processes simultaneously is more than the sum of times required to manage each of them.
    …because you also need time to switch from one project (and mindset) to another. The number of context switches increases exponentially with the number of projects (and the number of tasks within each project).

    Moreover, the human mind isn't built for context switching. What at first seems exciting and stimulating soon becomes psychologically tiring.

    In my personal experience, if you divide focus between several projects you end up keeping just one (and dumping the others) or you adapt to become robot-minded (lacking inspiration, perspective, imagination and all the other stuff you cannot outsource).

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