×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Time management when juggling several projects & planning

Time management when juggling several projects & planning

Time management when juggling several projects & planning

(OP)
I have two problems: I find it hard to make realisitc estimates how long something wil take me and I find it difficult to be productive when juggling several projects.

I'm consultant engineer. Typically I have one or two construction sites and one project in a planning/design phase. Construction site means something between a visit every week and some paperwork to beeing on site half the time and lots of paperwork.

When I structure my time, I usually write down all the identfiable "chunks" of work, identify the most urgent one and work on that. If I would strictly follow that process, I would end up jumping between my projects which is not really a good, productive use of my time. Also, this way it's easy to neglect the planning projects because whatever is happening on site right now is always more urgent. Last not least, for plannng I need to block out whole days where I mostly ignore or postpone interuptions from the sites, if possible (reading emails and taking calls yes, acting on it only if urgent), to be able to concentrate on a project.

I don't think my time management etc. is totally terrible, but definitly below median (as far as time management skill is quantifiable on one axis).

I also have a hard time to realistically answer my project managers' question "how available are you the next week for project B, how will your work load be in project A & C"?

So, I can't be the first engineer to have this problem, how did others go about it?

RE: Time management when juggling several projects & planning

I took the nuclear option. This may not be acceptable in your workplace.

1) I wrote a note to my management pointing out that an interruption to 'just look at this' typically loses me 2 hours of train of thought and digging through old files.

2) So I work on one project per day, after I've dealt with the random stuff from yesterday first thing in the morning.

3) If I have multiple 'urgent' projects, I just do them in rotation, 1 day at a time.

I don't know if that helps. My time estimates for jobs are typically pretty good, but occasionally I have 100-200% blowouts. Just had one in fact, a 20 hour job turned into 60, and once I had a 2 week job turn into 3 months.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Time management when juggling several projects & planning

(OP)
This sounds worth trying, biggest issue I see is when I give a drafter input for project A on monday, but when I work on Project B on Tuesday the drafter comes along every so often, requesting clarifications. My time is more expensive but not vastly so. Maybe I should schedule the half hour past lunch for everything that popped up before noon or something like this.

RE: Time management when juggling several projects & planning

I'd recommend spending some time studying lean and agile design methods if you haven't in the past. Ultimately this comes down to a few simple concepts like breaking work down to their smallest tasks, identifying the time necessary to complete each task, prioritizing your workload at set intervals (beginning and mid-day work best for me), and seeing each task through to completion before moving to the next Avoiding distractions is simple once you see your efficiency increasing and realize the importance of not trying to multitask.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close