You just got three very important assignments, and they both have to be completed around the same time. All are key writing projects, and all are complicated, requiring specialized skills. How do you get them all done at the same time?

To begin with, let’s take a look at Henry Ford–you know the man who created the assembly line to make automobiles. How did he do it? Much the way Ford put the assembly line to work building cars, you can use it to get more than one assignment done simultaneously by focusing your efforts on the pieces of the project rather than the whole.

First, study the assignments and write down everything you need to do for each–sort of a master To Do List, but keep the list separate for each assignment. Analyze the projects arrange them from simplest to most complicated.

Now create a Work Progress Chart. Down the left side, list your assignments. Across the top, from left to right, list the Publication, Contact, Date Due, Amount You Intend to be Paid, Research, Rough Draft, Final, Date Sent, Invoice No., Date Published, and the actual Payment amount. This gives you a complete record of each assignment. (See chart below)

As you complete each of the three major steps–Research, Rough Draft, and Final–check them off. At the same time, check off each item that you finish for each assignment. Start with the simplest and easiest project first. Finish the first two steps of that before you begin the first step of the second project. The idea is to not be working on the same type of step in the process for any project at the same time. This prevents you from getting confused.

In addition, it’s very important to make sure that you file all the pertinent materials for each project in a separate well-marked folder so that you don’t accidentally put a note for one project in another project’s folder. You may even want to color code the folders.

Another way to make efficiency work for you is to do online research at the same time or while you’re doing other things online, like downloading E-mail or chatting with friends using one of the online messenger services.

After you gather and organize your notes, you can begin to assemble your project, arranging information in the appropriate order before beginning the rough draft of each piece.

The assembly line concept is a very effective way to manage multiple projects. So the next time you get two or more assignments that must be completed simultaneously, think of Henry Ford. You’ll be glad you did.

Create a work progress chart:

Assignment   Publication   Contact   Date Due   Amount   Research  Rough  Final  DateSent   Invoice  DatePub.   Payment
Parianware   Antique Coll.  M.Dunn   9/3/08       $200           x              x         x       9/2/02       19384   1/21/03     $200

Acapulco      Mex.Traveler B.Paul     6/5/08       $350           x              x         x       6/1/02        19355    3/9/03     $375


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