Lucas Brenner » Articles » How to Switch Quickly between Projects

Today, we all have to work on different projects at the same time, which have different demands on us. It is now harder than ever to focus on a single task as there are countless other commitments waiting at the same time.

It is therefore inevitable that we have to switch between different projects and areas of responsibility during the working day. But how do we do this without having to pay high opportunity costs every time we move on to another task? In this article, I present some techniques that make it easier to switch between projects.

Hemingway Bridge

This technique was used by the author Ernest Hemingway and works as follows: At the end of a work period (either just before you finish work or just before you move on to another project), you start looking for a suitable place to stop. At this point, you should not be completely burnt out and you should know what to do next. You then jot down these next steps, either directly in the current document or in a task manager.

This technique ensures that you don't burn yourself out and that you know immediately where you should continue the next time you are working on the project. This makes it easier to get back into the flow state and reduces opportunity costs because you don't have to find out what the next step is every time you switch projects.

Project Roadmap

A project roadmap is basically an extension of the Hemingway Bridge. While with the latter technique you have to rely on coincidentally finding a good place to stop at the end of the work period, you can plan this with the project roadmap. For example, you can divide the project into phases so that you complete a milestone in one work session while the next steps are already planned.

Project roadmaps also provide a better overview of the entire project, as you can see both tasks that have already been completed and tasks that are due far in the future. Not only does this allow you to track and recap the progress of the project so far, but it also allows you to plan the future more accurately and ensure that no matter how often you switch between projects, you always have the correct milestones, goals and intentions in mind.

However, you should keep in mind that project roadmaps can and should change as you gain more experience and information about a given project.

Have a Collection of Materials

You should collect the resources you need to work on a project in one place so that you can access them quickly. If you not only have to switch between completely different projects, but also have to search for the required files, the opportunity costs multiply.

In this article I have explained in more detail why you need project folders. I show what such a system could look like in my article “How I Organize My Notes.” The Second Brain system presented by Tiago Forte is suitable for these collections of materials.