If you are like me, you like to have different projects cooking at the same time – some on high flame and some brewing on the back burners. If a deadline approaches, you give all your attention to one project and leave the others behind. I have done this for years, until I realized that the back burner projects were pretty much stuck.

This year, I started something new. I limit myself to six projects and devote one day of the week to each. They don’t have to fall on the same day each week. For example, right now I am working on the translation of a book, I am writing a book in Italian about Giulia Gonzaga, a book in English about my experience with schizophrenia, and two books for my series for children. Then I have Sunday School lessons to prepare each week. This is of course on top of my homekeeping duties and my work as Italian instructor, which come first. On busy days, I work on easier projects, like the Sunday School classes or the translation. In any case, I make sure that I cover all six projects in the course of a week.

There are several advantages to this method. First of all, there are no more simmering projects. All the burners are used at the same time and each project continues to progress. If a week is particularly busy, then I just devote an hour to each project, or even less – just as long as I make a small progress.

A second advantage is that I don’t spend all my time thinking about one project. When I go to bed at night, I know the day is over and the next day I will work on something else, so I sleep better. This helps me to be more disciplined in other areas too and to live more fully in the present. If I get ideas for a project that is assigned to a different day, I just jot them down in a notebook with a page for each project, and view my notes when the correct day arrives.

Another advantage is that I have to limit myself to six projects. If I think of new projects, or if someone sends me a new offer, I have to decide if I want to drop a project I am currently doing or if I want to place the new project on hold – not on a back burner, but completely out of my mind until one of the six projects is out of the way.

I have been doing this since January 1st and it seems to be working for me. It’s just an idea…