Here’s a response my friend and collaborator Dr. Steve Bein, a professor of philosophy, black belt, martial arts teacher, Writers of the Future winner, and adventurer whose first novel comes out (I believe) next year gave to a question about handling multiple projects at once. The context was writing specifically, but the advice seems to apply much more broadly than that.
I’ll give the advice I followed when writing my dissertation: write whatever’s easiest that day. Writing a dissertation is a huge pain in the ass, but if you write whatever’s easiest on any given day, sooner or later you will get the hardest part written too. (Sooner or later today’s hardest part becomes easier than some future, harder part.)
The primary problem this solves is that of motivation. You always get to feel like you’re getting away with something, and you always get to feel like you’re making forward progress.
The above is actually the second-most important piece of advice I could give you, and it only works if you follow the most important advice, which is this: WRITE EVERY DAY. No exceptions, not even your birthday.
As Steve has successfully completed projects like short stories, novels, philosophy papers, and a PhD dissertation, I feel he knows whereof he speaks.
Photos courtesy of Steve Bein