Balancing Multiple Projects: Time Management Tips for Instructional Designers

🕑 5 minutes read | Feb 01 2024 | By Becky Gendron

Effectively managing multiple projects is necessary to be successful as an instructional designer. In addition to having subject matter expertise, instructional designers need to have excellent organizational and time management skills to achieve high-quality results that meet their client’s needs.

A recent Learning Trends report projects an uptick in budgets for learning and development and this presents a significant opportunity for skilled instructional designers. This trend suggests a growing recognition of the need for high-quality, effective training programs. Instructional designers are essential in ensuring that the increased investment in L&D renders impactful learning experiences.

This blog offers ten time management tips to help instructional designers manage multiple training projects. It provides guidance to help set realistic goals and deadlines, and tips on maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Ten Time Management Tips for Instructional Designers 

  1. Prioritize Your Projects

Prioritizing tasks is essential for success as an instructional designer. Keep in mind the deadlines and the impact each project has on business goals. Assess each task’s urgency and importance so that you can schedule your work accordingly. This method ensures you focus on important projects first, making progress and satisfying clients.

  1. Set Realistic Deadlines and Goals

To ensure successful project completion, it is important to be realistic with goals and deadlines. This requires considering your current workload and any possible unexpected delays. You should consider your client’s review processes and how that could affect your timelines. Openly communicating any deadlines, obstacles, or delays to your clients will help to effectively manage their expectations.

  1. Develop a Structured Schedule

Design a consistent schedule, whether on a daily or weekly basis, which assigns designated time blocks to individual projects. This structured approach allows you to dedicate focused attention to each task and avoid conflicts between projects. Remember to include time for yourself in your schedule. A good balance between work and personal life is important for long-term success in freelance training.

  1. Use Time Management Tools

An organized digital workspace is necessary to manage multiple projects successfully. Utilize time management tools, such as Trello, Asana, or Google Calendar, to efficiently manage deadlines. These tools allow you to see your workload, remember important tasks, and ensure that you do not forget anything.

  1. Communicate with Clients and Set Realistic Expectations

Establishing and keeping open and consistent communication with your clients is critical. Providing regular updates on project progress and addressing any challenges met is essential for managing expectations. Be honest about what you can deliver to avoid unrealistic expectations and help build trust.

  1. Learn to Say No

Know your limits and do not be afraid to say no to projects you cannot handle without sacrificing quality. Taking on too many tasks can result in subpar outcomes, damaging your professional image. Saying no when needed helps you focus on important tasks that match your abilities and goals for your work.

It can be common for contract instructional designers to work around the clock, but this should not be the norm. Structured work hours and clear boundaries are necessary for a healthy work-life balance and to continually deliver high-quality results. This balance is essential for sustained creativity and efficiency.

  1. Adapt to Changing Circumstances and Client Needs

Being flexible is crucial for an instructional designer. Be prepared for changes in iterations due to changing project demands. This flexibility ensures you meet client expectations while skillfully managing the demands of multiple projects. Being flexible and adaptable helps you stay up to date with client needs and industry trends.

  1. Feedback and Reflective Practices

Integrating feedback and reflective practices into your routine is a strategic component of effective time management. You should take a moment after each project to evaluate not only the quality of the content but also the project’s time management aspects.

How accurately did you estimate task durations? What efficiencies can you improve? Utilizing these insights in future project planning allows for adjustments in time allocation strategies based on real experiences. This ensures that every project shows your design skills and emphasizes your ability to manage time effectively.

  1. Portfolio Management

As an instructional designer managing multiple projects, it can be beneficial to maintain a balanced portfolio. This means selecting projects that align with your experience and professional goals but also allow for a manageable workload. Taking on several types of projects can help mitigate risks and maintain a consistent flow of work and income. This is especially beneficial in situations where a particular project encounters issues or experiences delays.

Also, consider the project’s learning potential; engaging in projects that push your creative and technical boundaries can lead to professional growth and skill enhancement.

However, it is important to recognize that sometimes you may not be able to take on more projects, especially when you are already committed to a big project or are juggling a couple of large-scale projects. Balancing your project portfolio not only involves choosing the right projects but also knowing when your capacity has reached its limit to maintain integrity and deliver exceptional results.

  1. Stress Management and Mindfulness

Last but not least, make sure you take care of yourself. It is no secret that managing multiple projects can be overwhelming. Incorporating stress management and mindfulness techniques into your daily routine can significantly reduce stress resulting in improved focus and productivity. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help maintain a calm and clear mind.

Also, do not underestimate the power that regular physical activity and proper sleep have in combating stress and fostering a resilient mindset. Incorporating these elements into your schedule can help increase concentration, decision-making skills, and overall well-being – all essential components for successful project management.

Mastering the art of managing multiple projects is about cultivating a mindset of flexibility, foresight, and continuous improvement. presents the opportunity to refine your skills, expand your connections, and build your credibility.

Being able to effectively manage multiple projects is a reflection of your professionalism and commitment to your work as well as creating a balance that works for you and your clients. These time management tips for instructional designers will help you confidently manage multiple projects, overcome any unforeseen challenges, and help reduce stress.

If you are looking for an instructional designer to help you reach your organization’s learning goals, TTA can help. Contact us today.

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