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I'm currently working on 2-3 projects at the same time (depending on how you look at it) and my boss has recently asked me to take a look at another project. This new project may take 3-4 days, assuming nothing goes wrong. I'm really starting to get stretched thin and I frequently jump between all three projects in a week to keep various customers happy.

Would the professional thing to do be confronting my boss, explaining the other projects I'm on (he currently only has a vague idea), then asking which should take priority (the new project or the existing ones)?

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    Are the other projects already keeping you busy full-time, or are there moments where all 3 projects are impeded and you have nothing to do? How long do you think the already started projects will take until they are finished? – Helena Feb 7 at 20:20
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    @Kilisi it's hard to find qualified employees in my company's area so many of us are working on multiple things at the same time. – Jason Feb 7 at 20:21
  • PRIORITIZE PRIORITIZE PRIORITIZE – PM 77-1 Feb 8 at 0:42
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Would the professional thing to do be confronting my boss, explaining the other projects I'm on (he currently only has a vague idea), then asking which should take priority (the new project or the existing ones)?

Other than the term "confronting", this is exactly the right approach.

In many roles, it's completely normal to be working on multiple projects at the same time. But it's important to understand what has been promised, what are the schedules, and what are the relative priorities. And it's important that your boss have more than a vague idea about what you are doing.

Work together with your boss to make sure you understand how your limited time should be allocated. That way, if deadlines get missed, the most important work will be done at the expense of the less important work.

You need to do this periodically. If you have a weekly one-on-one meeting with your boss, perhaps this should be one of the topics. It certainly should be discussed every time a new task is added to your plate.

If you don't already do so, you should send your boss a weekly Status Report. In it, you should show what projects you are working on, where your time is currently being spent, what your current estimates for completion of those projects are, any upcoming projects, any upcoming planned time off, and anything else your boss needs to know.

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    Completely agreed. I had a boss that was like this. Horrible situation, horrible boss, horrible pressure. The one thing that kept things sane was that I communicated regularly on what I worked on and accomplished, what was currently on my docket, and questions about whether my current plans for the immediate future were on-point. Awfully tough to get angry with an employee if they're making steady progress on the issues you assigned to be priority. :-) – Kevin Feb 8 at 4:28
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I agree with Joe's answer, You need to inform the boss.

My addition is that you should always try and have at least the outline of a solution before discussing an issue that involves your work. So have a think about the root cause of the problem, whether it's the manager just doesn't realise how big your workload is or manpower etc,. This clarifies the issue in your own mind, and makes it clear you've put some thought into solving it, and of course by thinking it through you have the answers to hand in any discussion which gives you a big edge.

This is a good time to push any agenda you have, because the guy with the solution carries a lot of weight and may just be deferred to. So there is sometimes an opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

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