Software development is a creative pursuit and to enable the creative mind some cues are required, to get in the zone and kickstart the process.
I am a web and mobile app developer who works on multiple projects during the day, and to enable myself doing so I have created different zones for each project, where I can get in the zone and work on my craft, working on multiple projects requires some amount context, and switching context is taxing on the brain.
So in order to work on multiple projects during that day, I work on one project at a time, with a dedicated time slot for each project and a different workspace for each project.
A different workspace means a different desk, chair and a computer for each of my projects and ideally at a different location. Currently, I am working on 3 projects, so I have 3 computers and 3 desks, each dedicated to a separate project.
Now some of you might think it is wasteful, but trust me it is not. Dedicating a workspace for a project is one of the best money I have ever spent because after I am done working on one project, I do not have to close the editor, the tabs etc. I can just leave the things where they are and come in the next day and continue from where I left.
If you look at the desk of creative geniuses like for e.g Einstein or Steve Jobs they have messy desks, and the programs open in your computer is akin to things on your desk that you require when working on your project easily accessible so that you don’t have to break the flow of the what your working on and quickly access the programs and files and keep going and working productively and seamlessly resume where you left of.
By closing all the windows on the computer to switch to a different project and then coming back to the first project you have to re-think and re-load all the variables again in your brain, whereas if they are already open you still have to do some mental loading of the task but it is far less as compared to the re-opening all the stuff e.g the editor and browser tabs.
With computers being more and more affordable it is an incredible luxury afforded to us by the modern times that I can dedicate an entire computer for one project and it has been a great boon for my productivity as I do not have to load things into my brain, when I sit on the desk for a project I just get going.
So if you are a programmer that works on a single project at a time then great for you! But if your profession demands you to work on multiple projects then trust me dedicating a separate workspace for each of the projects would be a great investment.
So in summary based on my experience the best way to work on multiple projects is to have a dedicated workspace for each project so that you can get in the zone with minimal effort.
If you have something more please share your thoughts in the comments.