Witcher 3 First Playthrough

Recently I jumped into playing Witcher 3 for my first time and it has been amazing so far! My first playthrough and im lvl 38 right now with the main story up to isles of mists part and I just finished hearts of stone expansion. After White Orchard I went to Velen and I just seemed to skip a lot of stuff and do the baron main story quests which led me quickly to Novigrad quests.

Never really thought about it until I reached like lvl 24 halfway through main story quests in Novigrad when all those contracts and side quests were greyed out and I was screwed. What did you guys do in terms of the quests and regions? Did you just do all side quests and contracts first in the area and then save main story for after. Or did you just do main story and say screw you side quests. Because now I list quite a few useless quests now and it bothers me alot lol