Bullet Journal Project Management Guide (2021)

clickup bullet journal

There’s nothing better than putting your thoughts down into a journal. 

It can help you transform your brain dump into organized to-do lists, goals, and action plans.

But now, there are digital platforms that offer you similar features but with more efficiency.

Digital bullet journals give you an endless space to manage projects, be more productive, and reach personal and professional goals.

But what exactly is a bullet journal, and how can you use it to manage projects?

In this article, we’ll cover what bullet journal project management is, how to use it to manage projects and the five key benefits of going digital

Let’s start journaling! 📖

What Is Bullet Journal Project Management? 

Bullet journal project management involves using the Getting Things Done (GTD) approach to manage projects efficiently with the help of a bullet journal. 

GTD is a project management methodology that focuses on prioritizing tasks and goals to help you, well, get things done. 

But what exactly is a bullet journal?

A bullet journal is a customizable space for managing personal projects, goals, and any daily task. It’s basically a planner that helps you create to-do lists, track deadlines, and prioritize tasks.

You can use bullet journals to manage any project, like learning a new language, starting a blog, or improving your cooking skills.

homer simpson cooking

Looks like it’s time to get a bullet journal, Homer!

Whether it’s personal or professional goals, the bullet journal method can help you prioritize a goal, narrow it down, and devise an action plan.

And before you know it, you’re already a project manager!

How to Manage Projects in a Bullet Journal (Step-by-Step)

Here’s a step-by-step guide to bullet journal project planning:

Step 1: identify your goal

You start by identifying which project (aka your goal) you’re going to work towards. 

If you have a list of multiple projects, you must choose one to focus on.

But how do you do this?

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Which project will have the most significant impact on your daily life?
  2. Which project will get you closer to your medium-term goals?
  3. Which project are you really enthusiastic about? 

Once you’ve done some Yoda-like introspection, you’ll know which project you need to focus on in the upcoming weeks and months. 

yoda wisdom

You can also create a future log section in your journal and move the other low-priority projects there.

Step 2: break down the goal into smaller tasks

To quickly understand the rest of the process, let’s say your project is to expand your business.

That’s a pretty broad one, right?

To finish such a large project successfully, you need to break it down into smaller chunks of work.

For example, to expand your online shopping business, you could:

  • Add 15 customer testimonials to your website
  • Add an opt-in pop up to get people to sign up to your email marketing list
  • Launch a fashion blog and update it every week

And voilà, you’ve got yourself some well-organized subgoals. As you complete each subgoal, you get a step closer to expanding your business.

Breaking your project down will also give you insights into how much time and resources you need to finish it, so you don’t end up with an incomplete task.

But how are you gonna manage your project progress, time, and resources?If you answered “manually,” here’s a glimpse into your future:

krusty the clown giving up

We get it. It’s tough to manage all those elements while trying your best to stay motivated.

Fortunately, with a project planner and bullet journal system like ClickUp, you can automate all the above tasks and focus on tackling your project. Nope, we aren’t clowning around! 

Wait… what’s ClickUp?

clickup on different devices

ClickUp is one of the world’s highest-rated productivity and bullet journal apps used by highly productive teams in small and large companies.

With features like Task Dependencies to complete tasks in the right order to a Global Time Tracker to track project time, ClickUp makes bullet journal project management a piece-of-cake!  

Here’s how you can use ClickUp as a bullet journal project tracker

Goals in ClickUp are high-level objectives that you can break down into smaller tasks or Targets. Every time you complete a Target, you move a little closer to achieving your Goal.

What this means is that:

  • Goals = your project
  • Targets = your broken down goals

But wait… how do you set a Goal in ClickUp?

Just go to “Goals” in ClickUp and create a new goal by clicking the “+New Goal” button. 

Here’s what else you can set:

  • Your Goal’s name
  • The due date 
  • Who’s responsible for it, and more

And ta-da, you’ve got yourself a Goal!

Now to add a Target, simply hit the “Add Target” button, and you’ll see your Targets appear right under your project Goal.

clickup goal targets

You can set various Targets like:

  • Number: numerical figures like how many products you want to sell 
  • True or false: enter if something has been done or not. For example, whether you’ve secured 15 testimonials for your website
  • Currency: keep track of how much money you’ve made from your online sales 💰
  • Tasks: add a set of tasks to your Target. For example, you’ll need to create an editorial calendar, get an editor, and more to start your fashion blog

And while you crush your Targets, ClickUp will auto-calculate and display your progress in real-time. 

clickup displaying goal progress

Additionally, you can create tasks from scratch or use a Task Template in ClickUp to manage your projects. You can then add subtasks to break your tasks down into smaller steps. 

But that’s not all.

With Nested Subtasks, you can create subtasks under a subtask. 

This way, you can take a primary task and create individual action items nested under that project. Talk about breaking it down! 💃

clickup nested subtasks

Step 3: create an action plan

Now that you’ve got your goals sorted out, you need to create an action plan.

Think of the Ocean’s 8 crew. 

The crew’s goal was to steal the Toussaint necklace.💎

To achieve their goal, they came up with an action plan. Tasks were assigned, each step was planned out logically, and a schedule was set.

ocean's 8 planning

Similarly, you need to organize your subgoals into logical steps and make a project timeline to expand your online business.

For example, you can’t get 15 customer testimonials without gathering customer info

and sorting through reviews first.

You could, but we’re not sure how accurate those testimonials would be. 👀

To get things done properly, you need to decide when to start your tasks and see if you have tasks that you must complete before starting another one. You’ll also need to set deadlines as required.

Seems like a lot to do?

Don’t worry. ClickUp’s here to save you from project scheduling woes.

The Calendar view in ClickUp lets you plan time, schedule tasks, and manage resources with ease.

You can also choose how you visualize things here:

  • Day: use this view as a daily planner and print your daily pages when needed
  • 4-Days: keep an eye on what you’ve got to do within the next four days
  • Week: create a weekly spread in this view to visualize your weekly tasks with ease
  • Month: create a monthly spread to get a bird’s-eye view of your entire month
  • Work week (mobile app): view Monday to Friday only
  • Schedule (mobile app): view a multi-day continuous layout
clickup calendar view
  • Work week (mobile app): view Monday to Friday only
  • Schedule (mobile app): view a multi-day continuous layout
clickup mobile calendar

Additionally, you can use ClickUp’s Task Priorities to ensure you’re working on the right thing. Once you prioritize your tasks, you can also add Time Estimates to create crystal clear expectations.  

Need more than just time estimates to stay on schedule?

You can use ClickUp’s Gantt Chart view to organize your tasks into a detailed Gantt chart

Here, you can schedule tasks, manage project dependencies, and organize tasks in just a few clicks. 

click gantt chart dependencies

Step 4: choose a layout

Bullet journals are completely customizable. This means that you can choose a project layout that works for you and customize it the way you want.

Maybe you prefer a calendar or timeline style to organize time-sensitive tasks. 

Or perhaps you’re a kanban project management fan. 

Good news, ClickUp has something for everyone!

ClickUp offers you tons of beautiful project views that you can customize with lightning speed. 

Some of these views include:

clickup board view

Step 5: take action

Time for the fun part: taking action!

And using to-do lists is one of the simplest ways to go all Keanu Reeves on your action plan.

keanu reeves

Here are two to-do lists you need to have for bullet journal project management:

A. Monthly to-do lists

Your monthly task list has all the tasks that you need to complete in a month.  

To create a monthly log, look at your action plan and move all your monthly tasks to the task list. 

Here’s how ClickUp makes managing your monthly to-dos a breeze:

Checklists in ClickUp are simple to-do lists within your tasks. 

They’re perfect for creating a daily log or even to-dos on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. All you have to do is drag-and-drop items to organize them and check them off once they’re done. 

But that’s not all.

Your Checklists can also contain sub-items. This way, you can add extra detail to your to-do lists.

Have similar to-dos? Create Checklist Templates and re-use them for repetitive tasks.

clickup templates

B. Weekly to-do lists

The weekly to-do list contains all the tasks that you need to complete on a weekly basis. 

You can build your weekly planner by checking your monthly to-do list every week, and whatever you need to do in that specific week should be added to your weekly log.

Additionally, remember to prioritize your project tasks in both lists. 

Because if you’ve listed tasks like grocery shopping along with your project tasks, then…

priority problems

But what if you have a task that you gotta do every week, like writing a new blog post for your fashion blog?

Just use ClickUp’s Recurring Tasks

You can set tasks to repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly.

And if you need a place to jot down bullet journal ideas, checklists, and notes, The Notepad in ClickUp is the perfect place to do it. Any note you create here can be converted to a task later.

clickup create a task from notepad

5 Benefits of Using a Digital Bullet Journal

1. You get a never-ending journal

Paper notebooks have a set number of pages, and you’re gonna need more than one notebook if you’ve got multiple projects to manage.

Additionally, if you wanna go back to a previous project or the goal you’ve set, you’ll have to find that specific notebook and check every page number to see that data.

Frustrating, right?

sheldon throwing paper

But don’t worry. A digital journal like ClickUp’s here to save the day (and the planet)!

Docs in ClickUp are the perfect space to create a college planner, project plan, and more. 

You add as many pages as you want and store these documents alongside your projects for quick access.

Docs are also available for digital download as a PDF, Markdown, or HTML file.

2. You can save money on stationery

A craft planner requires a lot of good-quality stationery, like pens, pencils, highlighters, bullet point paper, and more.

Having to replace everything frequently can get super expensive.

Instead, why not use a free project management tool like ClickUp?

With ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan, you can save all the money you would’ve spent on stationery and reinvest it into your project. #WinWin

3. It’s more flexible than paper

If you make a mistake or need to move pages around in a paper notebook, you’re gonna have to rip pages out.

Hopefully, this won’t make you pull your hair out as well. 😜

Digital bullet journals make it easy to erase mistakes and move pages around. All it takes is a simple backspace and drag-and-drop.

On top of that, digital journals like ClickUp offer you a lot of flexible features, such as:

clickup custom fields

4. You get device syncs and backups

You know that feeling you get when you lose a sticky note with important info on it? 😩

With a digital bullet journal, you’ll never have to feel like that again.

Digital tools can be backed up and synced across devices. This way, you’ll never lose your journal, and you can view projects on your phone if you’re on the go.

ClickUp takes syncing to the next level by letting you sync your ClickUp tasks with Google Calendar

Additionally, you can use ClickUp’s Mobile Apps for Android and iOS devices to stay on top of your projects wherever you are.  

5. It’s super easy to share with others

Sometimes a project requires teamwork, and you’ll need to share tasks, to-do lists, and project plans with teammates.

While your paper journal isn’t gonna help you out here, a digital task manager like ClickUp surely will.

ClickUp’s Public Sharing feature lets you share a public, read-only version of tasks or views to keep everyone on the same page, literally. And from Collaboration Detection to Assigned Comments, ClickUp offers tons of collaboration features just for you and your team!  

Shoot for Your Goals like a Bullet

Bullet journaling is all about goal setting and prioritizing the right goals. 

This way, you can create a productivity system that’ll help you get to where you want to be.

And while you could just use a pen and paper to do this, sometimes a project requires a higher level of organization that isn’t offered by regular notepads.

That’s why you need a task management app with built-in bullet journal functionality, like ClickUp!

With features like Custom Color Themes, powerful Integrations, and ready-made Templates, ClickUp can help you manage anything you put your mind to.

Try out ClickUp for free today to experience a bullet journal app that’ll help you reach all your goals with ease. 💆

homer simpson achieve goals

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