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Managing Multiple Projects/People

The question arises constantly: “I am managing 5 projects all at the same time! How will my Journal help me stay organized?” “I have 6 direct reports and 27 total employees? What template do I use to keep them all straight?” “I have a full time job, 3 children, 4 sports teams and a girl scout troup! How do I document all that?!”

The simple answer is that

  1. You cannot manage time. No matter how well you manage 5 minutes, you can’t turn it into 6 minutes. You can use the time you have efficiently.
  2. You cannot manage People. You cannot cause people to do what they won’t do. You can encourage, motivate, inspire or interfere with them..
  3. You cannot do more than one thing at one time no matter how hard you try. You can coordinate tasks so that they happen concurrently if you plan well.

AHHHHH!!! there’s the ticket… Plan. Well.

Now, I’m not going to try to summarize decades of leadership theories into a blog post. I will offer some highlights that I’ve learned personally. Take them if they help you.

  • Don’t Micromanage. If you need to micromanage the people under your leadership either you have unqualified people who need to get qualified or get replaced or you need to learn to delegate and trust your staff. Nothing is more demoralizing and destructive than a leader who doesn’t lead, they just do it themselves out of distrust.
  • Lead, don’t bully. As a new leader, you can cause people to follow you through loyalty or fear. They both work, but not equally as effectively or long. If people are unwilling to follow you at all, look at why and fix it from there.
  • You are a COORDINATOR, not a lion tamer, not a mother, not a babysitter. You are there to potentiate the work of the people beneath you.

I will encourage my readers to learn about Servant-Leadership: A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.  Servant-Leadership has been the primary model for the United States Military for a very long time. When you hear about the Marine tradition of the Officers not eating until the troops are served, that’s a manifestation of servant leadership.

Lieutenant General Daniel Allyn, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, N.C., said that servant leadership is not only the underlying theme of the Army’s values, it is also good business. He explained that at the core of Army Values is the concept of selfless service and that means putting others first. Mattson also points out that the word sergeant comes from the French word meaning servant. 

So how to record this in your Bullet Journal?

Let’s consider 2 main principles: 1. Each project/team/job/employee requires a unique set of tasks, goals, strategies and plans and 2. You personally, can only do one task at a time.

First, set up a separate and distinct project/collection page for each. That probably means that each direct report, project team, project, child, job, girl scout troup, gets a page all their own. *For now on each is known as a “project”. On that page you will list out

  • Specific goals for that project. EXACTLY what would that project look like successfully finished?
  • Time frame for evaluation of the project. Keep it realistic. A child’s school work may need to be re-evaluated daily but an adult employee may only need monthly or quarterly evaluations.
  • What steps are required to finish that project successfully? Not really the exact, detailed tasks to accomplish those steps, but the incremental steps that need to be traversed.

Second, Carry that most important piece of info to carry to the weekly or daily task list : the NEXT ACTIONand it’s related TIME. Now, this is your detail level. If you are managing a person or team, your next action might be the next evaluation in one month. For that child, it may be to call the child’s teacher today. What is the VERY NEXT ACTION, WHEN must it be accomplished and WHAT is required to do that? a phone, a computer, the person…

There is some conversation about how many of these tasks you should actually have on your “to do” list. Some methods say to limit yourself to 3 tasks and 3 only. Well, that is a bit limiting for a large project management system although it may end up actually being self limiting. If I have 10 projects and I must choose the 3 tasks to get done, do I prioritize by due date? that will limit what must be done first, second and third leaving me time to include others. Do I prioritize by importance or impact? That means my most important will get done but some that are less important get missed while I’m focussing on the pressing issues. That’s a great way to turn a low priority into a high priority with NO room to accomplish it.

I prefer to choose to list all next actions and sort them into categories. OK, what categories? There are lots of ways to do this. What do I do? OK, I first sort into Work, Personal, Home. Then I note on each task it’s acuity, where it needs to be accomplished, what the time frame is. This works for me.

Example of Weekly summary page:   *Note: the Next action would be listed separately where appropriate


  1. Project A – Deadline 1 week – computer email / Next Action – waiting on estimate from Tom Smith for xyz part
  2. Team Blue – evaluation 1 month – all members at main office –      /     Next Action – meet with Susan on Tuesday to review new hire progress
  3. Submit proposal to Allan Jones – due Tuesday – phone     /   Next Action – Call A. Jones to set appt to meet for submission meeting


  1. Paint Hallway – Finish prior to Mom’s visit in 2 weeks – Next Action – meet with Tom to discuss color – restarant for dinner?

To Summarize:

The project gets a separate Page where you work out the details.

A summary of the projects and it’s priority goes in a place you will review regularly.

Only the Next Action goes on the ‘to do’ part of the journal.


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  1. Angela says:

    Nicely done. Thank you! I love the idea of servant-leader.

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