Are you a designer looking to manage all your projects in Notion? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, I’ll be sharing the EXACT setup I use to manage my life as a designer. I manage my daily tasks, CRM, projects, and more in Notion.
If you are a Notion user and are looking for some inspiration on how you can organize your work, then this article is going to help you a lot.
And if you’re someone new to Notion, you’ll realize how awesome this tool is for working in an organized and efficient manner.
Without wasting any of your time, let’s get into it!
Notion For Designers: How I Manage My Design Projects Using Notion
I’ve come across many Notion templates, tutorials, and whatnot to organize my work but there’s always one problem in many of those templates:
They’re too complex and overwhelming.
Here’s the deal:
When you try to complicate everything inside Notion and create an advanced setup, it becomes overwhelming very soon.
You want your workspace to work for you and not against you.
That’s why I’ve kept my Notion setup very simple with only a few pages.
But the way these pages are set up, helps me unleash the creative monster inside of me.
Here’s a look at my Notion Dashboard:
As you can see, it’s a very clean and minimal setup with no distracting elements. I can get to any page I want without getting confused or overwhelmed.
Now, I’ll jump into each page and share with you what’s inside them.
Starting off with the Action Center.
Managing Tasks In The Action Center
The Action Center is where I manage all my tasks. I’ve tried using different methods for task management but found this one to be less distracting and easy to manage.
As you can see from the above image, I have two tables where my tasks are listed. Let’s first take a look at the second table.
This table which I named Tasks Backlog is basically a backlog of all the work I have to do. Whatever task I have in mind, I add it to this table.
This table has the following columns:
Again, I’ve kept the columns to a minimum in order to avoid having to fill in columns just to add a task.
Whenever I have a task, I simply add it to the table, assign a date and priority to it.
Now, let’s go back to the first table:
This table is also named Tasks Backlog and it shows all the tasks I have to do Today. This isn’t a separate table but a view of the table below that shows only the tasks that have the Do Date of today.
You can create a linked table using the Linked Database block in Notion. This allows you to create a filtered view of any page or table in Notion.
So, whenever a task in my Tasks Backlog table has a Do Date of Today, it automatically shows up in the linked database up above.
Now, what happens if I mark my tasks as Done?
Well, the tasks disappear from both the tables. This happens because I’ve created a filter where the table only displays the tasks that have the Done checkbox as empty.
Whenever the checkbox is marked, it automatically hides the task from the table as that task is now complete.
In a nutshell, the Action Center helps me be more productive and work without getting overwhelmed by the tasks I have to do.
The Ultimate CRM
Moving on to the biggest page in my workspace which is the CRM. This is the page from where I manage all my projects and clients.
Here’s what this page looks like:
As you can see from the screenshot, the page has a table named Pipeline and a linked database for the same.
The Pipeline table is where I add all my clients (both active and inactive). Whenever I have a lead, I add it to my Pipeline.
This table is quite extensive because every client I come across or work with gets added here.
Below my pipeline is a linked database for this table that only displays Active Projects.
So, whenever I change a client’s status to Project in Progress, it automatically displays the client in the Active Projects database.
But Ahfaz, this is just a CRM. Where and how do you manage the project in Notion?
Let’s get to the best part now! It took me a lot of research and planning to make this.
So, here it is:
Whenever a client is moved to the Lead Development status, I open the client’s page and click on the Process Template as shown below:
This template includes all the pages and databases that would be required for me to manage the project.
It’s divided into two sections: Lead Development and Project Dashboard.
The Lead Development section includes everything that would be required for me to nurture, develop, and close the lead.
It has the following 5 pages:
This is a simple page with questions about the client and their business. Whenever I conduct the Discovery Session, I send over this page to the client and ask them to fill it out.
This way, I can understand my client and their business clearly. In cases where I have to conduct the discovery session on call, I simply ask them the questions and write the answers they give me on call.
It has 3 template buttons for different types of questionnaires.
So, if it’s a Web Design project, I’ll click on the Add New Web Design Questionnaire button:
This will automatically add all the questions I ask my clients during a web design project. See how simple and automated it is. I don’t have to create questionnaires repeatedly for each project.
I created a template once for all types of questionnaires and it works like magic all the time.
Just like the Discovery Session, I either give page access to the client or write the answers myself.
This page consists of a table named Tasks where I add all the Tasks I’d have to do for this project.
It has columns that allow me to add my daily rate for the task along with the number of days I’d be working on it. The last column then calculates the total cost for the task.
Above this table is another table named Estimated Cost. This table pulls the total Estimated Costs of all the tasks from the Tasks table.
I do this using by creating a Relation property column named All Tasks where I add all the tasks. Then, I calculate the sum of all those tasks in the Estimated Cost column using the Rollup property in Notion.
It sounds complex but isn’t.
Besides that, I also have a Markup column where I can add how much percentage of markup I want to make besides the project cost.
By doing this, I can calculate the value of the project at which it’ll be profitable to me. Many designers don’t do this because they don’t know how to.
With this table, you can easily estimate your project costs at which it’ll be profitable to you.
I create all my proposals using Notion now and this is the template I use for it.
As you can see, this page has all the necessary sections needed to create a proposal. I simply open it, fill in my information, and export the page as a PDF.
That’s how quickly I can whip out a professional Proposal for my clients.
Just like Proposals, I also create my invoices using Notion. I fill in all the necessary information on this page and export it as a PDF.
I have even added Pay via PayPal and Pay via Stripe buttons to make it easy for my clients to quickly send over the payments.
So, these were the pages that I use during the Lead Development stage. Once the project begins, I manage all the work in the Project Dashboard template as shown below:
As you can see, this page first has a timeline with all the tasks along with their respective timelines. This helps me get a clear view of the project’s progress.
After that comes a Tasks table where I add all the tasks that need to be completed for the project.
At last, is a Process section with multiple pages and templates.
Here’s what’s included in the Process section:
This page includes information about the client’s mission, vision, positioning, etc for their business.
Usually, I fill this page in from the information I get during the Discovery Session and the Questionnaire.
Most of my projects require user personas to help me paint a clear picture of my client’s business and their ideal customer.
For this, I have a Gallery Database to create User Personas. Once I click on the + button, it will open a new page as shown below:
I give a name to the Persona and click on the User Persona template. This page includes all the information necessary for crafting User Personas.
I can add an image, demographics, bio, goals, needs, personality, and other information usually required for creating User Personas.
By making this as a template, I can quickly create as many User Personas I want without manually going through the process each time.
This page is a database for collecting or creating the Brand Guidelines for the project. If the client already has a Brand Guidelines document, I collect this information and add it here in an organized manner. If not, I create and add the information here.
This database has the following pages:
I won’t go through each page in detail but let me share the screenshots of each page and how I use them:
I add all the brand logos and include usage guidelines on how to use them. Usually used for branding projects where I have to give guidelines to my clients on how to use their brand logo.
Used for adding color palettes of the brand for quick access. The page can also be exported as a PDF in order to send to the client.
Primarily used during web design projects where I have to define the type scale for the website.
Tone & Voice
It’s a page that includes guidelines of the brand’s tone, voice, and personality.
I add all icons used for the project here along with some guidelines on how to use them.
The same as the Iconography page but for collecting and defining guidelines for Illustrations.
This page is used for adding all the brand photos and guidelines on how to use them.
Used for adding all the brand videos and guidelines on how to use them.
This is a blank page where I document all my user research findings and information. It helps me organize all my findings in a single place.
On this page, I have several sections with Gallery Databases to create my moodboards. This way, I can easily create separate moodboards for layout, typography, colors, etc.
If I wish to create an image moodboard, I open the Image Board of the respective section and insert an image.
I’ve also added buttons on each board that helps me insert an image in a single click instead of adding an image block each time.
I’ve done the same for Video Boards where I can quickly add videos for inspiration.
The Moodboard page helps me organize my inspiration in one place. I no longer have to save images on Pinterest, Dribbble, or any other places where I look for inspiration.
This page is used for taking notes of the discussions made with my clients during calls. This is very helpful because I no longer have to open a notepad and write notes half-assed.
As you can see, this page contains a table named Call Notes. Whenever I have a call with the client, I add a new entry to the table. I add the topic along with the date of the call.
The Topic column helps me know what the call was about if I ever want to go back to this page. I’ve added the following options in the Topic columns.
Once an entry is added, I open the page of that entry and click on the Project Meeting template that I’ve created.
This template includes sections such as Agenda, Call Notes, and Tasks.
This helps me clearly document everything discussed on the call and the tasks I have to do after the call.
The Content Sharing page is used to collect content from my clients. It contains a button to a new Google Docs file.
Whenever the client shares content in a Google Docs file, I link it here.
This page is used to share designs with my clients. As you can see from the image below, I have buttons for different files.
Usually, I work on Figma, so I frequently use the first button that lets me embed a Figma file to the page.
Besides that, if I ever want to share an image or PDF with the client, I can add it with a single click and share this page with the client.
This allows me to share all the design files with my clients from a central location. I no longer have to email or message the files to my clients.
Since I’ve made sharing designs easy and quick, I’ve also done the same for collecting feedback. Whenever I have to collect design feedback from my clients, I share this page with them.
As you can see, this page has a button named Collect Design Feedback. Clicking on this button automatically creates a page where I can share the design file, add some description to give context and ask questions to get their feedback.
At the end of the page, I’ve also added one Add Loom Feedback button that lets the client embed a Loom video.
So, if a client wants to share feedback on a Loom video, this makes it easy for them to do so.
Whenever I have to collect feedback, I can create a feedback page with a single click and have all client feedback on a central page for quick access.
Development & Hand-off
The last page in the Project Dashboard is the Development & Hand-off where I add PDF documents to deliver to the client.
I also have a section on this page to share account credentials. This is helpful in cases where I have to share the website or any account credentials with my clients.
So, that’s all about the Project Dashboard and the CRM where I manage all my design projects.
By looking at my setup, you must’ve realized that this CRM runs like a well-oiled machine that helps me manage all my projects without any fuss.
But the tour is not over yet!
I’ve still got to show you the other pages in my workspace.
The Finances Dashboard
Next up is the Finances Dashboard where I manage all my income and expenses. Here’s what this page looks like:
This has the following four tables:
The Income table consists of all the income I generate. Here’s an overview of this table:
It’s a simple yet advanced table with the following columns:
The table also has a Relation column that connects to the Balance table which we’ll get into shortly.
The Expenses table is quite similar to the Income table. But it has a few extra columns to help me manage expenses more responsibly.
Here are the columns in this table:
Just like the Income table, this table also has a relation column that connects to the Balance table.
The Subscriptions Tracker is a linked database of the Expenses table that only shows expenses that are subscriptions.
This is done by setting up a filter that only shows entries that have the column Type as Subscriptions.
The Balance table where I calculate the Profit generated from my income and expenses. As you can see from the image below, it also has a Profit Goal column that allows me to set my financial goals right on this page.
It also shows a progress bar that helps me visualize the progress towards my goal.
But how do the Income and Expenses from the two tables below get calculated here?
One way of doing this is to manually enter the total income and profit into the respective columns in the Balance table.
But I found a better way.
Remember the Relation columns in the Income and Expenses tables? Well, those come into play here.
So, whenever I add an entry to the Income or Expenses table, I add that entry to the Balance table through the Relation columns.
Then, I use the Rollup property in the Total Income and Total Expense column to roll up or calculate the sum of all individual income and expenses respectively.
Lastly, the Profit column is a Formula property that subtracts the Total Income from the Total Expenses.
Wondering how I created the progress bar? Here’s the formula:
format(slice("▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓", 0, floor(prop("Profit") / prop("Profit Goal") * 10)) + format(slice("░░░░░░░░░░", 0, ceil(10 - prop("Profit") / prop("Profit Goal") * 10)) + " " + format(round(prop("Profit") / prop("Profit Goal") * 100)) + (empty(prop("Profit")) ? "0%" : "%")))
So, this is how I manage my Finances in Notion without it being too overwhelmingly complex. Yes, the setup is advanced but it’s still simple and easy to use.
Social Media Calendar
Another massive database in my setup is the Social Media Calendar. On the surface, here’s what the calendar looks like:
I have a Content Ideas board where I add all the ideas I get. I’ve divided this board into two sections namely Ideas Dump and Under Consideration.
As the name suggests, the Ideas Dump column is for dumping all the ideas I have no matter how good or bad they are.
Once an idea seems to be good enough for posting, I add it to the Under Consideration column.
After considering the idea and researching it a bit, I drag it to my Calendar. Once an idea is dropped to the Calendar, it means it has to be posted.
Here’s what the Idea card looks like when its added to the Calendar:
It has the following columns:
Inside this card, there are templates for each type of content. Let’s take a look at the Carousel template:
As you can see, I can directly start writing the copy inside the page. I also have a checklist on the right side to make sure I do everything before publishing the post.
Each template is designed for its own post type. For instance, here’s the template for Reels:
And here’s the one for Text posts:
Besides the Calendar, I also have pages for each platform.
Let’s take a look at one of them:
Here’s the page for the Instagram platform and you can see that I’ve added different sections on this page.
I have added a section for Goals, 3-Month Objectives, Types of Content I’ll post, and Format & Frequency of each post type.
I use this template for all the platforms with some minor changes here and there. Having separate pages like this one for each platform allows me to properly document and plan the goals I have for each platform.
Instead of haphazardly posting content with no goals, I can now set and organize goals for each platform I focus on.
Lastly, I have two more pages on my Social Media Calendar. Let’s first take a look at the Images & Dimensions page:
This page is a database of sizes and dimensions of images of different platforms. I created this database so that I don’t have to look up the sizes and dimensions whenever I’m creating images.
The second page is the Hashtags Database which stores all the hashtags I use when sharing content on my social channels.
This page consists of a Gallery Database where I add all the hashtags I use.
Then, I use the Hashtags Sets table to combine all those hashtags into different sets. This way, I can easily create different sets of hashtags and copy them instantly instead of manually writing hashtags every single time.
Tracking Goals Effectively
To track my goals effectively, I’ve created a Goal Tracker database where I list down all the goals I want to achieve along with other information to help me complete those goals.
As you can see from the image, this database contains two tables namely Goals and Practices Tracker.
The Goals database is where I add all my goals. Each card contains the following columns:
The Practices Tracker table is where I add all the tasks or practices I have to do in order to achieve my goals.
I add practices to this table and connect it with the Goals table using the Relation property in Notion.
I’ve also added a progress bar to both the tables to help visualize my progress and push me harder to achieve the goals.
Tracking Habits In A Simplified Manner
Sometimes, there are small habits you want to follow every day but can’t because you don’t have a proper structure in place.
This was the case with me and that’s why I created a Habits Tracker page. Initially, I wanted to keep my habits on the Goals Tracker page but they were small daily habits that didn’t need a Goal.
So, I created this page:
It’s a simple table where I just add a date for a new entry and check the boxes for the habits I’ve completed.
I’ve tried using many habit tracker templates on the Internet but they overcomplicate the simple stuff which prevents you from following your habits regularly.
With this simple page, I can easily track my habits easily.
Track The Books You Read
If you love reading books, you’re going to love this Book Tracker database. Here’s what my Book Tracker database looks like:
As you can see, it’s a simple gallery where I list down the books I want to read and the books I’ve read.
This was done by creating two different views like this:
Once I open a Book page, I can write down all the notes of the book here by clicking on the Add Notes button.
Simple, isn’t it?
A Daily Journal For A Fulfilling Life
While I’m not good at journaling, I still created this database because it’s helpful for living a happy and fulfilling life.
It also helps you track your daily mood, effectiveness, and more. This is what my Daily Journal database looks like:
The database consists of a single List table where I add entries every single day. Once I add an entry, I can add the following information:
These are the things I like to journal:
Besides this, each journal entry page has Add New Journal template that lets you add more information about your day.
Once you click on this template, it’ll add a few questions on the page that you can answer to describe and journal your day.
As a designer, journaling can be very effective to jot down your daily thoughts and create order in a life full of chaos.
Get Our Notion Workspace To Manage Your Design Life
So, that’s the workspace I use to manage my life as a designer. If you liked this workspace, then you can start using it now.
I’ve bundled my workspace into a template that you can purchase at an affordable price and manage your entire design work and life.
Think about all the tools you’ll be able to ditch if you move to Notion for managing your design projects.
Before using Notion for design work, I had to rely on the following tools:
Now, I’ve ditched all these tools and use Notion entirely for all my design projects. It not only saves time but also the headache of going back and forth between so many tools.
If you’re struggling with the same problem of dangling between so many tools, I’d highly recommend you check out my Notion template.
I’m pretty sure you’ll never look back!