I’ve been a planner nerd for a while but never got into Bullet Journaling; it felt way too intimidating to have no real “structure” to it. A Bullet Journal or BuJo could be anything you want it to be…but what did I want it to be?
Also, I am a creative person but am NOT artistic. My stick figures rarely look like people, you know? The thought of water coloring pages or just doodling gave me anxiety to think about, which I would assume is pretty much the opposite of the intent of it!
Lately, though, I've been thinking more and more about how I wanted to get back into journaling for the sake of clearing my mind. My problem, though, is that my journal sits beside my bed and is rarely taken out of that spot. So the only time I’ll use it is when I’m about to go to bed and I’m already exhausted. I wanted to have some sort of journal that I could take around with me to help keep me focused and stop my incessant use of Post-It notes that get lost along the way.
So I picked up Ryder Carroll’s book, a dot matrix notebook and have been giving BuJo-ing a try. It’s quite minimal (again, not artistic). But I’ve been feeling less overwhelmed and cluttered, especially when it comes to business stuff.
My bullet journal works like this:
I pick 4 major goals I want to accomplish that month. It could be personal or business doesn’t matter. Under the goal, I journal a little about the “Why” behind the goal – what it means to me and why I want to accomplish it. Under that, I list a reward I’ll give myself if I complete it.
Sometimes the reward isn’t a material thing (okay, most times it isn’t. Not trying to go into debt because I wrote some blog posts!) but a little extra perk like watching a movie I’ve wanted to see or spending a day doing face masks that I’ve had in my bathroom forever.
On the opposite page of those goals, I list out the tasks I need to make them happen, so now I have a semi-loose plan of action.
Each week I list out those tasks that I can accomplish each week plus the additional tasks that need to get done (appointments and such). Again, I don’t do much in the way of fancying up my journal, but I do like the idea of having a list on the right-hand side of a page and using the Dutch Door method on pages before it so that I can always see the weekly tasks and don’t have to re-write them any time I have to flip a page.
Each night I write out 3-5 tasks I need to get done the next day from the Weekly list. At the end of the day, I cross off the ones I’ve accomplished, rework or move the ones I didn’t to the next day, and do two little exercises: my big accomplishment for the day + one thing I’m grateful for. I also go back and add the weather for no real reason, I just like to have it there.
But my Bullet Journal is way more than just my planner and that’s what I want to talk about. The Journal has become a major tool in my business productivity and I now advocate using something similar with my coaching clients because it’s helped keep me way more accountable having everything in one place.
Here are some things I’ve added to my BuJo plus some other great ideas I’ve seen around:
- Blog topics
- Podcast topics
- Podcast guest ideas
- Product ideas
- Research (competitors, markets)
- Potential sponsorships/collaborations
- Social media tracker
- Stat tracker
- Branding inspiration (sort of like a scrapbook, keeping ideas and swatches of things together)
- Questions I need to answer in relation to my business (an example of one I just answered: How can I establish a ritual or trigger that will bring me into a more productive mode?)
- Money tracker
- Quarterly goals
- Future goals
- A monthly quote, thought, or a picture that will be your reference point
Some resources that I’ve found to be helpful:
- /r/BasicBulletJournals subreddit
- /r/Bulletjournal subreddit if you want to see how inspiring others can be
The things I use:
- Tombow dual-tone brush pens
- Brush pen set
- Washi tape collections (I got a few individual rolls while I was in Japan, but I find more value in getting sets of tape) to divide my days or cover up mistakes.
- This set of stencils
- I also purchased this pouch to keep everything together but am waiting for it to arrive to TBD on its usefulness.