Bullet Journaling or bujo was developed by Ryder Carroll as a way to increase productivity, reduce overwhelm and stay organized. Essentially, it’s a journal where you can track to-do lists, keep a calendar, jot down notes, and track goals. The difference between a bullet journal and a regular planner is that you get to design your bullet journal from scratch! You purchase a blank or dot grid journal and create the pages you need. While it takes time to set up, the result is totally customized to your specific needs.

So, how you can use a bullet journal for your business? It turns out that although this system is often used for personal development, the layouts can also be optimized for professional needs including goal setting, tracking progress, time management, keeping a calendar, brainstorming and so much more.

Check out these 6 ways to use your bullet journal to organize your business and increase your productivity.


1. Set year-long goals and track your progress

Image credit: @ivanajournals
Image credit: @ivanajournals

Visually divide your annual plan into monthly, weekly and daily sections with the bullet journal and write down your goals. There are several options you might like to try including the future log, and the year at a glance. The bullet journal builds on your ability to take a quick overall inventory of your business, and consider pivots. Because the bullet journal can become a record of a business’s successes, failures and overarching patterns, it is a great tool for reflection and analysis at the end of each year. The insights that come from last year then become the framework for the new year’s annual planning.


2. Examine how you are spending your time each month

Image credit: @lolastarryart
Image credit: @lolastarryart

Avoid the feeling that each month is flowing into the next without any changes to your big annual goals. Use the monthly overview spread to see key deadlines, events and launches at a glance. This is a great place to track goal progress. Some journalers use a graph to make checking in simple. Think of the monthly overview spread is like a check-in point. The previous month can easily be referenced while working in the current month and occasionally recording future items in the following months. Annual goals that continue from month to month, are easily reviewed while specific priorities for the current month are clearly noted. From here, your weeks and days can be broken down into small tasks that work towards the goals and priorities of that month.


3. Track your time

track your time
Image Credit: @mashaplans

There are a lot of methods to try in the time management area of bullet journaling. You may want to plan, track or leverage your time and there are methods for each!

Here, Masha Plans demonstrates how to use a color-coded graph in her bullet journal to track how her time is spent. Most of us want to jump right into planning our time, but planning can be unrealistic if we don’t already have a sense of how much time things usually take us and what we spend most of our time doing. A tracking system helps to identify where we are to start, making the planning portion simpler. The tracker can also act as an accountability technique each day.

The Daily Plan Bar can help when you’re ready to plan your time each day and be more efficient with it. When you want to level up your productivity, use the 1-2-3-4 method for leveraging time management. The idea of this method is to build momentum by completing a simple task, followed by a slightly longer task before transitioning to a big task and wrapping up with a fun and rewarding task.


4. Manage projects and plan content

bullet journal
Image credit: @ivanajournals

Content is strategic and it often involves logistics, preparation and so much time. These are the reasons so many of us business owners put it off. Having a repeatable system to plan within will help to calm the overwhelm and break content processes into steps. Try having a calendar that corresponds to platforms, preparations needed and duration of the project. Also, note how deadlines affect launches and other key areas of your business. In the example here, the calendar is vertical which makes for a simple, easy-to-read space for content titles. Projects other than content can also be tackled in your bullet journal. Set up your spread with a clear timeline section, goals and outcomes and individual tasks. This video is a great guide to get you started on project management in your bullet journal.


5. Brainstorming

masha plans bullett journal
Image Credit: @mashaplans

The brain dump is a powerful tool that can be used in many different ways including bullet journaling. Sometimes it can be used to record brainstorming for a new project. As creatives, sometimes a great new idea hits us while we should be working on another project with an approaching deadline. Instead of losing track of this idea, take 10 minutes to record everything you’re thinking about it in your bullet journal and revisit it at a better time. Brain dump is also a great way to end your workday. Taking 10 minutes to write down where you left off, what you want to do next, thoughts and reflections on the day keeps you from worrying over work until 2 in the morning. Your brain dump may simply be a list, or it may look more like a bubble chart or doodle page.


6. Self-care and balance

hand drawing in bullet journal

A precarious balance between work and the rest of life is common for small business owners. It’s easy to let the scales tip too far into work. Take a step back each week or even each day to keep track of where your time and energy are going. A visual tracker is a great alternative to a purely number-based log. Reflecting on your intentions for the day or recording business-related gratitude can shift your mindset during a frustrating day. The mental break of journaling or recording self-care items is an opportunity to reset and manage stress in the business. Self-care spreads could also include affirmations, and tracking physical and emotional wellness.

The bullet journal is a tool that can be a little intimidating to begin with, but the point of the system is to simplify and improve any aspect of our lives we’re hoping to level up. If you need a place to begin, try purchasing existing spreads from Etsy sellers or on Creative Market, but in the end you may find that your pages end up being a true reflection of your individuality so make it your own. Bring your style and creativity into your bullet journal to help make managing your business easy and joyful.

Carrie Miller

Carrie Miller


Carrie Miller is the textile artist and designer of the Natural Luxury collection. She specializes in botanical dyes, handweaving, and silk painting. Carrie is also a marketing consultant and writer who lives to be in the mountains near her home in Colorado.

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