Using a Bullet Journal Professionally
Before you immediately start asking “why are we talking about this fad?”, hear me out! I had the same thought. Then there was an issue with the planner I had ordered for 2017, and I found myself almost in February with limited options to buy for a reasonable price to get what I needed out of a planner. That was when I thought, why not? What’s there to lose? I’ll give it a try!
If you look up Bullet Journals, or BuJo for short, you’ll find a lot of layouts, ideas, tips, and how to get started. A BuJo can be so many things- basically whatever you need it to be! It can serve as your to do lists, planner, journal, a combination of these things (and more!) with purpose and a little prepping included!
Needless to say, I’m hooked! I’ve been using it since then, and I’ll never look back. It has been so helpful for me in various aspects of my life such as keeping track of my to do lists, goals, habits, blog lists, social media data, and social media plans to name a few. I've used it for one-off's such as when I was switching jobs to keep track of applications and eventually what I needed to do when I switched. I started my personal bullet journal (or BuJo for short) in January, and in August I decided to delve into a BuJo for my professional life!
Some people like to keep it all in one BuJo, but I personally like to keep my personal and professional life as separate as possible. I have to actively make sure I’m not constantly a work-a-holic so this helps tremendously. I tried to jump into the digital age with apps, online calendars, and online to do lists, but these things just didn’t work for me. There is something about writing it down and marking things off of a to do list and the fact that I can’t just accidentally or purposefully swipe a notification away and forget about it!
I use my favorite pens, stickers, and a notebook that I can fit in my bags for my BuJo. Of course mine are not perfect like the photos you might find online, but that’s the beauty of it- they do not need to be! I can change it along the way to fit my needs or when I find something that works for me. I’m not stuck to one layout for the entire calendar, fiscal, or school year. There’s room to experiment, improve, and make mistakes along the way.
Let’s talk about my professional BuJo now:
First of all, we’ve all heard that writing things down is better than typing- especially for notes. This doesn’t just apply to school but to work and meetings as well. If I’m taking notes by hand, I find that I have more ideas and pay attention a lot better. I also remember things easier and have room for ideas I might have along the way.
I’m able to keep track of my to do lists for each day and know when I have moved things around. I have the big picture in mind too for the year, the month, the quarter, and even the week! When I go through emails or what is on my radar, I add things to my to do list for specific days so that I don't just have a massive to do list that might never be completely finished, but a reasonable and actionable list for each day. I have a month view and create my week views the Friday before the new week.
My BuJo is also where I write down my meetings and a tentative schedule. I jot down a list of what my day will look like at the end of the previous day so I can glance at it if I’m wondering what the next day holds before I go to bed or during my commute. You see, for a few reasons, I do not have my calendar or email on my personal phone. I noticed I was having a hard time with wanting to know what was next on my radar. The BuJo I use for work came into play! That way I know what is on the horizon for the next day. This has also helped with my work-life balance because I’m really bad about constantly checking my email.
I’m glad I have a BuJo for work and a personal one. It helps keeps things separate. I do however plug in anything that might be important for me to have on my radar in both BuJo's. If I have something planned after work, I have it noted so that I make sure to leave at the end of the work day. If I have a big meeting, travel, or things that aren’t part of the normal workday or schedule, I mark in my personal journal.
You can also utilize a tracker to keep track of how much time you spend on emails, in meetings, etc.
I write my notes for meeting, when I’m brainstorming, or working on a project in the BuJo as well.
There are so many directions you could and so many uses for it as well. You could stick with a general BuJo for work or specific ones for your marketing plan, major projects or launches. keeping track of data, event planning, and more! If you have any disabilities or mental health diagnoses, a BuJo can help as well (and not just personally).
There are specialty notebooks, stickers, specific pens, and more that you could use, but a notebook and a pen is all you need to get started! Whether you decided to keep it all in one BuJo or separate them depending on your needs, this can be a great tool for your professional life (and maybe even your personal life).