Bullet journaling started making its mark in early 2016 and has since held a steady grasp on the organization and productivity community. Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, a bullet journal is also a great tool to get your business organized.
Whether you are a long-time bullet journaler or a beginner, here is everything you need to know about bullet journaling to help you organize and boost your business productivity and efficiency.
What is bullet journaling?
A bullet journal is a customizable productivity and migration system for organizing your life. It can contain your schedules, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming ideas, and tasks in a single notebook. When used efficiently, you can use it to plan for your future and manage all aspects of your 9 to 5.
The original bullet journal was conceptualized by Ryder Carroll, who wanted a simple way of organizing all of his to-dos in one notebook when he was in college. After graduating, he created the bullet journal method.
Bullet journaling started simple and minimalist, but people soon wanted to put their own spin on it, resulting in creative and detailed bullet journal spreads. However, your journal can truly be whatever you want it to be.
What is in a bullet journal?
In a bullet journal, you can create calendar spreads to keep track of your important dates, a monthly spread for a brief overview of your events and tasks for the month, and a weekly spread to see tasks for the week.
Additionally, some people like to track their mental health and record short- and long-term goals. By the end of the year, you can look back and see how much you have accomplished and what you can improve on.
What are the benefits of a business bullet journal?
1. Organization and productivity
Many people use bullet journals to organize their lives and boost productivity. The bullet journal migration system is set up to allow you to see your goals, schedules, tasks, reminders, to-do lists, and ideas. If something is not accomplished or you need to reschedule a task or event, you migrate that item to the next day, week, or month.
By writing things down, you have a greater chance of memorizing what you need to do and manifesting your goals. Additionally, seeing your goals on paper will give you an added push to keep working towards them.
Using a bullet planner lets you be more productive by helping you focus and write down all the tasks that need to be done within the day or week. Most of the time, people will break down these tasks into smaller and more achievable sub-tasks so that they can be accomplished on time.
2. Self-development and improvement
A bullet journal allows you to reflect on what has been happening.
Here are a couple of reflection questions to think about:
- What business goals did you achieve?
- What things can you improve on to advance toward your business goals?
- Do you need to challenge yourself more?
Reflecting and asking yourself questions about your achievements, future challenges, and potential growth will allow you to make clearer headway toward your goals.
3. Better for your mental health
Let’s be honest. Running a business is a challenging task. When things go wrong, your business and mental health may suffer.
Many studies indicate that journaling helps your mental health. It can help control how you feel and improve your mood by helping you prioritize your problems, concerns, fears, and negative thoughts. Journaling can also reduce signs of stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, journaling lets you open up about how you feel about yourself and your business.
How to get started with your business bullet journal
Step 1. Buy a bullet journal
It doesn’t matter whether you want to go digital or physical, but having one centralized bullet journal is the most common method for starting.
a. Physical bullet journal
For a physical bullet journal, you can use anything from a school notebook to a more fancy Moleskine.
Journals come in many different styles—from dotted, lined, to freestyle—for you to write in. Additionally, many brands specialize in creating bullet journals, resulting in higher quality paper, no bleed-through, and the potential to watercolor inside your journal.
If you’re simply wanting to try out this journaling method, buying a cheap notebook is the best way to get started. If you find that you like bullet journaling, you can always invest in a higher-quality journal once you’re ready to commit.
b. Digital bullet journal
Digital bullet journaling consists of journaling using a tablet, iPad, or laptop.
With the right app, you can even integrate the software with your calendar and other productivity apps to sync all your devices with your bullet journal.
Step 2. Consider some stationary options
From pens, pencils, markers, and even stickers and washi tape, the possibilities are endless.
But to get started, all you need is a pen or pencil. Starting out does not need to be expensive. As long as you have something to write with, then you can get started.
Step 3. Create a bullet journal key
What is a key? A key is what makes a bullet journal different from a to-do list.
Essentially, it provides a pictographic shorthand that shows what tasks you need to complete, if they are completed, if they need to be moved, and other important topics such as notes, events, and cancellations.
Using a key will help you stay on top of your tasks. If you don’t complete your task, they need to be moved over for the following day or week.
7 small business bullet journal ideas for beginners
Here are 7 ideas for spreads and pages that you can add to your business bullet journal:
1. Bullet journal yearly spread
If you want to use a yearly spread, think about yearly items you want to track. This spread can include tax filing dates, inventory restocks, annual sales, etc.
People often create a “year-at-a-glance” to see every important date for the year.
2. Bullet journal monthly spread
The next spread you might wish to create is a monthly spread. For example, if you are creating a spread for February, then you include what you want to do for that month.
A monthly spread can include things you want to track, such as finances and habits. Most bullet journals for businesses have a social media tracker and a social media content calendar to track when posts go out and how many followers they have gained for the month.
3. Bullet journal weekly spread
A weekly spread is for your week. It is a page per week where each day, you would include ongoing tasks, to-do lists, notes, and anything you want to do for that week.
If a weekly spread doesn’t provide enough space, you can create daily spreads to track your daily tasks. Using a daily schedule compared to a weekly spread lets you track what you need to do day by day.
4. Expenses and finances
Finances are one of the most popular items to track in a bullet journal.
An easy way to track your business finances is with an expense tracker. An expense tracker lets you log all your expenses, plan for daily, weekly, and monthly purchases, monitor your subscriptions, work towards your savings, and track any debt you might have.
So if you’re receiving paper receipts, simply write down your expenses in your journal.
However, if manually tracking expenses becomes too much of a hassle, consider receipt management software like Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed is a digital receipt tracking software that allows you to scan your receipts, export them, and share your account with your business partner or accountant. With any of their plans, you can send a pile of receipts in their prepaid Magic Envelope, which will be sent to Shoeboxed’s processing facility for everything to be scanned into your account.
5. Habit tracker sheet
Think about the business habits you want to track.
A possible list of things you can track as a small business owner include the following:
- Network connections
- Social media posts
- Brainstorm ideas
Many like to track their habits by listing numbers and marking the days they completed their habit. But there are other variations to try as well.
6. Lists your tasks and to-dos
A bullet journal helps keep you organized and productive. And one of the ways to do that is to write down your tasks and to-dos.
By writing down your tasks, you prioritize, stop procrastinating, and improve your time management.
7. Visual and track your goals
As part of your self-development and improvement, a bullet journal lets you track and see your yearly, monthly, and weekly goals.
Think about your business goals and write them down. Such as tracking toward a goal of 1,000 sales or tracking towards X amount of money to expand your business. Similar to a habit tracker, there are many ways to set up a goals page to help you see and visualize it.
A bullet journal for business owners can be simple and minimalist. After all, a bullet journal is designed to keep your life organized, including your business life. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the layout and discover what works for you. There are many great sources of inspiration that you can find online, including on Youtube and Pinterest.
You can stuff your receipts into one of our Magic Envelopes (prepaid postage within the US). Use our receipt tracker + receipt scanner app (iPhone, iPad and Android) to snap a picture while on the go. Auto-import receipts from Gmail. Or forward a receipt to your designated Shoeboxed email address.
Turn your receipts into data and deductibles with our expense reports that include IRS-accepted receipt images.
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