Staying organized can be tough. Especially because it is not easy to know if you are doing it wrong. Bullet Journaling ideas for work can solve this problem and many others. These tips will actually boost your work performance. I know this because I have been there before.
- Is Bullet Journaling Good For Work?
- Why Do This? I Use (insert paid software)
- I Will Prove It to You
- How To Start
- Top Bullet Journal Ideas For Work
- 1- Start With Quick and Dirty Mind Maps
- 2- Choose Focus of Month, Week and Day
- 4- Set Your Work Color Palette Carefully
- 5- Browse for Work-Based Bullet Journal Ideas
- Two Final Tips on Keeping A Journal
- My last advice
- What about you?
A lot of people use either guided journals or bullet journals (or bujos) to organize and keep a track of their life. Especially for personal goals. If this was what you are looking for, you would probably download free printables for journaling. Or take your time and spend hours to create a good-looking piece of art as a journal page.
These printables or art pieces from other people all over the world can be found online. But People usually design them with a visual-first approach.
This is a problem. Because when you search for bullet journals, you will see misleading representations. Beautiful but intimidating works. This might be discouraging for people looking for a way to boost their efficiency. Until they learn the truth about bullet journaling.
Bullet Journal method shows the right way to plan, organize and track things fast and efficiently. It is flexible, functional and sustainable.
In other words, workplace bujo can become your best friend if you know how to use it. You don’t know much about bullet journals? Don’t worry. This post will walk you through all the steps of creating a bullet journal for work.
I am going to cover:
- How was my own experience of using bullet journals to manage my work life?
- Can something like a bullet journal be beneficial for planning and organizing your business/projects?
- How does an analog tool like a bullet journal outperform any digital project management software?
- Which studies show you probably should use a bullet journal for work?
- How to start your work journal?
- What are 5 incredible ideas for your business bujo?
I am currently working at an engineering company for almost 3 years. Some months after I started working here, I realized a thing or two about how my performance was decreasing slowly. The company’s project and team management strategy was looking like it is the work of an engineer.
Every step was perfected in terms of avoiding all communication problems and misinformation risks. It was %100 logical. But also complicated. Did you want to keep track of things about your part in a project? You would need to know what everyone is doing and how those particular works affect all other parts of the project.
There are many companies with great strategies for keeping track of projects, planning ahead and tracking tasks.
Such strategies usually end up making the system too machine-like.
Which can be a serious problem, if you are not a machine.
Our project and team management system was also making it hard to stay organized. After one year, it became a challenge for me to organize my work life and planning the future of a project.
Then I started thinking. I am using bullet journals to organize my personal life and track my personal development. Why can’t I do the same for work? So I created a new bullet journal.
It took around 3 weeks for me to create the best arrangement for my bullet journal for work pages. But after that, I realized that everything got easier and faster than before.
Yes, the bullet journal idea itself is an analog solution. But it worked much better than any digital management software, thanks to regular paper’s best feature: flexibility.
Is Bullet Journaling Good For Work?
If you want me to summarize it with a single word, I would say “good”. If you want me to use two words for the task, I would say “not good”.
This iconic phrase belongs to one of Turkey’s former prime ministers. He gave this as an answer to a question about the situation of his country’s economy. Maybe he didn’t mean anything with this answer. Maybe he was just trying to avoid answering it by giving such a funny answer. But to me, this phrase shows how giving a very short summary of an answer can cause misinformation.
A bullet journal inspiration for work can be salutary in many aspects. It can be bad too, for several other reasons. You really should just try and see for yourself. I would say, if you are managing your own business, or if you are a blogger, it will definitely have no actual disadvantages. However, if you are working for a company, you are probably doing a lot of tasks with collaboration, Right?
Collaboration is not what bujos are designed for. Also, if your work requires copying and pasting project names, task names and project steps all the time, well, you know… You can’t just copy text from literal paper. At least not without an OCR software.
Why Do This? I Use (insert paid software)
Everything is digital now. There are many software solutions to manage, organize and plan your work schedule & projects. You can choose from a number of software solutions; Trello, Hive, Monday, HubPlanner, Asana to name a few.
It wouldn’t be logical or efficient to use an analog solution in the digital world. Right?
Well, actually no.
Let me ask you a question.
Why do you think we still use a mouse and physical keyboards at the office when we can use touchscreens? Or why do most countries still have banknotes when debit cards are capable of doing any financial transaction?
Because digital is not always better.
Because sometimes, more interaction means more control.
We are analog creatures. We need analog. This is why the most successful UX solutions and digital design trends are the ones mimicking physical elements better. They use physical concepts of light, elevation, and shadow to make your brain think the interaction is an analog one.
But it is not always enough. We really are analog creatures.
I Will Prove It to You
You can find countless researches proving that handwriting outperforms writing on a screen, even if you use a physical keyboard. Writing on a paper has advantages over taking digital notes. From better memory to a better learning curve. It is backed by both cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
And there is more. Using a bullet journal for work has a huge plus: Flexibility. Whenever you discover new bullet journal ideas for work, you can just make arrangements to your journal and it is all good. These arrangements can be things you can’t possibly achieve with a digital solution.
What if you love such digital solutions? Or if you need to use one of them at your workplace? You can still use such solutions and integrate them into your work bujo.
Alice from The Geeky Burrow did it with Trello. You can learn more about her setup here. You can also check this YouTube video. It shows how you can use your work journal and sync it with Asana at the same time.
How To Start
Jody Halsted‘s blog has an amazing article about the basics of bullet journaling. Kara S. Anderson also has an inspirational post about how you can create a bullet journal and not an analog version of Evernote. Paula from imbusybeingawesome also has great tips for beginners. Her plain yet inspiring journal pages are my favorites.
For a quick start, below you can find bullets and signifiers I am using for more rapid logging.
Top Bullet Journal Ideas For Work
As I said, it took several weeks for me to shape my bujo to suit my own needs. During this time period, I have discovered some incredible bujo journaling ideas for work purposes. Here are the ones that may benefit you as well.
1- Start With Quick and Dirty Mind Maps
Effective business thinking is the key to be organized. Mind Mapping is a great method to manage work-related information overload. This overload may make your work really hard to manage. It can be a blogger’s nightmare. Mind maps will help you organize both the work-related input and your thoughts.
Usually, a mind map would look like something similar to this:
You are free to come up with your idea and modify your bullet journal mind map as you like. You can use them for risk management in your business, or for creating a price model. But before that, I would suggest you check this great post about how you can benefit from mind mapping at work.
2- Choose Focus of Month, Week and Day
You can create pages for solely mentioning your tasks or things you plan to focus on during that month. Do the same for every week of the month. You should probably create other bullet journal pages for daily tasks and goals. This last one can help you developing a habit to use your work journal daily.
You can use the same signifiers from your rapid logging sheet to prioritize some daily tasks.
I would suggest you leave the first several pages of your bullet journal empty. Because after you realize how beneficial and effective a bullet journal for business be, you will want to add more core pages. Like, yearly tasks.
Did you know that progress bars are actually much more useful when you create and fill them manually?
Yes, I am not joking.
Most progress bars you see today are getting filled automatically. It is great for stuff that you can actually count. For example, if you are downloading a file, a manual progress bar would be quite stupid.
But whenever a productivity solution for work uses a digital progress bar, it becomes kinda pointless.
I mean, you tell me; what is 43% of satisfying your client?
A good start is half of the battle. Is creating a new blank page for your next blog post mean you have completed 50% of the job?
Both for your daily and long-term goals, AND for most of the projects, “what percentage of it is done” is undeniably subjective.
This is way I am saying progress bars can be more useful, meaningful and effective when you fill them manually.
A guided bullet journal for work will probably NOT have these progress bars for daily stuff. Because you obviously don’t want to draw new progress bars every single day. Especially because you know you will fill them all completely at the end of the day. Instead, try it with long-term projects. You will realize it helps a lot!
4- Set Your Work Color Palette Carefully
Whether if you want to add spirit to your work journal or want to make certain things to stand out, you will need color. Color coding can power your bullet journal easily. Use an online tool. Also, check out this post for some tips on how to color-code your bullet journal at work.
5- Browse for Work-Based Bullet Journal Ideas
You really want to be more planned. And you need an efficient solution. Right? Otherwise, you wouldn’t read this far.
Then you should do your own research. Because browsing incredible journal ideas for your work can help you find something that can be beneficial for your specific case.
Since I am trying to boost my productivity and organize my work life for months, I did some research on the topic. Now I am going to share some of the articles helped me on the way.
- Anne Samoilov’s blog post has nice tips about journaling for business productivity.
- Jodi-Ann’s short, really fun and helpful post will stop you from wasting your valuable time.
- This post written by Heidi from paper&ink will show you how easy and effective a bullet journal at work can be.
- Kalyn Brooke’s post about journaling can be a great source of inspiration.
- HabitsBuzz’s collection is an amazing start point if you would prefer having a minimalist, efficiency-focused bullet journal.
Two Final Tips on Keeping A Journal
I have two more notes for people who might fall into one of two traps.
The first one is; don’t overdo it.
Imagine you have a blog. If you are as crazy as I am; you might be making a lot of research before each article. I usually have both a checklist of more than 50 items and a bookmark folder with more than 20 links for each article job.
Can you imagine putting all those details into the pages of your bullet journal? Would make terrible bullet journal layout ideas.
Just because your work needs saving a lot of details, you don’t need to put them all into your bullet journal at work.
That wouldn’t be useful.
So how should you do it?
It really depends on what works for your work case. But I would probably open my work bullet journal and create 4 separate progress bars for these:
- Completing online research about the job.
- Completing my checklist via virtual note-taking app
- Realizing the items on my to-do list.
- Reading the papers from my research, taking notes, and removing the bookmarks.
Not putting way too many notes and details into your bullet journal can sometimes be the wise thing to do.
My last advice
You don’t need to make it fancy. Don’t get intimidated by all the impressive bullet journal art on the web.
Just start with a blank page. Use Rapid logging. And see the magic. It is that simple.
I started simple too. I didn’t scan the web to figure out how other people are using bullet journals for work. At least not immediately went for bullet journal ideas for work.
I just started. Yes, the next several weeks was a learning experience. But if I would stop and try to create the perfect bullet journal layout ideas, I would fail or quit.
Instead, I just tried to have a working journaling method, and only developed it further when I managed to make it work.
But enough about me.
What about you?
What was your opinion on bullet journaling for work before you started reading this page?
Also, what changed after you read it?
Do you have a question about something I didn’t cover?
Let me know in the comments below!