What is a Bullet Journal and How Can Your Small Business Use One?

What is a Bullet Journal?

Got millions of ‘to-dos’ floating around in your head? Responding to emails, updating employee data, sorting out inventory, small businesses are hit with endless tasks on a daily basis. To ensure none of these important business tasks get pushed to the back of your mind and eternally forgotten, it might be wise to start a bullet journal.

What is a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a system of journaling and note-taking using bullet points. The purpose of the bullet system is to jot down incoming information and daily tasks, so they are processed, executed and don’t go forgotten.

Bullet journals come in a myriad of formats, with digital systems now available. However, many businesses prefer the old-fashioned pen and paper system.

How to Create a Bullet Journal

The idea is that as traditional journaling and note-taking centered on full, lengthy sentences takes time, constructing to do lists and notes in easy-to-follow bullet points is significantly quicker to create.

Bullet journals can be composed using a language known as Rapid Logging. Rapid Logging includes four components — topics, page numbers, short sentences and bullets.

Correctly-formatted bullet journals include a topic in the top corner of the page. The topic related to the tasks on the page in order to give clarity to the entry. For example, the topic might be ‘employees’ or ‘sales’, whereby all information entered on the page relates to ‘employee’ tasks or ‘sales’ tasks respectively.

Pages in a bullet journal should also be numbered so they can be referred to quickly and conveniently.

Every entry put in the journal should be bulleted and written in short, concise and objective sentences. The rapid logging system comprises of different symbols/bullets which denote different categories in the journal, including tasks, events and notes. A ‘.’ bullet represent tasks, events are denoted by an ‘O’, a ‘_’ represents facts.

Such bullets are a vital part of the journal as it brings visual organization to the data, helping you, not only organize data and information more quickly, but also reference it at a glance.

The status of tasks should also be logged through quick and easy to categorize and understand symbols. An ‘X’ represents and task is complete. An ‘>’ shows a task is migrated and an ‘<’ represents a task is scheduled.

For example, ‘. x sign office lease’, would show, at a glance, that the task of signing the office lease is now complete.

Projects and launches can be added to the list as they come in. The bullet journal should be used to capture new information to help you stay on track of tasks and projects.

Small Business Benefits of Using a Bullet Journal

Whilst creating and, importantly, maintaining a bullet journal might seem like a fairly basic and even mundane tool, this simple to create, navigate and update system can help a business owner or entrepreneur see, at a glance, where they need to be spending their time and which tasks can be put on the backburner.

Provides Customizable Planner Costing Virtually Nothing

Bullet journals are customized and tailored so they meet the unique tasks and objectives of your own business or entrepreneurial venture. Furthermore, if you’re operating your small business on a tight financial leash, rather than having to spend a fortune on state-of-the-art planners, a bullet journal costs little more than a notepad and a pen!

Allows Simple Set Up and Maintain

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are strapped for time and the beauty of the bullet journal is that no complex system needs to be learned. Other than remembering a few simple symbols, bullet journals can be set up and learned in an instant.

Keeps Your Business Organized

Having a visual, easy-to-read to do list in front of you allows you to instantly see what you need to do each day. Subsequently, you can prioritize tasks with greater ease and help keep all those vital business tasks, procedures and projects on track, so nothing important gets left in the dark.

Inspires Productivity and Satisfaction

There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing tasks marked as complete on a to do list. Such satisfaction can lead to a more productive day’s work as you strive to get everything ‘ticked off’ the list. Not only this but having all those vital tasks completed by the end of the week, means you can put your feet up and relax at the weekend without having to worry about work.

Depending on whether you are a ‘pen and paper’ kind of person or prefer to rely on digital organization by working your bullet journal into a word document or an excel spreadsheet, bullet journals are a flexible, inexpensive and simple way to help keep your business — not to mention your mental well being — on track and running smoothly.

Photo via Shutterstock

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

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