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Staying organized Planning

How a Bullet Journal Can Help You Plan and Organize Your Business

Krista McDonald, 01/11/2018,

Half of 2017 was spent wondering what the hell I should be working on right now.

I used to use my phone and laptop for most planning sprinkled with meeting notes and post-its. Everytime I sat down at my desk I found myself asking myself, “What am I even doing?!” There was too much time searching and flipping back and forth between applications and then not fully consuming all the info.

Visual Planning for Visual People

I discovered bullet journaling by accident while perusing new notebooks at my local bookstore. This one labeled “bullet journal” had a brief intro on how to use the notebook, and once I started researching further on YouTube, I knew this would be a great way to get all my tasks and references into one place.

Don’t be dissuaded by the use of the word journal. Many people do use theirs as a typical journal, but the main use is to organize your year, months, and days in a more visual and accessible way.

You can be as creative or utilitarian with it as you want. I tend to stay on the utilitarian/minimalist end with mine as I don’t like feeling pressured to decorate each spread.

I recommend visiting the bullet journal website and watching these YouTube videos for a brief history and inspiration before starting your own.

Setup for Storeowners

The best part about bullet journaling is that you can create specific pages that you can reference on a daily basis. I have created pages for “Hex Codes to remember”, “2018 goals”, “things to look up”, and “feature ideas”. Ryder Caroll, the creator of bullet journaling calls these collections and they are generally kept at the start of your journal before your monthly and weekly spreads so you can easily reference them. Here’s how to get started:

Index + Key

Index and Key

If you’re using the bullet journal notebook, it comes pre-filled with a key and index. Full disclaimer: I don’t use either of these. They key is a way for you to label list items as: to do, started, finished, events, notes, migrated to another day, etc. I personally don’t like crossing out my to-do’s as I find it hard to refer back to items I’ve completed. So I use a simple “x”. Decide what works for you and stick to it. If it helps, create a key that you can refer back to.

If you want an easy way to find pages, be sure to list them in your index.

Future Log

Future Log

Your future log is your year-at-a-glance. Don’t get too detailed here, as you don’t have too much room. I use mine for birthdays, important events, and vacations.

Campaign Calendar

You can use your future log to plan out your campaign calendar ahead of time. For each campaign make a checklist of marketing deliverables you’ll need to create and migrate those items to your weekly to-dos when it’s appropriate. Check out our 2018 ecommerce calendar to help you get started.

2018 Stats Tracker

Stats Tracker

Track your social media, email stats, and monthly website traffic. While there are definitely more intelligent online software that does this automatically, you might find that writing it down reminds you to take a look at your stats on a weekly basis.

Month-to-Month

Monthly Log

At the beginning of each month spend 10 minutes setting up your pages so you don’t have to worry about it each day. Your first spread will by your monthly calendar. There is a multitude of ways to set this up. The most basic way is just to list out dates vertically down the left side of the page with corresponding days of the week.

Brain Dump

I like to leave a couple pages blank each month for sketching out ideas. You could use it for future product ideas or for planning. It’s always great to take a look back at these in future months if you’re running low on creativity.

Weekly Spread

Weekly Log

Personally, I don’t like to split my to-dos by day as it generally takes me longer to get things done than just one day. But do what works for you. If you’re like me and have a lot of weekly tasks as opposed to daily, simply write the date range at the top of the page and start a running task list. I’ll spend 15 minutes on Monday organizing my tasks and then add things to the list throughout the week. Refer to your key to mark items as priority, done, half done, events, etc.

Tips for organizing

Tips

  • Don’t stress about mistakes! If you mess up, simply use white-out or paste a piece of paper over top
  • Experiment. Figure out what works for you over time.
  • Keep the structure loose and create pages as you go.
  • If you keep your journal open next to you all day, you’re bound to use it more.
  • If you miss a week, no biggy. The great thing about creating your own layouts as you go, is no wasted pages!

Happy planning! Share your bullet journal spreads with us on Instagram @gooten_inc #planuary.

What are you thoughts/plans/etc for getting organized? Our favorite comment will get a Bullet Journal!

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