‘The Bullet Journal method will help you accomplish more by working less. It helps you identify and focus on what is meaningful by stripping away what is meaningless” (Carroll 2018)
When I started my food safety business 2 years ago I made a decision to write things down as that is how I remember information and collect my thoughts.
I literally wrote down everything and anything connected to my business, and I mean everything. I started scribbling notes on ‘funding a small business’, ‘How to do a self assessment tax return’, ‘writing a business plan’ ‘key market trends and ideas in the catering industry’, ‘mentoring notes’ , types of business accounts, setting up a website – you get the picture?
The upshot is I now have about 8 notebooks with lots of disorganized information. I have tried sticking post-it notes on pages so I can identify the topic I am looking for, or putting in section tabs. Frankly though it’s a bit of a mess and totally unworkable. I have been looking for an alternative solution and researched and tried quite a few productivity apps but they don’t seem to gel with me. I just don’t want to do this digitally. I want to write down everything connected with my business with a pen on a piece of paper.
In a recent mentoring session my mentor asked me if I had ever thought of or already do ‘bullet journaling’, to which I replied, ‘No’. But I know a few people who do and they love it. I had just never thought how it could be used as a business tool.
She told me she introduced bullet journaling to her staff and now they all do it. She suggested I try a book called ‘The Bullet Journal Method’ by Ryder Carroll to see what I thought. I impulsively bought it the same day and read about 100 pages that night.
Carroll (2018) talks about a friend who started graphic designer freelancing who “tried a few apps to keep himself organized, but none were as flexible as he needed. He took to keeping notebooks of to-do lists, but they were a mess. He started Googling and eventually found BulletJournal.com….provided a framework that allowed……to explore his potential”.
Note taking v bullet journaling
On reading this, I had a total lightbulb moment, this was me. This is what I had been doing all this time- I had been notetaking but it was not helping me get organized. All my notes were unstructured and not indexed, finding anything involved wasting a lot of my precious time. Flicking through the said books I was just getting frustrated that I couldn’t find that piece of information or advice.
Also my ‘to do’ list just got lost in the mass of information being recorded so it never got done properly. I was writing things down in lots of places so I would see them and not forget.
So I have started my first BuJo and have started putting together daily, monthly and weekly logs. I am indexing everything (so it can easily be found) and included collections for my business and personal projects. Also trackers for the things that are important to me.
At the moment I am still learning the system and the tools that I can use to create and adapt what works for me and my business. My favourite part is that you can personalise your bullet journal and no two are the same. It’s aim is to make life simpler with more purpose and productivity. I mean who wouldn’t want that? So you can have one for work and one for home. But I want to keep it simple and everything is going in the one journal.
Give it a go
So if like me you have a very busy home and work life and feel a little overwhelmed by all the myriad of decisions you need to make every day. And you want to be more productive and calmer, you could try the bullet journaling method.
In this crazy world of technology it may seem strange and archaic to go for the ‘pen and paper method’. However there is a huge community of Bullet Journalers who swear by this method so I am willing to give it a try, are you?
Carroll, R., The Bullet Journal Method (2018) 4th Estate, London.