Let’s talk about my bullet journal business planning. I‘ve brought up my bullet journals before, but I’ll go into a little bit about what I’ve done this last year. I used 3 notebooks over the last year and now have 5 new ones. Then the small business bullet journal is the one that we’re going to dive deep into.
If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal, that’s okay. I only heard about it a long time after I first started tracking my stuff in a notebook. Back in 2012, I was pregnant dealing with baby brain, graduating from college soon, and studying for a professional certification exam. I had a lot happening and needed everything done well because the education and testing was a big investment.
I stopped using a journal when I no longer had a pregnancy, school, and work to track. My system has improved since then, but if you want a better introduction of what the bullet journal is then I recommend going to the source: Ryder Caroll. His website is at bulletjournal.com and his book is called The Bullet Journal Method. I haven’t read the book, but I did review the website to see what I could do differently to improve my own system.
It’s simple and straightforward. I love it. If you want to see the notebook and pages I talk about in this post, hop into my free group to watch the video on this topic.
What notebook do I use for my bullet journal business planning?
So far, I’ve pulled my journals from my collection of unused notebooks I’ve saved over the last decade. I like pretty, sturdy, and a half- to full-sized paper with plenty of pages. These are easy to transport and can hold a lot of information.
To start experimenting I started with a generic spiral-bound notebook we’ve all used in school. I continue using this with my daily bullet journal because I stockpiled these notebooks in August for so many years. Worst case scenario, I’ve reused old college notebooks to use up the last 60 pages remaining.
My business planning bullet journal, the one I’m opening up for you today, is a hardback notebook about half the size with an attached ribbon bookmark. When it comes time to buy a new notebook, I’m looking at a dot grid notebook that has a leather cover, like this one.
How do I plan in my bullet journals?
Inside the front cover, I write in my name and return address. If this is lost, and I’ve lost one before, I want to be sure the odds of return are as high as possible. Once completed I’ll also add in the date range the bullet journal was used. This way, I can quickly find the right journal should I need to find something by date.
A fringe benefit to storing information like this is if my family wanted to peak into any of this information they can read my perspective within context. That wouldn’t likely happen unless I died. Like many of our grandmothers kept journals, I have a few entries about historical events.
On the first 3-10 pages, depending on line counts on the page, I save space for the index. This works at either the front or the back, but at an end of the notebook is the point. I track the content of the page with what page number that starts with. If the notebook doesn’t come numbered, like most, then I manually number the pages in an outside corner.
When I first started getting used to my own system, I kept a key for what any marks meant on a post-it note and moved it to the page I was working on. I’ve seen this done as a dedicated page, but I find a post-it note was more than sufficient and easy to trash once I no longer needed the reminder.
Sometimes I want to set up a 2-page spread but don’t want to skip a page. I’ll add in an affirmation statement, a motivational quote, or an inspiring message with a little design.
What’s comes after setting up the journal?
From the next page onwards, I’ll include anything on my mind. Here are a few examples:
- Meal planning
- Shopping list
- Weekly schedule and tasks
- Head lice treatment directions
- Past year reflections
- New year dreams and projections
- COVID-19 journal
- Manifestation journal
- Coaching call notes
- Client call notes
- Strategy notes
- Business plans, and so much more!
What’s new with the business bullet journal?
Even as I finished the last page of my 3rd notebook, I kept referencing the first 2 for business stuff. I had no interest in keeping 3 notebooks within easy access while I started my 4th notebook. My solution is to rewrite the most important information into a business only journal and continue from there.
After transferring information, I realized I don’t have everything I’m doing for business written in these notebooks. So I haven’t completed my transfer quite yet. Mainly, because some of my information has been stored electronically in Google Drive. I’d like that available in my journal too, wherever possible.
I set up the journal much like I described above. Then, I started with what my business coach calls the “6-Figure Product Suite.” This mind map includes all of my offers, free and paid, and creates a logical flow for a stranger to be introduced to all of my offers. With a glance at this page, I know what needs creation and a sales page still.
Next is the marketing plan at a high-level viewpoint. The mind mapping starts at the hero content, then branches out to written, audio, and video content that I’ll repurpose the hero content into.
Then I dive into the different platforms I use in business. Facebook, Instagram, blogging, and emails. I’m not optimized in a few of these places, and that’s intentional. I can’t do all of the things.
Each of these platform specific entries cover:
- How I’ll engage with people,
- What type of content I want to share,
- Types of posts over a month,
- Growth strategy, and
- Publishing schedule in a given week.
I also include details relating to the specific platform, such as Facebook Group questions, hashtags I use, and the website’s SEO structure.
Honestly, Instagram is not a platform I’m proactively growing, though I continue to use it. Likewise, I don’t use email marketing as effectively as I could, though I do work to build my email list to improve my future launches. Instead I’m focusing on my blog and Facebook group, Content Marketing Creation Made Simple. So that content is repurposed into my emails for now.
My individual blog posts are still maintained in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. I keep my URL’s and summaries there to copy and paste so it doesn’t make sense to change that system.
What’s staying in the primary bullet journal?
I make weekly plans with everything to-do: from personal to business, from nice-to-have to not-an-option-to-drop. The first sections are always my appointments detailing who, what, and when. I’ll reference my Google calendar if I need a link or address for where an appointment is. Any week that this overwhelms me, or I didn’t prepare for introversion rest days, I adjust accordingly to cancel or postpone any appointments that I can.
The next section, indicated only by a skipped line on the page, is the daily marketing-related tasks for my business. These are my minimum marketing activities already, so my best coping strategy with busy weeks is to batch all the writing and scheduling 1 week to 1 month ahead of time.
After that comes any special projects and any eclectic mix of tasks I’d like to complete such as calling my health insurance, take a course, and call my friend back. Some items have a higher priority and will be indicated with a star (*) or an exclamation (!) mark to highlight their value. If the task is income generating activities, I switch to using dollar ($) signs to feel the wealth vibes.
I focus on each activity that continues my progress towards my primary object. I’ll say no to any tasks that don’t support my goals. If I still want to complete the task but didn’t during the week, I’ll review how many weeks this task stuck around. After a month, I will drop it for a minimum of the next week.
It’s written down already, I’m not going to lose it. By not moving it forward, I’ve released a lot of tasks that just didn’t align with situations and goals. It’s a freeing and stress-free way of evaluating each task.
Milestone and Landmark Notes
I’ll also make notes to the future reader. I wrote a note, “First day of third grade.” I already know this. I don’t need it written down to know this. But if I’m looking at this in the future, I wouldn’t typically think of September 14th as the first day of third grade.
I pick the next open page and I start taking notes for the next note-taking need I have. Coaching calls, mastermind calls, and continuing education are my most frequent categories. More personal applications of my primary bullet journal include grocery lists, meal plans, budgets, and more.
Do I use any other journals?
I have 3 other journals that are far less flashy to talk about. Potential and current clients have a dedicated notebook to reference. This is for both copywriting purposes in my business and for project notes for the client’s business. This notebook fits in the palm of my hand and can easily fit in my purse for the phone call that happens from the car on the side of a road.
Another one is for distance learning. The 3rd-grade teacher has been doing fantastic with providing password embedded links for the Zoom Rooms with the detailed schedule every morning. I actually don’t have to do much beyond making sure she turns in her work somewhere between 2:30 when teachers are done in Zoom and 4:10 when the classwork is due.
It’s dedicated to all things education for my child. So it has login information, the schedule, and plans for walking to meal pickup service. We’re using the notebook to track when we actually make it outdoors when we can get play on.
Finally, I have an actual journal. Yes. I write my thoughts and feelings on paper in this one. I’ll even practice some affirmations.
I have 5 journals: primary, business, school, clients, and journaling. If you want to see the bullet journal business planning or inside these other journals, you can watch the live stream inside my free Facebook group Content Marketing Creation Made Simple.
If you want to have a conversation about your content, your planning, your systems, making sure that you have things lined up so that it makes sense for you, I can help you get clarity so that you can take those next action steps. That way you can no longer get stuck in that feeling of overwhelming confusion of where to get started or what to do next.
If you’re a potential fit for any of my services, I’ll make sure you’re fitted to the correct one. But I am not for everyone. Especially if you’re still wanting to DIY, I totally understand that. These 30 minutes are packed with value. I make sure it’s worth your time to invest in having this conversation with me.