Using A Bullet Journal at Work

Believe it or not, I hold it down with a full-time job (and then some, if you are a fellow teacher).  I am SO grateful that I re-discovered the bullet journal system last year because it has helped me keep on top of my shit at work.  There don’t seem to be as many posts about how folks use the Bullet Journal for their “9-5” so I’ll share my current system.

Catch the replay of the Periscope broadcast below – and know that I will be working on making future videos more YT friendly, and eventually edit out the chatting – it’s in progress!). You’ll hear an overview of the bullet journal system, a debut of the NEW FoxyFix Marina Notebook covers, overview of a work planning system, and my number one advice for new Bullet Journalists.

My planner squad at work for February - an A5 traveler's notebook and baby bullet journal //
My planner squad at work for February – an A5 traveler’s notebook and baby bullet journal //

This is my planner squad for February.  First up is the familiar pink traveler’s notebook.  Instead of the original bullet journal system that’s in a single notebook, I have this leather cover with multiple notebooks (“inserts”) inside.  This beautiful pink cover is from Kelly at The Foxy Fix – I have a “Wide” size which is about an A5, and fits Moleskine Cahier and May Designs notebooks.  If you’ve been around a while you know I LOVE my Foxy Notebooks, and attest to their sturdy covers and enduring quality.  Kelly is also an all-around awesome small business owner, and we’re partnering to bring you something special! (You’ll hear about it at the end of this post!).  She graciously offered this new Marina cover, which you can see live in the video above.

The companion to my system is the Baby Bullet Journal just for work.  This is where larger project planning, notes, tracking, and meeting minutes go and the heart of what I’ll show you today.  This is a motto grid notebook from Paper Source.

You can see the long version in my February Set Up post, but for now, just know that the first insert is where all my planning happens, with the bullet journal techniques and signifiers.  NOTE: I do NOT use my bullet journal as a schedule – that’s what my Google Calendar is for – so you may need to find what works for your time tracking.  Perhaps you want to add a time tracker to your layout, or a strip at the top with your events – whatever works for you!

A combination of work and life go into this weekly spread with adaptable sections on the bottom //
This weekly in my bullet journal is the hub of my productivity (and sanity) //

You can see that I have a mix of both personal and work tasks here – all my action items live in this insert so I don’t lose track of anything in multiple places.  I spend a lot of time on this spread for my day to day.

Work Bullet Journal – Traditional Style:

First, I’ll show you possibilities that stay true to the Original Bullet Journal system, ala Ryder Carroll, in the Foxy Notes journal and show you a few of my own layouts as well. Absolutely stop and take a peek at the Bullet Journal website to know the system I’m working with.   You can do this in a dedicated “Work” insert inside your traveler’s notebook or you can do it as a notebook that stays at work.

The signifiers I use for my bullet journal - with the distinct addition of the "delegated" symbol for when tasks get assigned to others //
The signifiers I use for my bullet journal – with the distinct addition of the “delegated” symbol //

Of course we start with the Key – I use an adapted version of the traditional bullet journal signifiers.  I have checkboxes for tasks instead of a dot, and I use the standard “X” and -> for cancelations and migrations. Additionally I use the >> for task delegation (because sometimes… you don’t need to be the one doing the task!), a shortcut for my “one to one” check-ins, and the moments I take during the day for connection I want to acknowledge.

My index is like most, but I added the line down the middle firstly because it gives you more space, and secondly because it will allow me to separate between my regular notes and my project notes.  I work in a highly project based place, so this helps sort that out.

At work, your goals are incredibly important and guide what you spend your time on throughout the year, so have them ready to access. //
Above all, list your work goals for the year so you know how you are prioritizing your time //

Every job has responsibilities and usually comes with a type of annual review.  So take these goals and list them, and perhaps take time to break them down. What projects or sub tasks do each of these goals entail? For example, if I’m in charge of instructor training, I would put down some overall purpose of training, the direction we want to go in, partnership possibilities, and any deadlines that I’m working with.  See more on how I set goals and plan for them here.

A twist on the traditional future log in the Bullet Journal, I split it down the middle because sometimes it's not appointments or events, but project deadlines or tasks in the future //
An adapted future log for your work that identifies both events and project tasks //

If you don’t use an online calendar system at work, this future log might work for you.

A twist on Ryder's original Monthly Layout, I added possible categories - yes, events and appointments but also teaching, projects & tasks items. Inspired by Kara (@boho.berry) //
A twist on the monthly layout in bullet journal to timeline major project milestones in your job //

I was doing this as a twist on the original Monthly Layout – but I’m really liking it and thinking about it for my own bujo next month! This allows you to see what’s all going on in a day – again, I delineate between appointments, my teaching responsibilities, and my project/task deadlines.  This shows me which days has a lot going on so maybe (if I’m good), I can plan smarter about when I take on other commitments. The categories can be flexible based on what you need.

A sample of what pages might look like in your bullet journal at work - some dailies with the split-panel hack for more space, and staff meeting notes //
The divider in the middle helps categorize various information and tasks  //

I use this common hack, splitting pages in the middle, to give more space for tasks (so you don’t feel like you wasted a WHOLE line on “Email Jody”).  In meeting notes, try splitting a panel for tasks and takeaways – then you don’t lose them all in your on-going notes.

Bullet Journaling at Work – My Adaptations:

Based on this, I have a bullet journal I keep at work. My baby bujo features the standard pieces of a bullet journal system:

  • Index
  • Numbered pages
  • Different collections for check-ins with my student worker and my supervisor, meeting notes, and various thoughts for my role and responsibilities

Aside from those pages, I have a few cool spreads. Note: * Some of the above links may be affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here)

But first, goals. Identify the things you want to accomplish in your role, overarching goals and projects //
A goals page is critical in your work bullet journal //

Always beginning with the purpose, outline the goals you have for your role for a specific time-frame.  We have annual reviews so I’m using the goals my supervisor and I set for my role, and then added some of my personal goals and emergent projects.  Some of these are overarching – for example, building a pool of awesome instructors is a very general goal.  The projects that this bucket entails are the smaller pieces of the goal that I’ll elaborate later.  The purpose of this page is just to ground you in the bigger picture when we get buried in the weeds.

A twist on one of Kim @tinyrayofsunshine's layouts, this can help identify key accomplishments you achieve at work to "Level Up" //
A twist on one of Kim’s @tinyrayofsunshine layouts, this can help identify key accomplishments at work to “Level Up” //

A few weeks ago, the lovely Kim posted an Accomplishments spread for her blog/biz – which I’ve adapted for my own use for work.  One of my edges is that I tend to focus on the next and the next, without stopping to acknowledge the milestones I hit along the way.  Hoping that this will help me see these all at a glance – and perhaps a useful tool for my annual review, amirite??

A Gantt chart layout can help you visualize your job responsibilities over the entire year - or perhaps your family schedule too //
This time-chart is SO helpful to visualize your whole year in your job in your bullet journal //

Once you have your goals and projects, you plug them into my next favorite page – the Time Chart (I’ve been told I mis-used the term, Gantt Chart, so I’ll rename it!).  As a former business student and organization freak, I LOVE THESE.  On the top half I list the different responsibilities of my job with the months across the top.  I am very lucky to have such a dynamic job – but it also means I have a lot to keep sorted.

Using the wonderful Pilot Juice pens, I shade in the parts of the year where that responsibility is prevalent.  For example, I write curriculum for the program, so the heaviest time for that is during the summers and winter break when I myself am not teaching.  As you expected, I darkened the parts of the year where it’s particularly intense.  The beauty of a Gantt chart is that you can look at any given column and see when busy periods are, and be strategic about when you decide to plan projects and endeavors.

The bottom half are specific projects that I’m charting for the rest of the semester and summer – given a deadline, I’m trying to figure out where I can put energy into these projects.  On the side are page numbers.

This isn’t limited to work – you can also use it for your home life, personal life, and on any time scale.  Some ideas for Gantt Charts:

  • Annual family calendar with kid sports and clubs, vacations, or other commitments
  • Your forecast for the next few years for savings – you can indicate when you are starting to save for various goals like homes, credit card debt, vacations, student loans, gifts, weddings, and more, to see what financial burdens you’re taking on and when
  • If you have complex travel arrangements with big family and friends – you can see who is arriving and when, and see when everyone will be there at the same time and when they depart
  • If you run a side business and are tracking when you’re slated to work on a project throughout the month/quarter/year – see which times are busy and when you have time to take on more work

This is important because one of the best benefits of planning is that you are more aware of the commitments you are making to other people – knowing what your work load is, you can more honestly say “yes” to something, or more guilt-free say “no” to something else.

One example of how you can use the bullet journal for project planning //
Do you repeat tasks for different projects? This layout might work for your work bullet journal //

Branching off from that Gantt chart are various project pages.  People often search for various project planning pages, so perhaps this will help you!

One of my projects requires similar work repeated for four different levels, so instead of writing the same list for each level, I just corralled them into this spread.  The left is for higher level strategy, notes, and major considerations, and on the right side I’ll list each step and be able to check off the relevant box.  I’ll probably use a bright color to “box” the appropriate level so I know where the work is allotted.  For example, if you need to create similar trainings for several different groups, or you’re putting together the same report but tailored for different clients, or even going through the same cleaning and purging process (ahem, KonMari) for your home, this could save you some pages.

An example of how you can organize a project at work - great for organizing thoughts and what supplies you need //
Project pages for your work bullet journal //

Another project I have involves organizing space – where there are things to do and things to buy.  This spread still features an open page probably for sketches and brainstorming notes, and then the simple To Do and To Buy columns.  In a more robust version, you would add columns with due dates and delegation, or even include a Gantt chart for tasks on a project.

If you have projects that involve things like Event Planning, I would almost categorically suggest that you move to a Google Folder and plan on a Google Spreadsheet with different tabs for each portion of the project.  Once you have that many moving parts, it gets unwieldy in a notebook. You could have one tab for a budget, one tab for the agenda for the day, to-dos and assignees, supplies, and more.

Again, it’s important to know that I might plan out necessary steps and tasks in the Baby Bullet Journal, but only act on the tasks in my Foxy Notebook planning insert.

Of course, if you’re curious… the paper handles inks very well.

A quick pen test with fan favorites on the Foxy Fix journal - no bleeding, with a touch of ghosting with brush pens. Lined and dot - of course I'll be getting dot! //
A quick pen test on the Foxy Fix journal – no bleeding, handles the fountain pen, with some ghosting on the big brush pens //

Oh hey, Foxy Fix Fans! (Discount code EXPIRED)

Are you ready to start your own Traveler’s-Notebook-Bullet-Journal hybrid system?! You are SO IN LUCK! Kelly from Foxy Fix and I have come together to help you jump-start your Foxy Notebook system.  Kelly and Jordan are at the edge of the highest quality leather covers, innovative inserts, and the latest dyeing processes to bring beautiful vibrant covers into your life. It’s no secret I’m a long-standing fan of her and Jordan’s work since I bought my first cover last July, so I’m thrilled to bring you this deal.  Until Monday 12pm CST, use the code PRETTYPRINTSANDFOXY to get 15% off your purchase at  Their quality handcrafted items hardly ever go on sale, so maybe this is the nudge you need to take the plunge (sorry and you’re welcome at the same time!).

So that’s what I’ve got for you so far in my work journal, and I hope you’ve gotten some ideas for how you might organize your own.  In a few weeks, I’ll be showing you how I use my bullet journal hybrid system as a teacher – I know there are plenty of teacher planners out there, so stay tuned!  Let me know what was helpful or what you’re going to try in the comments below!

Stuff I used:



This post features affiliate links, which simply means if you happen to buy something, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you, to support my blog.  I appreciate your support!

22 thoughts on “Using A Bullet Journal at Work

  1. This is really helpful. I also work at university but I’m an administrative assistant with four student assistants, 3 marketing team interns, and, of course, my own work for our office. I recently had a long (and embarrassing) conversation with our executive director about how I was dropping things – things were just getting lost in my email, I wasn’t remembering to do things (I did have to remind him that our office had just moved and part of my job was to help with the move and getting kinks worked out in our new space, he kind of didn’t accept that lol). So I have this huge to-do list where I put a star by the important things. I so appreciate what you said about not listing ALL of the tasks, but picking out the most important that need to get done. I need to go back and re-listen/watch that bit as I think I’ve been trying to organize too much at one time. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way to track delegations! Part of my job is supervising three interns – and it’s been a real struggle to keep everything together with multiple programs/events/storytelling that everyone in the office wants (and needs) done. Having the planning pages with the columns for similarities is so perfect! So much of our event marketing is sending emails to our contacts, sending blurbs to newsletters and listservs, and making posts on social media. Every single project/event has those things required. But because I haven’t created a list of all those similar expected things we are always starting over again for each campaign. That’s just dumb!

    Thank you so much! This is really, really helping me figure out how to do a job I know I can do (and have done well for the most part…ayiee!) better. I love the office I work in and the direction we’re going in now that we’re in our new space (we’re so much more visible to students and so we’re having a lot more traffic than ever before!). I hate that I’ve let folks down.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really enjoyed the post and many of the ideas are very insightful.
    But I have to tell you that is not a gantt chart. It may be a perfectly useful schedule or time table, and its functionality is unquestionable, but it is not a gantt chart. A gantt chart is a very specific tool, with defined elements that cannot be seen there.


  3. Hi! I watched your Periscope and loved it! I also use a separate bujo at work (A regular lined Moleskine extra Large notebook). Whats funny is, I’ve BEEN using this system and not realizing it. That made me so happy because I knew I could easily adapt a personal one. Great post!


  4. I am a little late to the bullet journaling party, but have been stalking your insta and blog for inspiration! Thank you for sharing so much!

    In the picture with your weekly spread in the pink foxy – it looks like you have a rubber stamp that is a weekly to-do list. Where did you find that? Can you point me in the right direction?? Thanks🙂


      1. Thank you!! I saw that someone else asked you the same question on Instagram a while ago, so I ORDERED it!! It arrived yesterday – it’s too cute.🙂


  5. Hi Jessica – I attended your awesome workshop today. Thank you! I ordered the Classic (middle size) of the May notebooks so wondering what size of the Foxy cover I need. Can you please help guide me? Thanks! Martha.


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