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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you don’t use an online calendar system at work, this future log might work for you.
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.
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.
Based on this, I have a bullet journal I keep at work. My baby bujo features the standard pieces of a bullet journal system:
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)
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 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??
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:
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.
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.
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.
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Until Monday 12pm CST, use the code PRETTYPRINTSANDFOXY to get 15% off your purchase at www.foxyfix.com. 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: