Are you looking for Bullet Journal ideas for working moms? I feel you!
Because let’s be real — it’s exhausting to work full time in addition to running to the store, keeping track of permission slips, attending after-school or weekend sports, and maintaining a mental list of everyone’s current shoe sizes.
Do you know why the female audience of the movie Bad Moms was laughing so hard they were snorting popcorn?
It’s because they could relate.
Moms who hold day jobs can suffer a ridiculous amount of “mom guilt”, because there is simply too much to keep up with. And while a Bullet Journal isn’t a silver-bullet miracle cure, it can really, really help.
Here are 5 Bullet Journal Ideas for Working Moms.
(No fancy markers, no Instagrammable spreads— just big wins and a few shortcuts.)
Note: if you are new to the idea of Bullet Journaling (bujo for short), it’s worth your time to watch this short video by its creator, Ryder Carroll.
1. Use rapid logging to track personal and professional tasks in a single place (because it’s all blended in your head anyway)
The beauty of a Bullet Journal is that you can keep everything together in one place—which means your mind can trust it, and stop pinging you about all the undone things. After all, there is no such thing as “work life” and “home life.” There is just life.
Forget the beautiful layouts you’ve seen on Instagram. The process of rapid logging is the Bullet Journal method at its core, and the reason it is so effective.
Here’s how it works:
- Write the date at the top of your page. My shorthand—stolen from somewhere—is 06.27.Th (It’s helpful for me to throw in what day of the week it is.)
- As fast as you can, write down everything you have to get done today. (Not tomorrow or next week).
- As new things come up, add to the list. Put a dot beside each item. It doesn’t matter if it is for work or home. (But if blending them makes you crazy, then put two columns on the page—one for work and one for home.)
- As you do things, put an x beside them. If something becomes irrelevant, draw a line through it.
- At the end of the day, put a > symbol next to whatever isn’t done, and move it to the next day. This is “task migration” and it’s a key part of the Bullet Journal method. If something isn’t important enough to move to the next day, decide not to do it and draw a line through it.
Rapid logging is intended to be done quickly, and to create the go-to list you will focus on each day.
Bullet journal shortcut for working moms: If there are certain tasks you do every single day, write them all on a sticky note and move the note over to the next page when you are migrating tasks, so you don’t have to rewrite them. (Sure, the x’s that show completion won’t have anything next to them on previous pages when you move the note, but you are a working mom in a hurry, and you need the time advantage!)
2. For an emotional and logistical win, track morning and evening routines.
Linda Mason shares a brilliant strategy in her Working Mother’s Guide to Life. She says that the best ways to create the culture of your family are in your morning and evening routines.
Why? Because love and connection are created in the little things we do over and over again.
There’s something about repetition that creates connection, which makes our families feel love and belonging.
Repetition also makes things run smoothly. Nothing feels worse than scrambling to get out the door with a kid who can’t find her other shoe or realizing once you’re in the car that everyone’s lunches are still on the counter. Routine puts things on autopilot, so your daily patterns keep running, even when you’re thinking about something else.
Using your Bullet Journal to document, test drive, and live out your morning and evening routines is a life-saver for working moms. It automates the details.
Bullet Journal shortcut for working moms: have a kid write the morning and evening routines in your journal. (Yes, there might be misspellings, and their handwriting takes up more room than yours, but we are working for buy-in here.)
(If you’ve had trouble sticking to a morning routine, checkout: Why your morning routine isn’t sticking and what to do about it. )
3. Create sanity with collections.
A “collection” in the Bullet Journal method is just a grouping of information. It’s the name for notes that have a common theme or task. You collect them together in one place, rather than distributing them across your monthly or weekly spreads. These pages are separate from your normal daily logging.
There’s no magic to setting up a “collection.” You just craft it in a way that works for you. This could be a list, habit tracker, mindmap, or another format that seems effective for that particular page. The idea is to only have what is useful and not to overload yourself maintaining collections you never reference.
Collections are good for thinking on paper or for stashing reference information in order to find it quickly when you need it.
Collections for working moms might include:
- A list of extended family birthdays
- Medical information (prescriptions, phone numbers for doctors, etc)
- Clothing sizes
- Meal planning (a list of go-to meals so your head doesn’t break when someone asks what’s for dinner)
- Home decor (room dimensions, floor plans, paint swatches)
- Gifts given
- Finances(debt reduction, monthly bills, savings tracker)
- School & activity information (names of teachers & coaches, tournament dates, supplies, etc.)
- Party planning
- Pet information (shot records, number/address for vet)
- Ideas for date night
- Answers to the statement “mom, I’m bored”
- A list of business development targets
- Project planning
- Event planning
- Meeting notes
- 30 / 60 / 90 day goals
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis
- Content or social media plan / ideas for posts
- Expense log
- Travel itineraries
- Mind-mapping ideas
- Books to read / podcasts to listen to
- Habit tracking (workouts, reading, meditation, water consumption)
- Self care
Bullet journal shortcut for busy moms: While Bullet Journals are usually handwritten, you may find it is more effective to capture some of this electronically, and then print it to be slipped in the back pocket of the journal or pasted to a page. Just reprint each time you start a new journal.
4. Boost your creativity through doodles (or cut yourself some slack and go minimalist).
Bullet Journals on Instagram can be inspirational. Hand lettering, illustration, and colors can be motivating.
Of course, you don’t have time for that, but you can add a few doodles. These aren’t illustrations— they’re more like stick figures and emoticons. And, anyone can draw basic shapes—even if you do it poorly.
Besides, you already have a mental library of doodles in your head. If I asked you to draw the sun, you would likely draw a circle with some lines coming off of it. (OF COURSE IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THE REAL SUN!) If I asked you to draw love, you might produce a heart. (OF COURSE IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A REAL HEART…thankfully.)
Adding simple doodles to your Bullet Journal, helps you remember what’s on each page. It gives added dimension to information, which is useful when you’re looking for something later.
Bullet Journal shortcut for working moms: if this doesn’t sound at least 97.4% fun to you, go minimalist: black pen on white paper, and nothing else! (That’s the old-school way to bullet journal; the original system doesn’t have a drop of color or embellishment.)
Learn more about doodling in our online course!
5. Choose the size of your journal based on the accessories you favor.
The Bullet Journal method only works when you do it in a notebook you can carry with you everywhere. What that looks like will vary, and the options—oddly enough—can be based on your accessories.
If you carry a messenger bag, backpack, large purse, or briefcase:
- Go with a hardcover A5 (8.5” x 5.5”) journal.
- Popular brands include Leuchtturm (which has page numbers and a pre-printed index), Moleskine, and the affordable Minimalism Art.
If you carry a medium size purse, or if weight matters to you:
- Go with a softcover A5 (8.5” x 5.5”) journal.
- Popular brands include Moleskine, Rhodia, and Minimalism Art,
If you carry a small purse or no purse:
- Go with a hardcover or softcover A6 (passport size) or a traveler’s journal.
- Popular brands include Midori Traveler’s Notebook, Fieldnotes, Leuchtturm, and Moleskine.
- Travel journals have a cover with bands that you can slip paper inserts into. You can carry the whole notebook as a wallet, or just take an insert with you. Seaweed Kisses has a great YouTube tutorial on what this looks like.
Most of these notebooks come in plain (no lines), ruled (with lines), grid, or dotted. Take a look before you order to make sure you have the option you want.
Bullet Journal shortcut for working moms: If you test drive a size and it doesn’t work out, throw it in the recycle bin (or give it to your kids) and just try something else. You don’t have time to waste on something that doesn’t work. (P.S. It’s okay to spend the money to try something new. Your sane life is worth it!)
Don’t you feel better already?
Using the Bullet Journal method creates space for your thoughts—which is a big win when you have as much going on as you do. Having your personal and professional life on paper at your fingertips gives you a sense of coordination and security that can help you breathe easier.
Sure, you are probably still going to snort popcorn when you watch Bad Moms, but with your trusty bujo by your side, the volume on “mom guilt” can be turned way down.
Want tips on how to journal? Get the free ebook on How to Journal with 28 ways to journal and hundreds of resources so you can find the method that is right for you.