Our lovely guest post contributor, Thanita from Nosh To Knitting, shares how she uses her bullet journal for her family and their health. This article may include affiliated links.
So you’re interested in starting a Bullet Journal, or at least you’re curious about it? Great! Join the fandom! My journey with the bullet journal started in December of 2015. It has morphed into a valued system I use daily. I manage activities, appointments, and my family’s health. Having started late last year, I can provide a fresh perspective on what worked for me.
Staying organized is important to me and my family. Our schedules are pretty busy that sometimes it feels as if our paths cross only briefly. So I have to find ways to keep on top of our needs. What’s more, my youngest kiddo has IgE-mediated food allergies. This means she is allergic to several foods that has the potential to become life-threatening anaphylaxis. We closely scrutinize not only food products, but non-food products as well, in order to keep her safe and included. I am happy to share how I incorporate my bullet journal with staying on top of our various health needs.
Background of The Bullet Journal
The Bullet Journal is an analog system of managing one’s time and schedule. Created by Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal was forged from a need to improve the way he managed his tasks. The result is a system that not only tracks daily tasks and events, but also helps identify the priorities items from others that we may be doing unnecessarily.
Think of the bullet journal as a fluid “to do” list with specific symbols to identify each task or event, all in a convenient, portable journal or notebook. It allows an individual to both rapidly log information and recall this information quickly when needed. This is one of many reasons I find the bullet journal to be helpful. Additionally, it can be anything an individual needs it to be, once the basics are understood. I use my bullet journal to track appointments, notes, symptoms of health concerns, and more.
Getting Started With Your Bullet Journal
The first thing I suggest, is to watch Ryder Carroll’s How To Bullet Journal video (link below). I’m not ashamed to say that I will go back and reference the video in order to refresh my memory of the concept. Once you’re familiar with the concept, just dive in!
I use my Bullet Journal in a similar fashion as explained in the video. However, I have added features unique to managing my family’s health.
- Color Coding System
- Health-Related Signifiers
My Color Code System
The concept of color coding is simple; assign and use a color to identify specific or unique events for quick referencing. I add my color code key in both the Key (or Legend) page and the Index page. I also keep a few colored pens/markers in my purse so that it’s readily available when needed. The following is a list of items used in my color code system:
- Red: Medical related events.
- Brown: Identifies the Future Planning pages as well the months.
- Purple, Pink, Blue, Lime Green & Orange: Each person in my family is assigned a color.
- Green: Identifies notes regarding food manufacturers. I added this to my system because I must contact food manufacturers to inquire about their manufacturing procedures in order to find safe options.
- Yellow: Identifies an event relating to school.
- Turquoise: Identifies collections and lists I keep track of. For example, if one of my kiddos has been frequently ill, I will add the page numbers where I recorded details about it. I also have a list of movies my family and I would like to watch, a list of school lunch ideas and so on.
Note that when unique events occur, I color only the edge of my journal page. I’m also not coloring all the pages in my journal. That would be excessive and time consuming! This information can then be quickly referenced. Therein lies the key for the color code system and why I enjoy using the bullet journal. It can be whatever you need it to be. For me, using this color code system allows me to refer back to information when needed, and to do it quickly.
Why Have a Color Code System AND an Index?
You may be wondering why I use a color coding system when I have an index (which is similar to a table of contents in a book). The simple answer is that, when I use both, it’s quicker and easier for me to visually reference information. It’s just the way my brain works! The index allows me to find the page of general information I journaled during a specific timeframe. The color code identifies the particular information I find important, without having to scan through the entire list in the index.
As explained in the video, signifiers help identify the meaning of a specific task and event. In my bullet journal, I have added signifiers unique to my needs. These can be quickly drawn next to the bullet. When I need to refer back to a specific event, I flip through my journal searching for the color. Then I scan the page to find the signifier. For example, if one of my kiddos got sick, I look for the red colored page that includes my kiddo’s color. Doing this, I can provide the doctor with information about when the symptoms began, which medications were administered, the time they were administered, and so on.
The signifiers I use are quick and easy for me to draw. You may either use these signifiers or create your own. Here’s an example of some of the signifiers I have added:
- Email: An “e” with a circle around it.
- Sick, Symptoms, Medical Emergency: A face with a frown (think emoji).
- Watch/Stream Movie : A pause/play button icon.
Don’t Be Afraid of Making Mistakes in Your Bullet Journal!
When I first started, I did not want to write in my lovely inkWELL Press Sewn Journal. It was too beautiful! Now I dive right in, eagerly jotting down tasks just so I can feel the satisfaction of checking each off when complete. It’s not weird 😉 Now that you have the tools, it’s time to get started on your own bullet journal and document your health journey. I hope you found this information helpful!