Bullet Journal — Medication Log — Day 5 — 30 Days of Autism Acceptance — 2018 Autism Acceptance Month

Text and Grid Pattern

Medication Log Version 0.2.0 — This is after a few revisions

I have been working on this for a little while, and at first I was trying it before I was really ready to start this.  I think there are a few things that I want to say about this, but it’s not so much about the design of this (though I’m sure that there will be a bit about that) but more about how this came about, and how I have been working with it.  So I think I’m going to do my “list thing” which I really don’t know how it works for others, but it’s a way I organise things.

  • It doesn’t work if you don’t use it.
  • If you are having trouble using it, this can be OK.
  • Why I created this.
  • Some design issues.

I think that will probably be it, and I think I’m going with this order.

It Doesn’t Work if You Don’t Use It

This was something that I discovered with this as I have been working with the Bullet Journal.  I started using it, a couple of weeks ago, and I really was loving it for a while.  Then I got into a state that I wasn’t using it, and I can’t really say why I fell into it, but I just wasn’t able to get around to actually using the Bullet Journal.

With not using the Bullet Journal, I could not really benefit from it.  I had a bunch of stuff that had got into it, that I wasn’t really being able to focus on while I was not actually picking the physical journal up, looking at it, and getting myself to update it.

So, I realised that I could not benefit from it while I was not using it.

It stayed in my mind, which was a good thing, I still am not sure why it “failed” for me for a while.  And maybe it was just that I needed a break from the intense focus I had been putting on it so I had to take a total break from it, to be able to process that.  I just didn’t “get anything in there done” for those days.

Taking a Break is OK

This is a really great thing to remember.  If you over focus on this, you will have it become “almost obsessive”.  And I think for me that was what happened.  I ended up “burning out” to some extent after I think less than a week of using it, and then took several (maybe even over a week) of it.  I needed to take a bit of a break.

That was an OK thing, and it may well have been a necessary thing.  I am thinking that I had got to a point of over focus with it, and trying to “shift” that, while using it was not likely to work.

Part of why I am thinking that is that since I have started to use it again, I am noticing that I am doing things a good bit different.  It’s not really “clear” in how it is different, but when I look at the 3 days “daily log” since I got back to it, I have 3 days on a single page face.

And Previously, I never had 3 whole days to a page face, though I think I did two complete days on occasion, but several days were more than a page face by itself.

Why I Created the Medication Log

The medication log that I have created is a bit of a “violation” of the Bullet Journal concept.  It’s a violation in the sense that to me, the Journal is more about doing things by hand, than anything vaguely electronic.  So, in a sense this is a violation, but I think the main thing is with Bullet Journal, it is “do what works” and this is a pure example of this.

I was thinking of how I could get this to work, and was having trouble thinking of it working at least with my nice “lined notebook” which didn’t really work.  Trying to create this in the lined notebook just didn’t seem feasible.

Still, I looked at the idea that the fact that if I created a nice version I could print, I also realised that I could create that, print a sheet up (I do a 2 sided sheet, with 2 of these on each side, so a “4-up” version) and only have to put it in where I want it, and have 2 “weeks” over a “new” 4 page spread.

So I convinced myself that this was something I needed to do.

Now the reason I felt I “needed” a medication log probably for me and the “Autism Acceptance” post is maybe a bit more important than why this particular thing was created.

The Need to Log Medications

For me, especially lately, my medications have been rather complicated, as I have been reducing medications (including supplements, and some “over the counter” drugs) for a variety of reasons, and have been having some trouble trying to remember what these changes actually have been so I felt that I needed something to note this.

I had noted this on a computer in a nice word processor document in the past.  This ended up getting a bit “heavy” in terms of managing to keep it up to date, and my “break” has been really rather long with that.

Part of the reasons why I have been moving towards something like the Bullet Journal, is that I find that electronic versions of recording things has been running into the situation that I have lost track and not gotten back to it.

Some of the reasons have been a loss of the original files or things like that, and that has been something really annoying.  Also another issue which I have had with this sort of thing has been that some of the places where I have been trying to do these kinds of things have been “social spaces” and that has resulted in a sense of “social pressure” which actually is very counter productive for me to want to engage with something.

I need to do stuff for myself, and when I realise that I am doing things because I feel some other is expecting it, it becomes more difficult for me.  So the Bullet Journal being something just for myself (at least in this case) has been something which has sort of been working.

So, medications, I needed to track them.  And Bullet Journal, personal, in paper, and I didn’t mention, using my hands.  All important reasons.

Some Notes of Design

I am not quite sure where I am heading with this, as I think I more want to talk about the “process” than about the actual design that we have here.

Initially I wanted to keep the design simple, and not try to get it to work, until I had tried to see what was working and what was not working.

I knew the basic idea of size, and that I wanted to create a 4-up version which I have, but I knew that I didn’t have a good way to update that “once only” due to the fact that I just did not have things that would work that way.

I have used other software than what I’m currently using (Inkscape and Scribus currently) which I could do the whole thing all in one document with hardly any problems.  I found that the workflow with the other software was actually more complicated than I had hoped, as I’d wanted something that would work so that I could just give my clients the “master document” and they could safely edit it, but it failed to work that way.

This isn’t that much different, as I know I have to work on this myself, rather than being able to get clients to update, and this actually is “safer” for me than before.  I would break it myself.

So, I created the single “log” in Inkscape, and did an initial “print test” to see just how well it would work for me.  That resulted in seeing a few different edits that made a lot of sense to me.  So even before I started to use it, I managed to find some things to change with it.

I made those changes, and while I am currently doing 11 days at a time, when I fill my meds (I have a 7 day pill box, and then use 7 tea canisters, and 1 small dish to give 4 more days) this has 14 days of space.  There are a couple of reasons for this that I’ve thought of.

One, I don’t always get my meds filled when I am “supposed” to so I can go a day or more before filling, but this will allow me to record what I end up doing with my meds over those days if it happens.

And second, it allows the addition of “extra recording” that doesn’t fall into a regular day, perhaps for the recording of things that I don’t do regularly or whatever.

So that is why I ended up with this design.  But probably more so, I created the design as it was, and made some edits, which resulted with the format that I created, more I thought of what would “work for me” in terms of grid spacing and size, which gave what I had.

But, I now have the initial 4-up design which is what I am actually using in my Bullet Journal, and with using it as a regular thing, I am finding that I am seeing a variety of different things.

I noticed that I didn’t really have a way to record “changes” as I was doing.  That is taking drugs I take on an “as needed” basis (prn), or if for some reason I end up making a change, or missing meds, or notice something, so I added a “notes” section.

Then the next thing I noticed, is that I like the “schedule” and the “taken” in different columns (this probably needs to have a picture in the future), I was finding I didn’t like the fact that there wasn’t an obvious way to tell them apart, so I looked at that.  Hence the dotted lines.

And with thinking of the dotted lines, I thought it was a good idea to mark the “major breaks” as well.  So that takes us to where we are now, and I need to go print a version of this as it currently is designed, as I need that I think in about 5 days.  So I’ll get it ready for then.

Wrapping Up

That’s probably good.  I have looked at a lot of different things in this post.  I think maybe some people will want to see me look more at some of these ideas.  So, on the Open Psychology Site I am putting a “contact form”, and on Medium, I think you can do some comments or whatever (it is just as weird as the “contact form”) in a lot of ways.


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