Staying Sane and Organizing Family Life Craziness

Family life. Craziness! All. The. Time.

Chores. Doctor appointments. Menu plans. Food management. School events. Errands.


I recently stumbled onto bullet journaling and took the idea to handle all our family craziness.

I've been struggling for the past years on handling all what needs to be done and have tried multiple apps from calendars to TODO apps. It works at first, but then it starts getting TOO busy and we start getting overwhelmed.

As a software engineer, I LOVE tech but I'm realizing more and more that it really is difficult to completely replace pure pen and paper. Code is complicated and updates therefore take time. But with pen and paper, updates to your process are so easy to make -- all you need is a new sheet of paper and you've got your new process just like that.

I draw up a 8.5"x11" weekly spread for our family. Our needs were:

  • Keep track of the morning chores/reminders/TODOs.

  • Keep track of our spending. $$$

  • Keep track of our evening chores.

  • Keep track of our regular daily/weekly chores.

  • Have a separate TODO for the kid coz she's pretty independent and she's , quote, "starting to get tired of being told what to do." I understand and would love to not to anymore, so this is a new thing we're trying for December 😀

  • Have a FOCUSED area for each day for any day-specific appointments, events, reminders, and tasks.

  • Keep track of what's in our fridge to prioritize older food and save $$$ and reduce food waste.

So below is what we've come up with for December.

Weekly Spread

So then, here is how we use it:

  1. We print out 4-5 copies, 1 for each week.

  2. On the weekend, we cross-reference the digital family calendar and start filling out each day accordingly, with the bullet journal key system of square for tasks, triangles for appointments, circles for events, and stars for important items.

  3. We cross-reference our family bullet journal future log, where we have noted other tasks/events, and note them down also.

  4. We then put the sheet up on the fridge with magnets, where all family members can see it!

  5. Each day, we then just reference things on the right side for our daily chores/tasks, with the appropriate column for the day that we are on. And we also reference the current day accordingly. We then fill in the squares with our specific color (black for me, blue for my spouse, and pink for our daughter) as we complete each task to indicate who completed them. For tasks that do not need to be done, an X is marked inside the square.

  6. When we come across things that need to be done during the week, we just note it down on the paper. If it's for a date past the current week, we note it down in our family bullet journal's future log.

We've used this system since late October and it has worked really well! We've got a lot more visibility across me and my spouse on things that need to be done, what craziness is going on that day and/or that week, and who's done which.


Would you like to try the same thing to handle your family life craziness? I hope I've inspired you to try and do the same thing for your family. 🙂

About Cristina

Cristina Ruth is a Software Engineering leader at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, WI, where she manages 4 scrum teams to deliver software in the FinTech space. In her day-to-day leadership role, Cristina values culture, trust, team enablement, team empowerment and high-quality, operationally stable software delivery.

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