We're not trying to get pregnant at the moment (and have no plans to any time soon) so my "charting" nowadays is simply making a note once a week or so on my pocket calendar. I WANT to know what's going on with my body and whether certain symptoms or issues are hormone-related but I definitely don't need to be taking my temperature and checking my cervix every day to do that.
So unless you are using FA for contraception, are trying to get pregnant or are trouble-shooting something to do with your cycle, you can be a "lazy charter" and still have a good idea of what is happening.
Why, you ask? Besides simply knowing what is going on with your body, "lazy charting" can be useful if you need to undergo a medical procedure, suspect an accidental pregnancy or are prone to being a hypochondriac.
Here's what I recommend as a bare minimum:
1. Record day 1, the first day of your period. It's good to know when your cycle started and how many days it lasts.
I was shocked to discover that my last two cycles were both 31 days in length. I NEVER normally have cycles that short, nor that consistent in length. Hooray for me! This was during two VERY stressful months (moving across town and my oldest son starting kindergarten), which would have given my body EVERY reason to ovulate LATE and for my cycle to drag on. My cycles are regulating and normalizing! I would've never known that if I hadn't been keeping track.
2. Record any spotting, whether pre-period or mid-cycle. It's just good to know. Spotting can mean a lot of different things, depending on what type it is and when it occurs during your cycle.
I didn't spot before my current cycle which is also very unusual for me. This is good information to have!
3. Make a note of when you think you are your most fertile. You could also record your first dry day, too. This will help you predict when you will start your next cycle and whether a pregnancy could have actually occured.
4. Record having unprotected sex, even if it's early or late in your cycle. Need I say more?
5. Write down any unusual symptoms or ailments throughout the month. Could be that the headaches, strange shooting sensations in your abdomen or mood swings are hormonal and consistent month to month.
I get an upset stomach toward the end of most of my cycles so it's nice to know that I'm most likely NOT "coming down with something." I also tend to get a few high-energy days in the middle of my cycle. I have come to expect these and make my plans accordingly.
I hope this helps for any of you who don't want to do hard-core charting but still want to keep track of what's going on with your body.
Tell me...are YOU a lazy charter? What do you keep track of? How?