Frankenlite GTD – The Newest Frankenlog Monster

Guilty as charged! I haven’t written in… Well, let’s not talk about that. I started getting friendly harassment messages asking when I was going to write again, so enough already! You win! Let’s talk about the newest Franken-freak.

first things first – what is GTD?

This post would get very long, very fast if I tried to give you the full scoop on GTD. So here’s a mini-explanation of part of the system.

GTD stands for Getting Things Done, a system created by David Allen, who is considered by many to be the Grand Poobah of productivity. His system is based on the premise that minds are for having ideas, not for holding them. By ridding your brain of all the things you have to keep track of, you’re able to free up space and find more creative capacity.

GTD is based primarily on lists, and it’s kind of genius. Instead of having one list where all your todos get bunch together, Allen suggests have separate lists related to the places we’ll need them. You already do this for your grocery list; if you think of something you need from the store, you write it on that list and then forget about it. And you don’t look at that list until you’re at the store because – why bother?

With the GTD system, you do the same thing with all your other tasks that need doing. You can make an at the office list (@Office) and put only the tasks that can be done at work. You can also make @Home, @Errands, @Computer, etc. Allen calls these “contexts,” and they are a great way to avoid thinking about things that aren’t relevant in the moment.

There is much, much more to the GTD system than what I’ve mentioned here, so perhaps I’ll write more about it on another day. For now, I wanted you to understand the reasoning behind this newest beast I put together. So let’s move on!

frankenlite gtd – Just what’s new

This section is only going to address the new additions to Frankenlite. However, I’ve learned not to assume that my six loyal readers know anything in advance, so I will do another post soon (I’m off work all week so it’ll happen) that will give a full explanation of the system that I’m showing off here.

Frankenlite started as Smitha SP’s own modification of the Frankenlog system. She did a lovely guest-blogger entry on this site that explains it right here. I decided to base this new spread off of Smitha’s design because I thought the vertical format would make more sense for what I was trying to do.

I wanted to separate my tasks into different lists (aka contexts) so that I can always be working off a list of things relevant to where I am located. Then I could assign a specific type of symbol to each list, allowing me to look at the calendar and know if the tasks for today are work-related, personal, errands that need running, or whatnot. In my first attempt at this (June), I folded a page in half so that I could use it as a Dutch door (kinda). This allowed me to have seven big, beautiful columns to use as separate contexts.

Yes, those are Tombows in a LePen pouch. Rules mean nothing to me!

The contexts I chose were:

  • @Work
  • @Home
  • @School Work (not a place, but an important category)
  • @GSU (things I can only do on campus)
  • @Media (this site, YouTube, etc.)
  • @People (things I need talk to people about)
  • @Errands

I decided to use a different type of letter for each context so I would be able to tell them apart on the calendar, like so:

I honestly don’t remember what was under my journal when I took this picture…
All the tasks on the @Errands list get letters with two lines below them and @School Work tasks get circled letters.

So when I look at the calendar, I would see something like this:

In the above example, you can see that on the 27th, there are three contexts represented. “A” is something at home, “C” with a circle is school work, and the “C” with two lines is an errand I have to run. It only look a few days to get used to the symbols, so now I know what they mean right away. Love it!

But it wasn’t quite right yet. The folded page got all screwed up within a couple of days and it bothered me endlessly. I also discovered that the @GSU list was largely useless, while @People and @Media required very little space. I was also quickly running out of room in my @Work context, which is where most of my tasks tend to live.

Stoopid wonky page….

Based on these issues, I made some modifications for July. I ditched the @GSU context, and I gave myself twice as much space for @Work. Then I used smaller spaces for the contexts that don’t require much room. Finally, instead of folding the page, I cut the page in half vertically so that I can always see the calendar regardless of which list I was looking at. Here’s the results for July:

Double the space for work stuff.
Am I ever going to get that wool coat tailored?

And there it is. July’s monster is ready to roll. I’ll let you know how it goes. Leave a comment if you have any questions, or tell me what you think!

13 thoughts on “Frankenlite GTD – The Newest Frankenlog Monster

  1. Interesting! Can’t say my life needs this level of detail but it seems like a good new face for your never ending list of tasks lol


  2. i’ve already spammed your videos with comments, but it’s just.. this blew my mind. in a world of beautiful (and mostly) unattainable bujos, this is… fresh air. simple, i feel like i can take the parts that speak most to my life (like the daily/weekly habit tracker next to the calendar.. WOW!) so count me in as a new loyal reader. cheers from Chile!


  3. I just came across this new magical method of ‘clearing the noise’ (as I call it) and trying to wrap my head around all of it. lol. I am an avid Bujo’er and a digi-ana hybrid. I have been planning and journaling well, since about 2000’s.. just never like this lol! I am always trying to find a better system that ‘works’ with the noise in my head.

    I am a self employed accountant who owns a virtual bookkeeping firm and went back to analog method of to-do tracking when I got tired of being overwhelmed by the software I use daily for all my clients. I didn’t want to even look at a computer at the end of the day!! That decreased my productivity and I was forgetting things ALOT and my personal finances began to suffer. I love the BUJO method- minimalist- that is ( I decorate a little here and there) but I am still needing something more simplistic.

    I get overwhelmed very easy and my anxiety soars like a dragon in the sky; I need something to keep me on track and focused but not super overwhelming to understand ( I get interrupted constantly). I am one who has to write what I read for it to be understood and retained for future use.

    Anywhoz, I am pretty psyched about trying this, this weekend and hope it’s my mantra!


    1. A solid question!
      For the most part, yes, the items that are in each context are “next actions,” but I also allow myself some wiggle room here. For a long time I tried to be real GTD-strict about following Allen’s rule that any task that requires more than one or two actions is a project and should be given it’s own list and/or project materials. I get it and it makes sense, but I found it to be overkill for me for some things. Car maintenance, for example. Yes David Allen, I’ll have to determine which services need to be done based on the car’s schedule, then call to make the appointment, then confirm that Jenny will be available to drive me home… But once I decide to do those things I can knock them all out in under 5 minutes. It’s almost as if I’m following his two-minute rule but on a bigger scale (the two-minute rule is an amazing life-changer… there’s one GTD things I’ll swear by.)
      THAT SAID! When I have a project with a lot of actions, yes, I do try to review weekly to make sure that at least one action from each project is on the context lists.
      A very long answer to a one-line question. 🙂


  4. Hey.. What is it that you put in the first two columns?
    Do you shade the first column for weekends? Why?

    I really want to combine BuJo and GTD. Thank you for lighting up the way!


    1. Hey there. I use that first column for tracking weekly habits. Each box can track one habit. I shaded two of the seven boxes each week because I wanted to limit the weekly habits to five total (since seven habits is a lot to track). The second column is a weekly task box. I use it to hold tasks that need to be done this week but not any particular day. So instead of putting the letter for that task on a date in the calendar, I’d but it in the big weekly box for that week. Hope that helps! 👍


  5. Hi Brian I remember you speaking about Stephen Covey‘s seven habits of highly effective people and incorporating that into your bullet journal Frankenlog method could you elaborate more.


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