Frankenlog consists of three main components: A monthly calendar, a task list, and a bank of weekly trackers. This walk-through is being done in an A5-sized official Bullet Journal, so keep that in mind when counting out the spaces in your own book. While it takes a little time each month to draw this out, I find it to be quite enjoyable. You know, till I screw up a line and then curse the Gods.
The top of the left page of the spread holds the monthly calendar. Each day is a 3×3 box containing a small box for the date and another to be used for tracking habits. Using the key at the bottom of the calendar, it is possible to track up to five different habits each day by marking the small box to indicate which habits have been completed. Entering all five marks creates a starburst symbol. Congrats! You’ve achieved a “Star Day!” I know, it’s cheesy, but I find it strangely motivating! Feel free to write “Nailed It,” or “Boo-Yah!” instead.
You’ve probably noticed that the calendar boxes are too small to schedule much. Don’t worry – I’ll come back to that in a bit.
The Weekly Boxes
To the left of the calendar there is a set of boxes for each week of the month. The five small boxes are for tracking up to five different weekly habits. Above each box, put a letter to remind you what habit you’re tracking. In the example above, I’ve put Y for yoga, M for this other thing, and B for doing the bills. I could track two more things but that’s probably overkill. Inside each box you can track how many times each week you engage in your habit by using the same symbols used above for the daily trackers. The only difference is that – this time – each symbol counts as completing the habit one time. That means you can indicate doing each habit five times each week. If you only want to do it once a week, you can just put a check mark or an “X” in there instead. Above each letter, I put dots to remind myself how many times per week I would like to take each action (two for Y, one each for M and B.)
Below each set of boxes there is a large box for each week. This box is can be used for scheduling things that have to be done during that week but don’t have to be done on any given day. Again, these aren’t very big – I’ll come back to that. Be patient, for Pete’s sake!
The Task List
This is where you’ll write all of your monthly tasks. It doesn’t matter whether they are undated or if they are due on a given day or week, and they don’t have to be written in any order, either. Just write them down as they come to you on the next open line. The lower portion of the left page and the entire right page should be saved for your task list. I recommend splitting the page into two columns to make the best use of space, since entries tend to be short. If using two columns, don’t save any space for signifiers; that’s a lot of space for something that’s only used occasionally. Simply add any signifiers to the beginning of the task, like so:
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are some letters down the left side. Those are magical letters, and my favorite part of the system.
The letters allow you to assign tasks/events to certain days or weeks.
If you need to send out an invoice on Monday the 4th, write “Send out Acme Invoice” on the next open line of the task list and assign it a letter, like letter “A.” Then write that letter “A” in the calendar box for Monday the 4th. That’s it!
If you discover that you have a lot of things to do that day, you can add them all to the task list, assign them letters, then write those letters in that day on the calendar as well. There’s enough space in each box for as many as seven letters (and as many as 10 or 12 if you write small).
Let’s say that you have to send out that invoice during a certain week but not on any certain day. Like above, write “Send out Acme Invoice” in the task list and assign it the letter “A.” Then write that letter “A” in the weekly box off to the left for that given week. There’s enough space in each weekly box for as many as 10 letters (and many more if you write small).
It is likely that you have some tasks with no due dates – things that just need to get done eventually. In the original Bullet Journal system, these tasks would be written on a separate “Monthly Tasks” list. In Frankenlog, there is no need to separate them from the dated tasks. If your task has no due date, don’t assign it a letter. That’s it!
“But what if I run out of letters in the alphabet?” I hear you say! If you’re like me and you’re going to have more than 26 dated tasks every month, simply start the alphabet over using letters that are underlined or inside a circle or a square. With 4×26 letters to work with, it’s very unlikely that you’ll run out.
Events are logged exactly the same way as tasks. Put them on the list, assign a letter, and schedule them. Because events are almost always scheduled for a certain day, it’s unlikely that you would put an event’s letter in a weekly box.
One of the great things about Frankenlog is how easy it is to schedule repeating tasks. Once you’ve assigned a letter to a task, you can just write that letter into different dates again and again. Using our example from earlier, let’s say you want to send out that Acme Invoice every Monday instead of just on Monday the 4th. No problemo! Just write that letter “A” into the calendar on every Monday. If it’s a task that repeats every four days, write the letter in every fourth day of the calendar.
Tasks Due Later This Month
A common concern among bullet journalists is how to log a task or event that is due a few days from now. Ryder Carroll is a disciplined ninja who just reviews the entire month’s daily logs every day to see what he needs to do, but I’m no where near that hardcore. With Frankenlog, you can either schedule it on the correct day right away or do so at the end of the day when reviewing your daily log. Either way, now there’s a place to put things for “later this month.” Super Handy.
Using Frankenlog Day-to-Day
Throughout the month, you can add tasks or events as they arise. Just put them on the list, assign a letter, and schedule them on the calendar or the weekly boxes.
So now that you’ve scheduled all your stuff… What’s next?
If you complete an undated task, simply mark it off the way you would any other bullet journal task – turn that dot into an X.
When it comes to dated tasks, I (currently) see two ways of handling them.
1. Moving Tasks to Dailies
Each morning, copy any tasks that are due that day from Frankenlog into your daily log, where they will become a part of your day’s process. Then put a migration bullet (>) over its dot to show that it’s been moved. Be sure to give them a priority signifier (*) if necessary to indicate that they have to be done that day. This is my preferred way of using Frankenlog. I only look at it during my reflection times in the mornings and evenings. During the day, I work entirely out of my “dirty dailies.”
2. Working right out of Frankenlog
If you’re not a fan of moving things from Frankenlog to your dailies, you can mark things as complete right there in the task list. If you want to mark a repeating task as completed, consider using more than one bullet when writing that task so you have a place to mark completions, like this:
The Philosophy and the Inspiration
Frankenlog was heavily inspired by Eddy Hope’s Calendex system and the Alastair Method of Future Logging. As much as I liked the Calendex system, it was made for future logging and I needed a monthly solution. I also didn’t like how much page-flipping was involved with that system.
I wanted to create a comprehensive system that would allow me to get an overview of the monthly landscape while still giving me enough room to freely add things to my monthly tasks. I also wanted to be able to track a few good habits without having to flip around to dedicated habit trackers.
It’s all about efficiency! I was inspired by Michael P. Fox’s “Hydration (quadrant counter)* when I realized that I could use a single box to track several habits! I needed to be able to really maximize available space, and the system of assigning letters to tasks was a huge breakthrough that meant I could use every single line of the task list and never have to worry about wasting space.
A lot of people only associate Frankenlog with it’s unique lettering system. But at its heart, Frankenlog is a monstrous amalgam of several different logs and spreads all mixed into one. It is truly worthy of its name, and I hope you find it worthy of your time.
Thanks for checking it out.
*Check out his really cool website, Universal Journal.