Frankenlog – How It Works

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 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 Calendar

The top of the left page of the spread holds the monthly calendar. Each day is a 9×9 box containing the date and a small daily habit box. Looking at the key at the bottom of the calendar, you can see that each of my four daily habits (meditate, 7 hours sleep, no candy, exercise) has its own symbol that fits inside each day’s habit box. Entering all four 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.

While it’s nice to see Star Days shining at you off the page, this method also allows you to easily track how well you’re doing on each individual habit. If I want to see how well I’ve done with exercising, I just train my eye to look for that horizontal line and I can see that Monday and Wednesdays are trouble spots.

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 M for this one thing (nunna yo business!!!), Y for yoga, and P for weekly planning. I could track two more things but I’m having a hard enough time with three so that’s fine. Inside each box you can use whatever symbol you like to show you’ve completed that habit for the week. In the example above, I got my M and my P done in week one and did all three in week two (nice).

ADVANCED HARDCORE BANDIT MODE: You can actually 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 four times each week. If you’re gonna go this route, I suggest you put dots above each letter to remind yourself how many times per week you would like to take each action (here’s an old pic for an example).

This pic is old… Never you mind all that old-timey formatting.

Below each set of boxes there is a large box for each week. This box 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 I did with letter F.

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.

Scheduling single Tasks

Okay! Let’s talk about those letters. They allow you to assign tasks/events to certain days or weeks.

If you need to do something on the 10th, write the task 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 the 10th. That’s it!

Got a lot to do in one day? Add them all to the task list, assign them letters, then write all those letters in that day on the calendar… BAM! There’s enough space in each box for as many as seven letters (or 10 or 12 if you write itty bitty).

Weekly tasks! These are things that have to be this week but not on any given day. The weekly boxes on the left let you schedule these. By putting letter D up there, I know I have until Saturday to get it done (yes, the week ends on Saturday – don’t @ me). There’s plenty of space in each weekly box for several tasks.

What about unscheduled tasks? 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! If you decide later that you want to assign a task to a given date, just add a letter to it later like I did with letter G below when I decided to do it on the 13th.

Doesn’t matter if letters are out of order. G got added later so it looks like it’s cutting in line. Rude.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re going to have more than 26 dated tasks every month and you’ll run out of letters in the alphabet. No worries. 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.

ADVANCED HARDCORE BANDIT MODE: A better way to avoid using up letters is to break your tasks/events into different lists based on their context. One for work, one for home, one for errands, etc. Check out the entry on Frankenblog to see how to set this up for yourself, you Advanced Hardcore BuJo Bandit!

Scheduling Events

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. But… If you were off work all week, that letter might go in a weekly box. Huh. Just thought of that. Neat.

Repeating Tasks/Events

Okay, this is where the system really shines. I love this part. Frankenlog makes it STOOPID easy to schedule repeating tasks. Assign a letter to a task, then write that letter into different dates again and again all over the place. In the picture above, letter C needs doing every Friday. Ah – what about a repeating task that needs doing every four days! Gotcha covered – look at letter H above.

monthly tasks

Okay, sure, yes – technically all the tasks in your monthly log are ideally supposed to get done this month, but I needed a place to put tasks that have to be done this month, just not on any particular day. Letter E is in the “This Month” box so I know it’s gotta happen.

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. A standard Ryder Carroll-style Monthly Log doesn’t have enough space for this, and keeping it in the Daily Logs means it could be overlook. 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.

rescheduling

When something gets rescheduled, you don’t need to change the task/event at all in the list. Just cross out the letter from the original date and rewrite it on the new date. Easy-peasy.

Using Frankenlog Day-to-Day

Frankenlog is not a replacement for Daily Logs. Think of it more as a monthly command center that you use to update your dirty dailies each morning/evening when you’re reviewing your bullet journal.

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. There’s several examples in the list pictures above of how to handle items on your Tasks/Events list.

If you complete an undated task during the month, simply mark it off the way you would any other bullet journal task – turn that dot into an X.

If you have incomplete tasks in your Daily Log at the end of the day, you could leave them there (where they will be lost forever and you’ll be full of regret) or you can give them a scheduling (<) symbol and move them over to Frankenlog where you can store them or schedule them as you see fit.

Now, when it comes to dated tasks, I handle them two different ways.

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 (*) in your daily log 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 leaving its bullet alone until the last occurence is done.

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.

©2020 Brian Hazard. All Rights Reserved.