Frankenlog consists of three main components: A monthly calendar, a task list, and daily/weekly habit 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 area with its date and a box (gray in the pic above) to be used for tracking habits. Using the key at the bottom of the calendar, you can track up to five different habits each day by marking the small box to indicate which habits have been completed (I usually just track four, but you do you). Entering all the 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 those 3×3 calendar days are too small to schedule much. Don’t worry – I’ll come back to that in a bit.
The Weekly Boxes
On the left side of the calendar there is a column to be used for tracking weekly habits and tasks. These spaces can be used for scheduling things that have to be done during that week, but not on a specific day. Each of these represents the week on the calendar to their right. In the example above, the first weekly box is for the week of Spizzuary 1st thru the 5th, the second one is for the week of the 6th thru the 12th, and so on.
The small boxes within each weekly section (gray in my setup) are used to track weekly habits the same way you track daily habits. At the bottom of the calendar, I create one key for weekly habits and another for the daily ones.
The Monthly Boxes
If you look below the calendar, you’ll see a section labeled “This Month.” This gives you a place to put things that have to be done this month, but not on any particular day. The “Next Month” section is for noting things that have to be done next month. I use it when I’m being lazy and I don’t want to go put something in my Future Log, but you can skip it if you don’t think you’d use it.
Now, let’s talk tasks, events, and all that good stuff.
The Task List
Below the calendar is the spot for monthly tasks (and events, if that’s your thing). It doesn’t matter whether or not they have a due date, and they don’t have to be in any order. Just write them down as they come to you on the next open line. If you need more space (and you probably will,) use the other page on the right. I recommend splitting the space below the calendar into two columns to make the best use of space, since entries tend to be short. If you use signifiers (asterisks or other symbols to mark things as important), put them to the right of an item’s bullet. If you don’t know what this signifier nonsense is all about, don’t worry about it, or ask the Google.
BUT WHAT’S WITH THE LETTERS, BRIAN! Those are magical letters. They allow you to assign tasks/events to certain days or weeks. Here’s how.
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! It doesn’t matter which letter you use, but I tend to go in alphabetical order.
There’s enough space in each day for several letters, so even if you have a lot of tasks for a given day, you’re unlikely to run out of room.
Suppose you have to send out that invoice during a certain week but not on any certain day. In this case, write that letter “A” in the weekly box on the left of that week. When you look at your Frankenlog each morning, you can decide when to take care of it.
“But what if I run out of letters in the alphabet?” I hear you say! If you have more than 26 dated tasks, start the alphabet over at “A” but circle the letters. Or put a box around them. Or use different colors (if you’re one of those crazy hippies that use something other than a black pen).
A side note about the letters: When I came up with Frankenlog, I tried all sorts of symbols to represent tasks on the calendar. I even considered using colors (I know, crazy). But there needed to be a lot of symbols and they needed to be something easy to use and familiar. That’s when I realized there was already a well-known set of 26 symbols that everyone was familiar with – the alphabet. How convenient!
Events are logged the same way as tasks. Put them on the list, assign a letter, and schedule them.
Just a heads up though: Frankenlog doesn’t work very well if you have a lot of events. As a professional, I’ve always used a digital calendar like Google Calendar for events because of this.
Undated tasks are easy peasy. Add them to the list and don’t assign them a letter. That’s it! And if you decide later on to schedule the task, give it a letter and but that letter on the calendar.
Frankenlog makes it super easy to schedule repeating tasks. Once you’ve assigned a letter to a task, just add that letter to the calendar where ever you need it. 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 you have 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. The BuJo Prophet Ryder Carroll is a disciplined ninja who just reviews his entire month’s daily logs every day to see what he needs to do, but I’m no where near that hardcore. With Frankenlog, there’s a place to put things for “later this month.” Just schedule it on the correct day. 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, just 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 in Frankenlog to show that it’s been moved. Be sure to give them a priority signifier (*) in your daily log 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.