Pure Bullet Journal, No Google Calendar…. Couldn’t Do It

Frankenlite for March ’19

I should be able to use Frankenlog as my only calendar, right? It’s excellent for task management, so why not load everything in and give it a whirl? Lots of people do it, but I’ve noticed that they don’t usually have as much stuff going on as I do. No, seriously. Go look at the “About” page. I’ve got a lot going on!

I decided that I would give it the ol’ college try (I’m in grad school, so it’s a literal college try). For the month of March, I moved everything out of Google Calendar and made the attempt to work exclusively out of my bullet journal. I decided to use all the collections from a standard BuJo (Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log, etc.) and that I would not refer to my GCal for the entire month. How did I do? Oh, well I guess the title sort of gives this away. Let’s pretend you didn’t read the title so you can have a little suspense. Cool? Cool.

The picture above was from March 1st. You’ll notice I’m using a different format of Frankenlog conceived by Smitha SP from the Minimalist Bullet Journals group on Facebook. I named it Frankenlite since it was so much easier to draw and it didn’t have space for weekly tasks or habit trackers. However, I’m a fan of the full feature set, so I added that stuff back in. I’m going to keep calling it Frankenlite though because it’s still easier to draw and the name is kinda already stuck to it, so… Moving on!

In that picture, you’ll notice that there was already an awful lot of stuff on March 1st (such is my life). In preparation of having tons of tasks/appointments (aka “stuff”), I made the next two pages in my journal consist only of additional columns like those you see above. That means I have 7 full columns waiting for stuff. Sweet. Plenty of room here….

But not in the Future Log. In order to avoid referencing my Google Calendar at all, I realized that I was going to have to move all my appointments and events for the year out of the calendar and into my Future Log. Fair enough. I was committed to the experiment. Unfortunately, as I started moving things over, I ran into my biggest pet peeve… Lack of space!

DAMMIT!!!

Even with the Alastair Method, my current Future Log format was no match for the pile of stuff I was trying to add to it. Change was needed.

Just putting in March’s stuff broke poor Alastair’s back. :-\

As usual, my biggest concern was having enough space. If you haven’t noticed yet, I have a metric crap ton of stuff to track. I like that the Alastair Method is so much like rapid logging, but I can’t be limited to three months per page. I needed something that would allow me to use all the space in any way that I needed. And so a new Future Log format was born. I give you… The ProLog!

The ProLog. Thanks much to Velma Gallant for the name!

This Future Log variant allowed me to fit an entire year of tasks AND calendar events into a single spread. Nice! I asked the lunatics over on the Minimalist Bullet Journals group on Facebook to name it, and Velma’s suggestion was my favorite. ProLog? You know… Like a prologue? And because it’s a log? Pro because it’s hardcore? Anyway… The small columns are for the month and the wide column is for the day and the details. I should have included a bit more space so that a bullet is included in each entry so I can mark it with with a > once they’re migrated. I’ll add that next time. This spread lets me rapid log my future log entries in non-chronological order and I won’t run out of space. Eeeeeexcellent. Here’s a video explaining how to use it.

Note to self: Upload custom thumbnails…

Having loaded up the Frankenlite and the ProLog, I was ready to face March with analog agility! Or was I…..

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone

Click here for music to accompany this picture.

The first three days of trying this were like detox. It was SO HARD to resist looking at my Google Calendar. Then the challenges started mounting.

  • My phone started ringing in a meeting – it usually silences itself when my Google Calendar says I’m busy. I’d have to always be mindful of my ringer, which is not something I’ve had to think about for years now.
  • No more reminders ten minutes before a meeting starts.
  • No more tapping an event in GC and pulling up the address in Google Maps.
  • My boss asked me when was the next time I’d have an hour to go over something. It took me way too long to tell him. It was a tad embarrassing, especially since I’m known as the crazy organized guy.
  • Much harder to compare my schedule to Jenny’s (the wife). Usually I could just turn on both our shared calendars and see where the bars cross over. No longer.

I wanted so badly to power through until the end of the month with my experiment. But on day six, I missed an appointment and two things (albeit minor things) didn’t get done. That was the end of the experiment. And so, with a heavy sigh that you’ll just have to imagine because you weren’t there and I don’t know how to show you something that happened in the past that has so little value… I went back to Google Calendar.

It guess it was always meant to be….

——

The Frankenlog system is great for tracking my many tasks, and it might even work as a full-fledged calendar for someone with a lot less stuff than I have, but in the end I was very happy to go back to living in digital delight.

Do you use your bullet journal as your all-in-one calendar? What kind of spread works for you? Let me know in the comments!

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Too Many Habits!

(This entry assumes you’re familiar with Frankenlog. If not, head over here and take a gander!)

I was chatting with a fellow Frankenlog user on Facebook earlier today and she mentioned finding it hard to achieve star days. These are days in which you have successfully done all of your habits and have filled in that day’s box with all five symbols, creating what looks like a starburst to celebrate your achievement.

Here’s a New Year’s fueled streak of accomplishment!

The truth is, achieving five habits everyday is a hard thing to do! It could even be argued that five habits is too many habits to track each day.

As we all know, the best way to start new habits is to start with small, incremental changes. This may mean starting with only one habit that is tracked each day. Once it becomes second nature, we can add on another and so on until we are happy with our results.

Just because Frankenlog allows for tracking five daily and five weekly habits doesn’t mean you need to go that route. Here’s how you can use the system to track fewer habits and still get “star days.”

Less Daily Habits

Tracking 2 or 3 habits each day

Take a look at the 3rd and the 4th in the picture above. If you wanted to track only two habits per day, use the symbol from the 3rd for habit #1 and the symbol from the 4th for habit #2. You could even just skip that dot in the middle and use the lines to create your star day.

Now take a look at the next week. You could use the three symbols from the 10th, 11th, and 12th to track three daily habits, still making the star when you’re done.

Less Weekly Habits

If you look at the picture above one more time, you’ll notice that there are five boxes on the left of each week to track five habits. Putting a letter at the top of each column of boxes reminds us which habit we’re tracking with each box. But as you can see on my own Frankenlog, I only track three weekly habits. Sure, I could probably come up with another two, but filling up my trackers is the wrong reason to track a habit. I only track what I feel is best for me. You should do the same, too. 🙂


Wow, look at me. Lots of blog posts this weekend! Don’t get used to it, folks. Once grad school starts up again I’ll be a ghost. However I do hope to write soon about the other breeds of Frankenlogs that other users have come up with. Stay tuned!