Hey everyone! I hope you had a great start of the month. Today, I’m starting a new series here on the blog that I’m calling Bullet Journal Building Blocks. The basic idea is that in each post, I’ll focus on one of the four basic modules of the bullet journal system. My hope is that these in-depth looks at each building block will clarify your understanding of the bullet journal system and inspire you to adapt and improve the ways you use these four modules.
In this first post, I’m going to be focusing on the first module: the index. Ok, let’s get started!
Note: If you’re new to bullet journaling, it’s probably a good idea to learn the basics first. You can read my post on the basics of the bullet journal system here.
The index is the part of your bullet journal that keeps everything orderly and organized. Because the bullet journal system includes everything in one place (to-do lists, calendars, journaling, doodles, etc), it would take forever to find anything without the index. Instead of flipping frantically through your journal trying to find that one page, the index allows you to easily locate entries.
The Original Index
Ryder Carroll’s original index is a simple list where you write the name of the page and, directly after it, the page number.
Make extra space by splitting the index in half
Not enough space in your index? Splitting it in half is a great way to create more space.
Categorize your index by splitting it
Similar to the previous tip, you can split your index into two sections and sort your entries into categories. Here are a few of the many ways you can categorize your index:
- collections and daily logs
- collections and monthly logs
- work/school and personal
Using signifiers is another way to categorize index entries. You can have different symbols for different types of pages. For example, in my index, I put an arrow next to each monthly log and write the name of the month in bold.
Color code index entries
You could also use color coding to categorize entries.
Another idea is to use color to emphasize important or frequently visited pages.
I use a Leuchtturm1917 notebook for my bullet journal, which already has an index in the front, but not all notebooks have that luxury. Some bullet journalists who don’t have a ready-made index choose not to have one at all, especially the ones using notebooks that don’t have numbered pages. If you decide to go that route, I would recommend one of the edge indexing or corner writing techniques I’ll explain later in this post. These pictures are great inspiration for creating an index from scratch:
Using tabs on the edges of pages are a great way to mark important pages.
Edge indexing is when you mark the edge of a page to make it easy to flip though. There are a few different ways to do it:
1) Color index:
The color index, created by Kara of Boho Berry, involves using a color coding system to mark the edges of pages. This technique has been super helpful for me. I use my Tombow Dual Brush Pens to color rectangles on the edges of pages.
This is the same concept as the color index, but instead of using a marker, you fold a sticker over the edge of the page.
3) Washi tape:
I am obsessed with washi tape. You can use it for edge indexing by using it the same way as you would stickers. Or, you could place washi tape along the entire edge of the page.
Dee of Decade Thirty came up with this great idea because her notebook doesn’t have numbered pages: in the top corner of each page, she writes the title of the entry so she can easily flip through and see the titles of all of her pages.
You can create additional indexes for different types of pages. Here are some ideas:
- a meeting notes index
- a blog post index—I use this to keep track of the pages where I plan out blog posts
- a projects index
- a journaling or narrative entries index—I was inspired to start one of these by Megan from Page Flutter—she has a great post on narrative entry indexing that you can read here.
Don’t index everything
My last tip for you all is this: don’t index everything. When I started bullet journaling, I put everything in my index, and it filled up really fast. Most of the things in it were pages I was never going to need again. I’ve now learned that I only need to index the pages that I might need to reference later. Most of the things I index are collections, though I do index monthlies.
Wow, this was a long one! I hope you found some index inspiration in this post. 🙂 For your convenience, I’m including a list of all of the posts in this series (Bullet Journal Building Blocks) below. I’m going to be updating it as I write more posts!
P.S. I have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to the index! Check it out here.
How do you use the index in your bullet journal? I’d love to chat about it in the comments below!
Posts in this Series
Bullet Journal Index Inspiration (this post!)
Free Stock Photo courtesy of picxclicx.com