An important part of the Bullet Journal system is the Index or Table of Contents at the beginning of the book. Because the idea is to take the next page in your notebook for every idea you have, things can get confusing fast. These ideas can also be used in other notebooks and systems.
The great thing about keeping going forward in the book and only using a handful of pages earlier in the book is that I haven’t indexed the book yet. Let’s call it a great thing instead of me being lazy…
So, why is an Index (Ryder Carroll calls it an Index, though it’s more of a Table of Contents), important for a bujo? The first thing is that it actually allows you to find pages even years down the line. For example, I’ve got a page about optimal field sizes in Banished (a city builer/resource manager game), way back in my first bujo, and instead of rewriting the page into each notebook, I can now refer to my Index page in that notebook and find it immediately. It also gives you a great overview of what is in the book.
That’s my empty page. I did reserve a page for the Index and the back of this page is also empty so I can use it if needed. I split the page into two halves so that I can write more entries on this page. I didn’t like the look of just having one list of entries on the left side of the page and then having more than half the page empty on the other side. So I drew a line down the middle and voila, two columns for entries.
There are two ways to make this.
One, is to write the number of pages already down, so 1, 2, 3, etc. This means you can write the index in advance. It’s the easiest way, but by far not the most efficient or useful way. The thing is, you’ll probably regularly make “spread” pages, where you use both facing pages when they’re spread out. This often happens if you use more traditional block calendars, in this method you’d have for example “September calendar left” and “September calendar right”, or “Weekly spread left” and “Weekly spread right”. It takes up a lot of redundant space.
The other way is to group pages, which is what I use. When you group pages you list for example “48-57 September” this means that pages 48 to 57 have the monthly spread pages for September. I could have split it up into “48-49 September Calendar”, “50-51 September Workout Schedule”, “52 September Tracker”, etc. But since I already know that 48-57 are the monthly pages, I simply list them as one big bulk.
But what if I have collections between my montly or weekly pages? Well, I also list those. For example I have a list of things I need to take care of for my birthday party back in week 32, this is listed as:
36-41 W32 8-14 Aug
42-46 W33 15-21 Aug
This way I can keep my dates together (pages 36 to 41 include a weekly spread and all of my pages with dailies from that week), so I only need to look for a week number or a date-spread to be able to find a specific date.
It’s handy not to have to look through lists and lists of pages, and to have to write them, but instead to just list the relevant pages, the others can be combined into relevant units together (like weekly blocks, or monthly blocks).
By adding coloured dots to the end of the entries I can even colour code them with the same colours as the Edge Markings I’ve blogged about previously. Yes, I may have some redundacy with my tagging, but I like it that way. The tagging doesn’t take much time and by tagging the index I can quickly scan through multiple notebooks for a certain type of entry that I need (for example if I can’t remember what notebook I put the list of books from Raymond E. Feist in, which is tagged with a blue Media dot).
Another system trick! This can of course be applied to any notebook you have, not just at the front but even on an empty page in the back. What did you think? Will you be using it, or do you use it already?