Here are a few clever ideas to help you get more out of your Index. You don’t have to use any or all of these ideas, but you might find them useful to incorporate into your system.

1. Split it in half to maximize space.

split your bullet journal index

By splitting the Index in half you get twice the amount of room which is helpful in case you find that you have a lot of entries. By splitting the Index in half you can also separate between specific Collections that you have. For example, you could have one side be meeting notes and the other side be the rest of your Collections.

2. Assigned Indexes.

2 Assigned

Instead of splitting the Index in half, you could assign entire pages to a specific topic. For example, one page could be for your general collections, another could be for meetings, and another could be for projects. This way you can quickly see all of your collections under a specific topic at a glance.

3. Underline specific Collections

3 Underline

If you would rather not split your Index or assign pages (especially if you’re new to the Bullet Journal) and just want to add to the Index as you go along, but find that you need to have certain ones stand out more, then you could consider underlining some. To give them further context, you could underline with different colors. For example, blue could be work, purple could be home, and red could be assignment break-downs.

4. Add a Signifier next to specific Collections

4 Signifiers

If you would rather not underline, then consider using a Signifier next to certain Collections to give them more context. This way you can see relevant ones at a glance. For example, project Collections that you’re currently working on could have an asterisk next to them to signify priority.

5. Place a Bullet next to Collections to indicate what you’re working on, have completed, discarded, or migrated.

5 Bullets

This hack can work in any of the above methods because it treats each entry in the Index as an actionable item. By doing this, you can focus on the pertinent Collections. Simply add a dot Bullet to indicate that an entry in the Index is a task you’re working on and once all of the Collections in that line are completed, you can mark it as such. If the Collection was cancelled or didn’t work for some reason, cross it off to mark it as irrelevant. This idea is also helpful when you get a new Bullet Journal to see which Collections to migrate over.

About Kim Alvarez

Kim Alvarez is the creative behind Tinyrayofsunshine.com, where she writes about the Bullet Journal, productivity, planning, and other creative pursuits. She is working on opening up an Etsy shop with goodies that will bring a smile to your face!
  • Kaitlyn Toles

    Ever since I first saw you mention the idea to include bullets in your index, I’ve been using it to great success! It makes it SO easy to see at a glance what needs to be transferred to a new Bullet Journal. Thanks as always for your creative insights Kim!

    • Thank you, Kaitlyn! I’m so stoked the idea has been working so well for you 🙂

  • Great hacks, Kim! I use a separate index for my long entries, so this post was right up my alley. Splitting the index is a great option, as well. Thanks again!

    • Thank you, M.J.! Great minds think alike (;

  • This is great! Thanks.

  • Momi Thinz

    : great tips! i have to try this too. thank you for sharing! ^_^♡

    http://momithinz0131.blogspot.com

  • I love the idea of colours and splitting the index in half… thank you

  • Francois Miro

    These are good tips, but my biggest problem with indexes is keeping them alphabetized. You find things fastest when an index is alphabetized, but on an analog index, that becomes impossible, try as you might. My solution was unfortunately, digital: I type my index on a computer, in alphabetical order, where it’s easy to insert a topic between two topics to keep everything in alphabetical order. When I’ve used up the book, then I write the index in the bulletjournal, or just print out the index (if it’s too long) and tape it in the journal. I don’t have a solution that does away with the digital part. Does anyone?

    • ohjodi

      Why not divide the index into four sections, A-F, G-L, M-R, S-Z. Or six, or eight sections, whatever you need. That way your entries are at least paritally alphabetized. You could use one page for each section, or divide each page in half, vertically.

  • Liz Travis

    I split my index and have all my daily logs listed on one side and the rest of the collections on the other. It has been a good change. (first page filled up too quickly). The other hack I have is that I have a sticky note with items I’ve put in the back of the book. I did that because I didn’t have an idea of where those pages were going to fall in the index’s original layout. I use those pages for my internal discussion of the “how to” and “to try” for the bullet journal; my Calendex attempt; my litigation list; and my exercize plans.

  • isaaccrabtree

    Great ideas, but do we have to call them “hacks.” I feel like using that word makes people sound like such…

  • Sathyanand S

    I’ve always been a fan of using a notebook as a personal management tool (for tasks/ projects, work/personal, review, etc).

    The greatest downfall of using a pen-and-paper method is its inherent navigation constraint. It’s simply difficult to find where is where. ‘Indexing’ system at the beginning or end of the notebook helps one navigate through the maze. It sounds deceptively simple, but having an index helps searching, retrieval and reference of notes easier.

    Read more about it here: http://sathyawrites.com/indexing-your-notebook/