I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Ryder for sharing my Calendex system and thanks to everyone who has read, shared, reviewed and implemented it in their own bullet journal.

My analog journey all started around 2 years ago when I began to recognise my obsession with online methods to organise both my personal and professional life. I was using an increasing number of any and all new GTD systems and productivity apps constantly being distracted like some sort of magpie when it sees something shiny. So I decided to simplify my efforts, getting rid of unnecessary apps and focus on a new streamlined workflow based around an analog method aided by digital tools. So after hunting for blogs/videos/tips on using the age old technology (paper and pen) to manage aspects of my life I came across the Bullet Journal. I was very intrigued and set off to see if I could make it work for me.

I tinkered with Ryder’s original system slightly but noticed that there was no clear way of planning for future events, apart from the calendar Ryder implements at the beginning of each month which wasn’t flexible enough for me. So off I went to scour the internet once again looking for any hacks or methods to plan for future events. I didn’t find any, the only thing I did find was an obvious frustration from fellow Bullet Journal users about having no such system in place so I decided to try and come up with a way of dealing with this major issue myself.

So one day when I was on the lookout for a replacement notebook for a new Bullet Journal, flicking through the pages of many different brands, one of the key strengths to the Bullet Journal suddenly popped into my head, the index. From here you find the category, project or month you’re after so why not use a similar system to find events! The idea came like a bolt of lightning! Use a separate index as a calendar. I went home and began to plan out layouts, tried to think of an awesome name and share my idea before the January of the new year 2014.

The Calendex was born, a calendar/index hybrid. I immediately started to get a great response from Bullet Journal users, many of whom came up their own little Calendex hacks etc. I wrote the original blog post almost 2 years ago and still use it effectively. The only difference being that because my Bullet Journal resides in a pocket notebook, I had to adapt the layout to fit.

Here’s how I use it now… (I made this Calendex especially for this post so I have used a medium A5 notebook)

calendex_1

First things first ­ Setting up my Calendex. (I’m using a squared notebook) Using a double page spread, I draw out a table consisting of 12 columns to represent each month, this way I can nicely fit 6 months on each page and 31 rows for each day down the left­hand side (1st- ­31st) just like Ryder’s original calendar. You’ll notice I have separation lines in each column, this is to break down the months by weeks. So if there is a horizontal line spanning the width of the column, it means that the row above the line is week ending sunday and the row below the line is week beginning monday. Also I have Diagonal lines at the bottom of some monthly columns, obviously some months don’t have 31 days so this is to quickly show when the month ends. In the example above the Feb column ends on the 29th as it is a leap year next year.

Now the way it works is very simple… for the purpose of this example I am meeting a client on the 7th Jan 2016, so I go to my next available page (pg 90) and draw a square to check off once event has happened, write down the due date, event title and any extra todos or notes.

calendex
Then I go to my calendex and in the January column, I find line 7 (representing the 7th day) and write the page number in the first available sqaure. I then draw a square around the page number which I’ll explain about shortly… A quick glance at my Calendex shows me that I have something planned on the 7th of January, I can then go to that page number and see what it is. That’s pretty much it.

Calendex
I did notice a slight snag with my original system that on the rare occasion I would add more than one event on the same page, how would I know which event linked with the date in the calendex? This is why I made two adjustments here and why I highlighted using a square check box earlier in this post. I put the due date/time of the event after the check box and if I had 2 events on the same page, I would change the shape of the check box. Here’s an example…

calendex_4
As you can see I have 2 events, a meeting with my accountant on the 1st February and a friends birthday on the 31st of March, on completely different dates but found on the same page… pg93. The check box for my meeting is a square, the check box for the birthday is a circle. In my calendex I just use the same shape as the check box to surround the page number so visually it’s just a quicker way to find the event I’m looking for.

calendex_5
There are of course other ways of doing this such as colour coding, but I don’t like using or carrying any extra pens/pencils that slow me down, one pencil and one book is all I need. One final thing I do is to cross off each day as it passes so either at the end of the current day, cross it off or in the morning, cross out the previous day. This gives me a clear indication of where I am in the calendex and what day/date it is.

calendex_6

I do still use google calendar as a hold­all so any events in my Calendex or Bullet Journal go straight in there too. This is a very flexible system which works great for me even in my little pocket notebook, I draw in my calendex by turning the book sideways to fit. If you like this system please give it a go and let me know how you get on or share any of your own little Calendex hacks. You can find me on twitter or google+ I hope it works out and proves to be a good solution if you decide to try it.

Good luck and happy journaling. | Eddy ­ The Nib Guy

About Eddy Hope

Creator of the #calendex | Web Designer | Social Media-ist | Stationery and productivity enthusiast | Lover of all things design... and biscuits.
  • This seems a very good solution to a common problem. I am a very recent adopter of the bullet journal and I have already faced this problem of not having where to put future appointments. I am going to try this method.

  • Luan Oliveira

    I intend on doing something similar from february on… Since my notebook is a pocketable one, the regular BuJo calendar proved to be too litle to fit everything sometimes. So I decided I’m going to draw a regular 5×7 table to be february. Then in the next page I’ll list the open tasks with numbers, like a key to the calendar. Since I’m just a college student without a whole lot of meetings and events, I don’t think I’ll run out of space in the list.

  • Kelly Lynch

    Hi Eddy,

    Great post – thank you! I’d read one of your earlier blog post, but a friend pointed out your new blog post here and I reviewed it as a refresher. I’m swamped with future events right now, so it’s time for me to give the Calendex an earnest try. I do have one question – I go through Bullet Journals about every 3 to 4 months. Have you found an easy way to transition from one BuJo to a new one when using the year-long Calendex? (In other words – noted pages would then be in “previous” books — so, would migrating of those pages be required?) Looking forward to any thoughts you might have on this!

    • gamesbook

      If you know you use one journal per 3 months, why not either (a) keep the next one with you, if you need to do a lot of detailed future planning on the go, or (b) keep a simple, thin “future bujo” which is only used to write down key points for all future tasks; the idea being to do the detailed plan when you have the relevant journal available.

      Example; you are in Q1 – but suddenly you hear of a birthday that needs to be organised in Q4 – you note the date and a few key points (cake? venue? invites?) in the “future” book. Later, at home, you take out the Q4 journal and do the plan in more detail. So – one source for quick “on the fly” capture, and then a “correct” place for all the details.

      • SettingGoalz

        I like this approach. The Calendex is a great way to index my close-in “hard edges” (in GTD parlance), but the lighter method for those who go through a few(!) Bullet Journals per year, may benefit from the Alastair method shared in another blog post: https://bulletjournal.com/future-log-the-alastair-method/

  • P. Joan Gavigan

    This is very intriguing. Am new to this entire BuJo thing and have had a similar issue with future planning. I am wondering: if one has a LOT of appointments in any given day, scheduled 5-12 months in advance, or, for example, events that pertain to many clients at once, if one couldn’t use the Calendex System, but over four pages instead of two and then somehow divide the days horizontally into morning/evening or all day/morning/evening (borrowing the idea from Kara Benz of BohoBerry.com )? Or at that point, perhaps just do the visual calendars and be done with it? I really like the idea of your online calendar for long-term back up! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Anna Benoir

    Thats sooooooooo great!!! I´v never had so clearly thoughts in my mind, sinse I found bulletjornal!!! Greatings from Germany! Anna

  • Very compact system to use for future events; works well with your pocket-sized bullet journal, I’ll bet! I will try this on my next journal. I am also new to the BJ, so I am using a future log system wherein I put 3 months on one page, each with their own good-sized horizontal block (I think it was actually demonstrated on this site or YouTube), so I have 4 pages in my index listed for my calendar year/future log. This method has been easy to not only list upcoming commitments, but also jot extra notes I refer to before that month arrives, and of course the commitment is listed on the appropriate page as well.
    Currently, all 12 months are together on consecutive pages; however I’m also toying with the idea of putting spreading them out—making the future log quarterly. So, one page for 1st quarter (Jan/Feb/Mar) followed by the bullet journal pages for those months, then 2nd quarter and so on.

  • jtwizz

    love this idea. i currently use the original future log. i don’t do a lot of future planning, so this currently works for me, but i was always mildly annoyed that if i had something planned on, say, the 20th of the month, and then *later* planned something on the 6th, that the event on the 6th would be written after the 20th in my future log. I will definitely consider the calendex for future bullet journalling!

  • Jennifer

    I’m not a fan of buying a “system” only so I end up having to draw calendar lines in it all the time. Why not just use the free Hallmark calendar they have at the checkout when you buy a greeting card?

  • Caren Glasser

    Great tweak. I like being able to “look” at my calendar in a similar way as I do with my google calendar. This fits the bill for me! Thanks, Eddy!
    Caren

    • Hey Caren, funny to see you showing up in this comment stream. I didn’t know you did Bullet Journaling. It’s a BRAND NEW concept for me that I’m just starting to learn about. 🙂

      • CarenTaubmanGlasser

        I have been bullet Journaling since the beginning of the year. It has streamlined my day! Happy to talk with you about how I’m using it!

        • Perfect, I will email you to set up a time we can chat. I’d love to get your input on it, but also just to get caught up with you as it’s been ages since we have connected. Thanks so much and have a great day!

  • Sandy Baker

    Great idea! I am new to all of this, and am hoping to become more prepared, instead of just scheduled.. This will be a great help!

  • Suit and Tie Outdoors

    Eddy, thanks for creating the Calendex. I’m looking to use my BuJo for both work and personal life. My question is this…do you still use the regular daily pages. Does your calendex and the bookmarked pages that contain your events replace the need for the daily log?

  • Journal With Me

    How is this any different than listing the dates down the side of the page and then puting the page number of what your looking for next to it i dont understand this stystem

    • Erin

      My assumption is that this is what you state but with the whole year on the spread.

  • Anon68

    I’m not quite understanding how this is a new hack…? Ryder did build a Future Log into his orginal system, only it was a 6 month spread instead of a year. But it was similar to this. Also, you don’t have to carry multiple pens with you to color code anymore. Refillable multipens have been on the market for awhile now, with up to 5 color cartridges each. Best selling brands are Pilot Hi Tec-C Coleto and Uni Style Fit Meister, on http://www.jetpens.com or Amazon.

  • EHans

    This is pure unadulterated genius, and exactly what I have been looking for. I found this about 4 weeks ago and immediately created one with 13 months on it. I have a relatively new notebook that should last 6 more months, and 13 gives me Dec 2016 and all of 2017 to plan for.

    One question: Do you have any ideas on how to handle recurring tasks?

    For example, I have to do the same thing on the 21st of the month and prefer to have that in my BuJo. So with the Calendex, it became the same thing on the 21st straight across. Which, while easy to write, looks, at best, meh.

    I am considering adding a tiny 14th column to just hold monthly recurring things and then reference the page where the details exist.

    Wanted other ideas if anyone has them though before I do that.

    And again, thanks so much for this idea. The only thing I have never been happy with was the original implementation of the Future Log. It just didn’t work for me.

  • Changez Yusuf Mumtaz

    Seems good, but I don’t see a need for different shapes if you have two events listed on the same page. If they’re different, you already now which one is referring to which.

  • Changez Yusuf Mumtaz

    What about the index? Do we still need to maintain one?