Instead of using the stock bullet journal index that is popular in some top brand notebooks, learn how to design your own efficient index with a color coded system.
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I’m on my third bullet journal. The first one was a standard ruled A5 Notebook. But my second notebook was a Lechtturm1917, which I fell in love with. They have beautiful colors, nice paper, and the spacing between the dots is perfect for my liking. Not to downplay Leuchtturm’s design, but I’m not a fan of the Index. Without some way to categorize my pages, I feel that it ends up being a page cluttered with words that I can’t sift through.
So, after my first LT1917 was filled, I decided I would rip the index out of the second one. Ok, well maybe I didn’t tear it out like an angry toddler. I used an Exacto knife to cut the pages close to the binding. Then, I played around with some different designs and came up with my own, more efficient index.
PS: If you plan on using an Exacto blade or a similar tool like a razor blade, I highly recommend placing a cutting mat under the stock index pages you plan to cut out.
Alternative Bullet Journal Index
I’m a visual person. I respond well to colors and being able to categorize things by color, shape, etc. Plain ole’ lists are great, but color helps me easily identify what I’m looking for. So, the color coded index was born. I’m not taking credit for this idea, as I’m sure it’s been done a thousand times. Just shedding some insight on a bullet journal hack that has been tremendously helpful for me.
How to Pick Your Categories
Think of all the things that are important to you and that you plan on keeping track of in your journal. You’ll find a pattern. For me, health and fitness and my blog are major parts of my life. Like, HUGE. So obviously I have a color that corresponds to each. If you want, make a list, because hey, it’s an excuse to make another list. List out things you want to track or journal about, then decide your categories.
Now, you may have some random things like ‘movies to watch’, ‘books to read’, etc. For these type of entries, I designated a miscellaneous color. But you could also label them personal, entertainment, or fun shit. Do what feels best to you.
Some categories you may want to think about:
- Arts & Crafts
Use as many categories as you want, but be sure to have enough easily identifiable colors so that you aren’t getting two that look too similar.
I have six categories that you can see in the photo below. They’re: blog, health, planning, finances, goals, and miscellaneous. I used Zebra Mildliners for the colors. I didn’t make a key box; instead, my key is just along the bottom margin of the page. Also, I decided against highlighting the entire entry title and opted for a small two cell wide block beside the entry for color coding.
More Index Tips
Leave a narrow column on the right-hand side for notes. I know there is a chance I will have to make a second Instagram tracker or build off a page I previously indexed. The note section allows room to write down these small details.
What you choose to index will determine how many pages you need to leave for your index. Personally, I don’t index my weekly or daily logs. I index my monthly logs so I can quickly skip between months, but because I don’t index my dailies, weeklies or certain challenges I participate in, I don’t need as much room. I left three pages for my index and think it will be more than enough.
Don’t create index entries for pages that have not yet been made. What I mean is, don’t write that you are going to put your August monthly spread on pages 89-90 if you don’t already have them there. Unless you’re prepared with white out tape, don’t do it. You might get carried away with something else and end up with a collection on the pages where you monthly spread was planned.
The same is true for waiting to log entries in your index. It totally defeats the purpose of having an index if you wait until you’re on page 200 to index anything. It’s much quicker to just jot it down and color code in when you make the page.
Use washi tape to categorize. I know some of you are washi tape hoarders. No judgment here. You could use washi tape instead of markers or highlighters. Psst: this Etsy shop is possibly one of the best stationery shops out there. Lots and lots of washi!
I am loving my new bullet journal index setup. I find that it’s much easier to access pages that I’m looking for with the color coding. And I just like that it’s more artistic than the standard Leuchtturm1917 Index. If you decide to make your own Index after reading this post, please take a picture and tag me on Instagram.
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