Bullet Journal Index: the Ultimate Guide

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Congratulations on deciding to start your Bullet Journal. After key, comes index.

Here we will talk how to set it up, why you need it and how you should use it. 

I will be very honest here, I was SO confused about the whole Bullet Journal thing, before I read this book: Brainbook. Check it out!

Let’s gather our supplies:

When it comes to setting up your index, having right supplies can make ALL the difference in the world. 

  1. Fineliner pen:
    My favorite are: SakuraPentel and Faber Castell
  2. Highlighters:
    My favorite are: Zebra Midliner, Stabilo Boss Highlighters.
  3. Brush Pens:
    My favorite are: TomBow Colored and Black Brush pens.
  4. Bullet Journal: 
    My favorite are: Leuchtturm1917, Dingbats and Moleskine.  

Did you manage to start your Bullet Journal? If not, then look no further.

There’s a LOT of information on the internet about bullet journaling, but Brainbook breaks down the core elements of what you need to know in a way that’s easy to understand and relevant to your life…all in one convenient place.

With this comprehensive bullet journaling roadmap by your side, you’ll know exactly how to set up your journal for success from start to finish!

BUJO Journal
BUJO INDEX

What is Bullet Journal Index?

It’s basically a functional list of everything you’re writing in your journal. 

Yes, present tense, because you create your index as you go. 

Think of it as a Table of Contents, but with the freedom of an Index.

Have a look at the definitions of each –  we made our own definition of a Bullet Journal Index to help you understand it better.

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Bullet Journal Index: A numerical list of all the journal’s content, collections, topics, etc., with reference to the places where they occur, typically found at the front of a journal – meaning specifics are added as the journal is being written.

How to set up a Bullet Journal Index:

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The first step, in this case, is simply to leave the first few pages of your journal empty.

As you start to use notebook, add the topics of your entries and their page numbers to the Index, so you can quickly find them later.

How Important is it to Have an Index Page in Your Journal?

“Well that doesn’t seem very critical” you might say. 

To be honest many a Bullet Journaler has omitted actually including an Index. Mostly because they don’t understand it – and possibly because they have an alternative method of sorting through their journals.

Even so, there is value in having a Bullet Journal Index, it’s designed to organize. 

Your journals can be a maze and having a functional Index to rely on is key.

Pros of using a Bullet Journal Index:

1. Makes everything easy to find

No one has time to flip through a thousand pages of thoughts (unless you’re an artist and it’s a fun pastime). Keep it simple and do the effort to add quick Index entries when you’re done writing.

2. Who like to write A LOT!

An Index is especially useful if your brain dump. A lot! Need to find that million-dollar idea, simply scan your Index to refresh your memory. 

3. Helps organize your thoughts

Creating the Index will help your brain map out clear thoughts. If thoughts fall under well-defined collections  it will help your brain focus on key areas of thought, one at a time.

When it’s ok not to use an Index:

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Bullet Journal

1. Artists that thrive in mess)

Let’s face it, our lives are already diverse enough, and we love flipping through our creations.

2. You have a thin notebook

An Index isn’t really necessary when you have less than 50 pages.

3. When you’ve figured out an alternative method to Index

Perhaps you use tabs or color-coding on your page edges. If you have figured out some creative alternative, share in the comments 🙂 

Index Ideas:

There are many ways to Index.

Your journaling style will determine the Index style you choose. It could be useful to try creating a few draft indexes on loose pages first, to see which you prefer.

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Source

1. Index numerically:

This is a very organized method, where each page is indexed. It’s great for those who are super organized.

As you add items to your index based on the page number it’s written on, your Index just keeps getting longer.

This method ensures that everything is accounted for, but there are some drawbacks.

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2. Index by Content:

Most Bullet journalers prefer this method, everything is accounted for, but with less detail. 

We love this example from Ryder himself.

This method relies heavily on collections (eg. “New Zealand Trip” in the above example) and it isn’t numerical, you add your collections as they are created and then list the page numbers that contain relevant information next to your collection. 

Books are all listed together and if you need to find a thought that was written down in April, you know between which pages to scan.

You’ll also save a ton of space, as page numbers are simply added next to collections.

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3. Index at the back:

If your journal doesn’t come with a predefined Index, consider adding your own Index to the back rather than the front.

This means you start with the last page and continue adding entries in reverse.

It will give you unlimited space to add entries, keeping it neat and tidy.

FAQ's:

How many pages should I devote to Index?

If you’re adding it to the back, you obviously don’t need to worry about this.

If you’d like a content index at the front, I recommend leaving at least four pages open. 

There are some creative ways to can save space, such as adding columns. The BUJO community is full of inspiration, just find what works for you.

What do I do if I run out of Index pages?

If you haven’t planned well and suddenly run out of pages, you can either start from the back or tape an extra page to the back of your last index page.

Cut this page smaller than the other pages, so the edges don’t stick out of your journal.

How to do the Index page like a pro?

No one size fits all, you’re Indexing like a pro when it works for YOU! 

That being said, there are some tips and tricks to get you going in the right direction. 

1. Don’t fall behind. – Stick to your method and add new pages, collections colors, etc. as you need them.
2. Use your Index –  the more you use it to find entries, the more your brain will be programmed to add entries.
3. Be creative, and add things to make your Index more functional. – You can use stickers, color, tabs, dividers, whatever will add functionality.

Alternative ideas to Index:

Instead of Index, what can I use in the beginning?

If an Index isn’t for you, but your Bullet Journal came with an Index, consider using the pages for another purpose. You can add your keys here, or use it for future logs. It’s also a handy place for a pretty doodle or inspirational quote.

What’s the verdict?

Using your Index is totally optional, but don’t not use it because you don’t know how. It can be a powerful tool to make your journaling structured, fun and even more powerful. 

Happy Bullet Journaling!

Did you manage to start your Bullet Journal? If not, then look no further.

There’s a LOT of information on the internet about bullet journaling, but Brainbook breaks down the core elements of what you need to know in a way that’s easy to understand and relevant to your life…all in one convenient place.

With this comprehensive bullet journaling roadmap by your side, you’ll know exactly how to set up your journal for success from start to finish!

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