This is an ultimate guide to bullet journal index.
So if you:
- don’t know what to index
- fill up the index way to quickly
- bullet journaling index looks cluttered and messy
- the notebook becomes dirty and worn out because of constant flipping through bujo pages in order to find specific pages
Then this guide will help you to organize your bullet journal once and for all.
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What is a Bullet Journal Index
Unquestionably, bullet journal index is a main basic element you should create in your notebook as first.
It’s more essential than you thought it would.
Sometimes, especially in the beginning of bullet journaling, you may think the bujo index page is unnecessary.
However, don’t be short-sighted.
Maybe now you have only 10 pages of bullet journal spreads and it’s so easy to navigate through it.
But what will be happening in just a few months? In most cases, one bullet journal notebook with 192 pages lasts for about 6 months.
Just think about it – in 6 months every single page will be filled in.
If you think about bujo as a large collection of random notes, trackers, daily planners, monthly goals, creative pages, etc, it seems pretty easy to get lost.
For that reason creating an index is so worth it.
First of all, your bujo is definitely more organized and uncluttered. It helps you to find all important pages when going through past chaotic all-in-one notebooks trying to find something specific.
Secondly, many times you write notes in different parts of the bullet journal. Indexing pages allows you to control what is where.
Last but not least, you’re able to find specific bullet journal collections faster. For that reason, you know where everything is and use a bujo on a regular basis.
However, if you’re using a bullet journal as an art journal, sketchbook or diary, it’s quite possible that you don’t need an index. Just choose what works best for you.
What to Index
Theoretically, you can put whatever you want in a bujo index page.
However, it may be not so good ideas to do it.
Don’t use an index to track everything- from monthly spreads, through collection pages to weeklies or even worse dailies. It’s the best way to clutter your bullet journal very quickly.
Besides, putting pages within the monthly set up in a bullet journal index doesn’t have a lot of sense. You’re able to find them fast and easy after you indexed the following month layouts.
So what to index? Generally all special planning and collection pages. As the rule of thumb, use an index for:
- pages that are important for you
- yearly collections like a future log, level 10 life, goals
- monthly set up
- other pages you may want to refer to in the future
How to Get Journal Indexed
Fist of all, if you’re wondering how many pages you’ll need for bullet journal index, it’s quite hard to give you a specific number. In my opinion, using anything from 2 to 4 pages is reasonable. However, it depends on your needs.
Also, many of bullet journal notebooks come with already printed index pages.
How to Journal with Index
Unless your journal comes numbered, before you even start indexing your notebook, number your pages first.
- number your pages on a daily basis but only when the pages are filled in. Therefore, when you mess up and rip out a page, you don’t ruin the order.
- if the list doesn’t fit one page, write the page number where it starts and where it continues.
Then leave the first or the last couple of pages blank and title them “Index”.
In most cases, bullet journalists create a bullet journal index in the front of a notebook. To tell the truth, it’s more natural to me just to open the bujo cover and be able to see where the page is at first glance.
But it’s always good to know all of the possibilities. Yes, you can set up an index page in the back of the notebook. The only difference is that you create your bujo index backward.
On the plus side, you don’t have to think about how many pages you should leave empty. You’ll never run out of pages.
But what if you do?
How to add an extra index page
- glue a blank page into bujo notebook inside covers
- put in an additional page with a paper clip
- create an index page right after your last bullet journal layout (my least favorite way – it’s harder to use two indexes at the same time)
Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to index the pages: in page order or by type of entries.
Indexing pages chronologically
Every month you set up bujo spreads starting from a new page and write it a number in a bullet journal index page.
Some of the bullet journalists consider indexing monthly setups as unnecessary. In their opinion, the bullet journal is a chronological system. It means that after January spreads you always find February pages.
On the other side, indexing every collection pages are more useful. After all, it’s easier to find a specific month than a page with step-by-step planet doodles.
Indexing pages by entries
Also, you can sort your bullet journal content by topic. In other words, you group entries by type.
For instance, when you have a lot of spreads with doodling tutorials, you write down doodles in an index and assign corresponding page numbers.
How to Make a Bullet Journal Index Layout
Similarly to a bullet journal key, an index page should be simple and clear. Try not to overcomplicate it. Trust me – simple indexes work the best.
Obviously, there are many great bullet journal index examples on Pinterest with fancy lettering and drawings. It may be tempted to add some fancy headers and lettering.
But I’d suggest keeping it as clean as possible. After all, the main goal of bullet journaling index is to find your entries easily.
Generally, all you have to do is divide bujo index page into two columns – the wider for the category, the smaller for the page number and fill in while you add next bullet journal spreads.
Bullet Journal Index Layout Ideas
Here are some other bullet journal index examples you can create for your bujo.
Classic Bullet Journal Index Page
Bujo Index with Two Columns
An Index with Two Columns: Collections and Monthlies
Bullet Journal Index with Collections Only
The Index Page with Collection Categories
Alternatives to Bullet Journal Index
As you’ve already known, there are many ways to customize a bullet journal to fulfill your needs. In the same way, you can make your very own way index for a bujo.
Journal with Colored Pages
First of all, you can get the journal with colored page edges. They come in 6 colors: green, blue, dark blue, purple and red. Definitely, it’ll help you get organized.
However, if you use color code for monthly set up, this notebook will last only for 6 months. For me, it wouldn’t be a problem- as I mentioned before usually, I filled in all notebook pages within half a year.
Also, you can make your bullet journal organization even more exciting by using regular paper clips. Moreover, if you’re a crafty person, feel free to customized paper clips in your own unique way. Add bows, flower charms or washi tape flags to spruce them up.
You can make your bullet journal even more effective if you assign particular washi tape pattern or color with different sections of your bujo.
Bullet Journal Dividers
If you love using washi tapes in your journal, here’s another trick. Create dividers to separate bullet journal entries. It helps you to navigate your bujo.
Just paste a longer piece of washi tape to the edge of the page and fold it over in order to indicate a new month or collection.
Now, after you close the notebook, you’re able to see exactly where your page is.
Bullet Journal Tabs
Another way to mark important pages in your planner is by creating index tabs. Again, you can use washi tape, small sticky notes, post-it durable tabs or bullet journal page markers.
Bullet Journal Corner Bookmarks
As well as that, bullet journal corner bookmarks may be a great option to quickly access your favorite bujo pages.
Their main advantage is mobility – they can be moved freely and easily every time when another page becomes more important.
Please find short origami book corners tutorial here.
Bullet Journal Ribbon Bookmarks
Most of bullet journal notebooks come with two ribbon bookmarks. But what if it’s not enough? Luckily, you can add additional ribbons all by yourself.
Here I have one more clever idea to find bullet journal entries easier. I think you’d love it especially if your bullet journal notebook doesn’t come with numbered pages and you aren’t patient enough to write them.
Also, it may be a better alternative if you don’t like to add any additional elements and hate getting crafty.
Color tagging is a visual hint of what pages are and where they are in your notebook.
First and foremost, you can mark your page edge with a specific color assigned to each month or entry category. For instance, you mark your budget pages with green marker or June set up with a pink one.
If you’re looking for a clean, minimal look, you don’t have to highlight all the row. Just add one more column with a color code to an index page.
Also, you can attach a color code legend to the notebook index.
Best Indexing for Journals – Final Thoughts
At the beginning of my bullet journal journey, I tend to hate using the bullet journal index. I considered it as an additional and completely useless bujo task. However, as my bullet journal pages filled in with monthly setups, trackers and other collection ideas, I started to get lost.
Love it or hate it – no matter what group you belong to, there is no doubt that bullet journal index organizes the content and makes your bujo life a lot easier.