Back in December, I wrote a bit about revising my old indexing system (pictured below, in the green journal). Now that it’s been four months since I started it, I thought I’d share how it has progressed and what I love about it! I’ll also share a bit about how to set it up (be sure to scroll all the way down).
The premise of this system is that I write EVERYTHING into this journal: class notes, research meetings with my professor, sermon notes from church, project ideas, and goals, on top of my bullet journal planner. To make sure no page goes unused, I always work chronologically, meaning that there are no “sections” in my journal. In order to track similar items down, I utilize an edge indexing system, which allow me to find all of the information pertaining to a certain category in just a few seconds.
Former Edge Indexing System
Just for kicks, I thought I’d take you back to my first version of this, from late 2015. All of the categories are listed in the order I came up with them. You can see I have a larger category of “Faith” with sub-categories. I also used color-coding to group similar items (like “Julie”, “Mira”, and “Deanna”, who are a few girls I meet up with). The downside is that I had to carry around a ton of colored markers. Also, I used a non-ruled, non-dotted journal, so lining up the indices was tough.
Latest Edge Indexing System
My current version utilizes only ONE color, so I can index on-the-go. I also use categories and sub-categories, to organize my content better. Lastly, I space things out more easily, which the dot grid is really helpful for. The page where I write the categories is actually removable, so I can take it out and use it to line up the index with the current page I’m marking on.
In just a few seconds, I can find everything, for example, pertaining to my Women’s Studies class. This has been super helpful for writing papers and tracking down all my notes! It’s also helpful to look back on what I’ve been working on the most and what I’ve been neglecting!
Here, you can see the category list is removable and easy to line up with whatever page I’m working on.
How to Set Up an Edge Indexing System
- Go to the last page of your journal that is on the left hand side. Write down any big categories you foresee you’ll need, or that you’ve needed in the past. Some examples might be “Goals”, “Blog Ideas”, “Fitness”, or “Weekly Spreads.” If you want, space them out so that you have room for sub-categories. If you just want to throw all your categories on there without organizing them too much, that’s ok too!
- Go to the pages you want to index. For example, on page 4, you might have a list of blog ideas. On the edge of that page, make a rectangular mark that lines up with “Blog Ideas” that you wrote on the back page. If you have a non-ruled, non-dotted journal, be extra careful in lining it up!
- Continue adding categories as needed and marking the edges!
Happy indexing!!! Tag me in any instagram photos (@bluepapertrail) if you decide to give this a shot! I’d love to see it 🙂