What Is A Bullet Journal Index Page
If you’re interested in bullet journals, you’ve probably heard the word “index” thrown around. Most bullet journals make use of a specific index page to organize the contents of their bullet journals. But what exactly is an index?
When bullet journalists use the word “index,” they’re usually not talking about the kind of index you’d find at the end of a textbook—where you can find the page numbers for specific terms. Instead, a bullet journal Index Page usually acts more like a table of contents.
Simply put, an index is a place for you to organize each section of your bullet journal by page number. This usually looks like a vertical list of different sections with a page number marked for each.
Most bullet journalists keep the index at the front of their journal—it’s often the very first page—though you could also write it at the end of the notebook (or anywhere else you want!)
Reasons for an Index Page
Let’s say you’ve started a new bullet journal. You have a section for weekly planning, a monthly calendar, a bucket list and an inspiration page.
As you add to your lists and plans, you’ll find that the pages in your new journal fill quickly. By the time a few weeks have passed, you’ll probably be flipping through multiple pages to reach new weeks and refer back to old months. And as you continue to add new lists, organization grows more complicated.
The index page is a simple way to keep these growing and changing sections in order. When you add a new list or weekly log, write the name of the section in the index, along with its page number. This way, you can easily refer to different pages and sections in your bullet journal even as you adapt it for new projects. It’s a simple organizational trick that helps you conceptualize your journal, both mentally and visually.
Tips on Using an Index Page
When it comes to creating a bullet journal index, you have a wide range of choices for design and organization. Remember that you don’t need to follow any prescribed plan—your bullet journal is yours and yours alone to set up how you want!
That said, there are a number of index-page conventions that many bullet journalists use to keep their indexes convenient to make and appealing to look at.
First, consider the placement of your index page. Many bullet journal enthusiasts will put the index on the very first page, like a table of contents. Others include in the “introductory” pages—for example, near the front cover but after initial pages like a note to self or a goal summary. Still other bullet journalists will put the index on the very last page, like a traditional index in a nonfiction book.
Second, decide on the structure of your journal index. You can keep it simple with a catch-all index: each time you add a page to the journal, include the new section in your index. This way, you’ll have a long list of the different sections organized consecutively from the journal’s first page to the list. You could write in a table format or more traditional list, with page numbers either right before or right after a section’s name. Consider adding a long line of dots to connect section titles with page numbers, the way you might see contents structured in a published book.
Other bullet journalists like to split up their indexes by category. This might mean separating the index into “daily” pages (a daily to-do list, a gratitude journal, or notes to self, for example) and longer lists or collections (examples might include a bucket list, a wish list, or long-term goals). Still other bullet journalists create separate indexes for each month or even each week. See below for some visual examples of how these structures might look. Don’t be afraid to mix-and-match—maybe you’d like to have an index organized by month in a list format, for example.
Next, think about how you’ll add to your index. Some bullet journalists like to add to their index whenever they add new sections or pages. Others like to use the index as a planning tool or a roadmap: they fill out their index first, and use these written sections to plan out the actual pages in their journal.
Finally, design the index page to add color, detailing and a personal touch. Here’s a chance to get especially creative! Use some fountain pens or colored ink cartridges to add highlights, drawings, or decorative accents. Some bullet journalists like to draw small icons for each section, adding visual flair to their indexes. You can also paste on photos or stickers to personalize this page. Check out the page ideas below to get inspired.
Here’s a bonus tip: use Washi tape to mark your index. Cut off a small piece of tape and fold it around the edge of the index page to quickly and easily refer to it. This is especially helpful when your index isn’t in the immediate front or back of your journal.
Index Page Variations
Keep it simple and classy with a minimalist index design. Include different sections along with the page numbers where you can find them. Consider adding a simple yet elegant design to the edge of the page for a unique minimalist touch—vertical or diagonal lines go a long way.
Divide your index into sections. This might be calendars and longer “collections,” weekly and monthly logs, or long-term and short-term goal sections. You can divide your index into different parts based on the different main sections of your bullet journal. To do this, reflect on the main purposes of your journal. Are you using it to track your reading and fitness habits? To plan your daily tasks and collect memories? To scrapbook or organize? Once you get an idea of the main purposes of your bullet journal, it becomes easier to divide your index into broad parts—leading to refined levels of organization.
You don’t need to create large sections to benefit from the organizational effects of different sections in the index. In the above example, a bullet journalist simply bolds different months in her index to provide a quick visual reminder of where each section segues from one month into the next. You can experiment with a range of different organizing techniques as you build out your journal—whether that’s simple yet effective bolds and italics, separated columns or page sections, or even entirely different pages for separate indexes by topic. The longer you bullet journal and the more pages you fill, the better you’ll understand what indexing system works for you.
Your index can be as long and as elaborate as you want it to be. A long index doesn’t only look impressive; it can also be very helpful if you’re using your bullet journal for many different topics and tasks. Whether you’re adding the index after having filled up some pages, or using the index as a planning tool, a longer index can be a great idea to maximize organization and create a unique aesthetic.
Index Page Ideas
Stickers are a great—and easy—design idea for bullet journal indexes. They’re simple to buy and apply, but the opportunities are truly endless when it comes to dressing up your index. Stickers are great for other reasons than decoration and aesthetics, too—they can also help you color-code your notebook. For example, let’s say you decide the “reading habits” section of your bullet journal should be color-coded red. You can apply red tape to all reading-related headings in your index, and then use red throughout the pages themselves to create a unified, cohesive aesthetic.
Spice up your index with unique colors. You can color-code sections to organize them or highlight different lines of the aesthetic for a rainbow look. Whether you’re using colored ink, highlighters, colored pencils or even paint, using color is an excellent way to organize and accentuate your journal index.
When you’re designing your index, feel free to get creative with drawings and decorative accents. The above example includes a full-page illustration alongside the index that helps draw the spread together and provides a gorgeous decorative touch. Make sure to budget an extra page for your index if you’d like to add a full-page illustration like this one.
Small drawings and designs can also help make your index distinctive. Consider adding a header to your index page, using vertical or horizontal lines, or combining color and drawing options to produce a full illustration.
Remember that the index doesn’t have to look perfect. Get creative, experiment, and don’t feel too much pressure to make your index expertly organized or decorated. As long as it’s useful and works for your personal journaling goals, the index will be an essential part of your bullet journal!