Indexing Your Notebook: A Quick Hack for Quick Recovery

I’ve always been a fan of using a notebook as a personal management tool (for tasks/ projects, work/personal, review, etc). Though I’ve been experimenting with quite a lot of digital applications, I find myself coming back to my notebook.

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My precious: A compact ruled notebook for everything 

The Power of a Notebook

I found that I have a greater sense of control in using a notebook as against using a digital tool. It’s accessible to use it anywhere (at office, at home, in the bedroom, etc). Most of the digital applications are designed based on a productivity philosophy, which I may like or not like. But the notebook is very agile to any or different systems of organisation that I may prefer. In fact, it’s flexible that allows me carve out different organisational design as I prefer. I learnt this concept from Bullet Journal. I learnt the power of the innocent notebook.

The Key Issue

However, there is a catch.

The greatest downfall of using a pen-and-paper method is its inherent navigation constraint. It’s simply difficult to find where is where. The digital system unequivocally defeats the pen-and-paper method in its unlimited storage and ease of search.

Most of us, let go of the pen-and-paper based system because of the difficulty in retrieving notes and collections and subsequently organizing it for further usage.

A Neat, Yet Simple Solution

There is a solution.

I am not sure where I learnt this technique, but it has come in handy ever since.

I suggest using an ‘indexing’ system at the beginning or end of the notebook to help one navigate through the maze.


It sounds deceptively simple, but having an index helps searching, retrieval and reference of notes easier.

The indexing system has helped me not only to refer pages whenever I want to in 2 easy steps. This simply avoids me flipping through the pages fervently searching for a note from a previous meeting I want.

A quick glance at my index page gives me a sense of what I’ve been working upon. It would include my to-do lists, my collections, my notes, my reviews, my idea basket, etc. It also helps me to use the pagination to aid my reference for other purposes.

3 Simple Steps

Here is how you can implement the ‘indexing’ system for your pen-and-paper system.

Step #1: Write page number in all the pages – preferably on the corners.

Step #2: Start noting down the pages hence forth on your newly created index.

Step #3: Get into the habit of immediately adding the note name (To-do list for July 27, 10 Ideas list, etc) along with its page number on the index

For More Inspiration

From Tim Ferriss

Indexing from Bullet Journal

2 thoughts on “Indexing Your Notebook: A Quick Hack for Quick Recovery

  1. Deepak says:

    Nice article on indexing notebook. Keep writing sathya..

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