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.

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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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