Paper Planner Index Hack

Index hack header

I take notes like a fiend because writing helps me remember. And, when I scribble information I’ll need to access again I use the Evernote Page Camera to upload that written page with tags so I can actually find it again and no matter where I am.

Best of both worlds, to be sure, but handling the original document enhances the experience for me. The context is clearer, I love the feeling of the planner in my hand and all that good stuff. Besides, I hang onto an analog system in a digital world because I like (love, obsess over, really dig) paper. I’m pretty sure paper love is just a logical extension – or a type – of fiber love.

The Kokyuo Buncobon Dot Cover Notebooks improve on the index (or table of contents) method of retrieval by providing a way to color code pages.

JetPens Kokyuo Buncobon Dot Cover NotebookNeed to find the notes on a particular project? If you’ve included that project on your index key and assigned it a color, you simply fill in the appropriate square on the page, making it easy to flip to it in the future. Brilliant system and I for one appreciate the excuse to add color to my notes and a legitimate reason to buy colored pencils and multi-pens!

But…

I’m not always at my desk surrounded by pens or using a stable surface. If I have to pause to dig out the correct pen, line up the square to the key and color it in while grocery shopping, conferring with a doctor, taking notes at the speed of sound, etc…it’s just not going to happen consistently and, that lack of consistency spells disaster in the form of a broken and untrustworthy system.

So…I created a hack which works so well I dusted off this neglected blog to share it.

My actual A6 Traveler’s Notebook heads this entry. Below is a view of the insert with the labels (the ‘key’) I’ve applied directly to the cover, where they’re easy to see, find, use. As I note something worth finding again I pull out the appropriate Avery Color Coding Label, PostIt flag or piece of washi  and fold it over the edge of the page.

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To quickly find a topic I have only to flip to the appropriate color. And, this works whether the label  is flush with the page or a flag tail is left to wave in the breeze. This indexing system can be used in ring bound planners , bound books like the Hobonichi or Bullet Journal and Traveler’s Notebook inserts. No special paper, additional pages or sections are required. I’ve mocked up a blank notebook to illustrate.

Flag assortment

Index-hack-mock-planner

Hope this helps someone. It’s incredibly simple (and obvious once I figured it out!) and it works.