Friday, March 20th, 2015

The Art of Journaling: How to Keep it all Organized?



For all the time we spend writing in our notebooks, I am wondering how many of us are utilizing any kind of system for organizing their content?

My notebooks are unfortunately, neither labeled nor indexed. (And I actually own a label maker. I pulled it out last night after a frantic search for its proprietary USB cord only to discover that the labels have lost their stickiness…) I do however, note the date at the top of every entry which is better than nothing at all. (As my writings are typically stream of consciousness style, I’m not even sure how one would go about indexing that sort of mess.) 

I once used a journal which had numbered pages and included a index. I thought it was a most excellent idea and wish Rhodia would consider adding that feature. (Is this a feature you would like to see added to the Webbies?) I actually bought an automatic numbering stamp machine to number my own pages, but I wanted to number the whole book in one shot and the ink didn’t dry fast enough and things got all smeary and the numbers were all uneven which drove me crazy… so it’s been sitting unused in a drawer for 5 years.

Do you have a favorite method of indexing your notebooks? Do share! If you you’ve been looking for one, check out these links below:

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek talks about indexing his notebooks in this post: How to Take Notes Like an Alpha-Geek

The Art Of Personal Indexing: The Complete Guide To Indexing Your Paper Notes offers some great tips at The Technical Geekery

I found multiple versions of this notebook hack on the High Five blog which uses visual page cues along with “tags” at the back of the book.

Have you ever considered using The Bullet Journal Method? Is this helpful for journal writing or more as a planner?

7 thoughts on “The Art of Journaling: How to Keep it all Organized?

  1. I used to number my pages all in one go (handwritten), but it would get so frustrating if I accidentally skipped a page and my hand would get tired about halfway through a notebook. What I do now is I number my pages as I go, writing in the number when I get to the next blank page. I also index as I go along, starting from the back of my notebook. I usually just tag pages. So when I’m searching for a specific entry, I just read through my index, which just goes sequentially through the pages. Having the index at the back lets me be really flexible with my indexing since I’m not limited to a set number of pages

  2. Interesting article. For a diary I never missed numbers. For a planner it might be very useful for some, but I never had a problem with writing my own page numbers. In some products of other companies I don´t like the numbered pages, because of the font they use.

  3. The indexing stamp machine uses a specail oil-based ink, not water-based, because the steel plates don’t transfer watery inks and the things usually sat on desks for years, used a hudnred times every day, and never needed reinking, which a terrible messy job. So, yes, the impressions have got to dry. Don’t let that machine rot, it’s a very cool tool and stamp freaks might pay good money for it if you’re not ever going to use it.

    Page numbers and an index/table of contents are just cool features that every notebook should have. Leuchtturm is way out in the lead on this. I don’t use them but I know people who love these extras.

    My notebooks are chronolgical but they’re not really journals. They’re notebooks full of life and plans and sketches and doodles and stuff. I use only the recto side of the pages so the data density is low and bleed through is a non-issue.

    Metadata is a great thing if you curate your work. Most of us do not. Your grandmother patiently wrote on the back of every photo in your old albums. Names, dates, relationships, notes, events. How many of the images on yoru phone have anything more than a date/time/GPS stamp on them?

  4. I don’t index my journals other than by beginning with the date.

    The book I use for multiple conferences or training sessions, I left the first two pages blank and filled in an index as the book filled, and I hand numbered the pages as well. That worked nicely and was also a reminder of where I’d been and when.

    Otherwise, I just go with the flow. ;)


  5. I would like to try a webbie with the pages numbered in a small unobtrusive way, perhaps then I would keep an index. I’ll definitely be checking out Technical Geekery.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A modern notebook since 1934

Buy Rhodia