photo of index with both washi tape and page dart

understated indexing

With the ubiquity of paginated notebooks, it’s now easier to quickly find relevant pages in a notebook. I love that I can maintain a table of contents and not worry if I neglected to numerate my pages correctly. However, even with two bookmarks in my logbook, I need a more robust system to locate relevant and active project pages. There are many ways to do this with flags, tabs, colouring edges, and more. Over the years, and with some inspiration from instagram, I’ve refined my system to one that’s functional, understated, and easy to update.

set main categories

It’s helpful to begin with an idea of what types of pages you want to keep extra track of. In this case simple is good!

Five categories are the maximum I maintain. I’m currently tracking three, personal and both businesses.

find a location

photo of closed notebook showing spread of index tabsI like to spread them out so that I don’t easily mistake one for the other. This is also helpful in case I don’t have my preferred notation method available. I keep personal at the top, and the businesses are both on the bottom third of a page. These locations were chosen because they are also less likely to distract from the content of my pages. I like this method as it lets me feel where I need to flip without necessary focusing on that action. Plus they look nice when the book is closed! This also works for when I have one page (recto and verso) with two different indexing requirements.

choose a tab

photo of index with both washi tape and page dart
index of tabs showing two locationsWith my location-based system it’s not a hard requirement to be fully standardized on the actual tab type (or colour). When I was in college I bought a packet of metal page darts. That was a long time ago, but I still have a few left and special pages get to use them.

I also have an eclectic mix of page tabs that I cut in half because I didn’t need them to be as wide.

The most recent change is one that reflects my difficulty with washi tape, I use it primarily to seal envelopes! I now wrap a small piece of tape along the edge of the page where I want to index. It’s easy to remove and mark different pages when I need to.



I hope this look into my understated indexing provides some ideas and inspiration. It’s a process and in time a system will evolve that’s the right one for you.