Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Indexing your notebook content

If you use a bound notebook rather than a loose-leaf system it can be tricky to locate a particular note just when you need it. Your notes are likely to have been accumulated in a chronological order and unless you maintain multiple notebooks the information won't be organised to make retrieving it always a simple matter.

That's where an index can be very useful. When you set up a new notebook for the first time, reserve the first six pages (or the last six - the choice is yours). Divide each of those pages into four sections, like this:

Do this to all six pages and you will have 24 sections in all. You need to assign each to a letter of the alphabet, combining X, Y and Z in the last section. If you want to combine a few more letters (P and Q, or W and V, for instance) you might be able to get the index down to 4 or 5 pages. Write the relevant letter in each section:

Now, as you go about filling the rest of the notebook, take some time, perhaps weekly, to review the new content and index it. If, for instance, page 3 of your notebook contains a list of the books you want to read, create an entry in your index section for the letter "B":

 If later you should list more books you want to read on page 16, you can add this to the same entry:

Here's how your opening index page might look after a couple of weeks of use:

This is a really practical way to get the advantages of a bound notebook and still be able to find specific content quickly when you need to.
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