I’m still really early in my notebook use, but I’ve filled a couple of them now. When I chose to use a notebook, I was already thinking about ways to make my notes findable. The action of writing them out manually increases my retention drastically, but I still want to be able to refer to them if needed. The most logical way to do this might be to copy the important ones into a digital service, but then comes the decision on what is important or not, so I decided to tag and index my notes.
The inspiration for this came from my belief that even with digital apps, you still require some kind of manual curation. If I can quote myself, “What I have noticed from this cycle of trying is that without conscious thought, digital tools can be just as bad as physical ones”. So, if I were to use a digital service, I would go through and tag everything with a rough topic – which can be done manually too. The last few pages are reserved for an index to list these tags and mark the page numbers.
This could, of course, be a massive waste of time, I will only know how this will go when I need to refer to them, but I hope that this will help. If nothing else, it has meant I spent a few minutes flicking through my notebooks and reviewing my notes, further improving my chance of recall. I am convinced of the improvements that carrying a notebook with me has made, and the great thing is I can mould the process as I go along.
I’m not one for monthly spreads and making my notebook pretty, my handwriting sucks anyway, it’s more of a tool for my brain. It reflects my scattered thoughts and working life, but I hope my indexing brings a little more order to it.