Is your life full of post-it notes that end up in the trash? Scribbled notes that you don’t really need? Notes that you do need, but really need to archive digitally?
My journalism days started before the prevalence of easy note-taking apps and iPhones — I carried around a trusty reporter’s notebook and scribbled through hundreds of them. Even now, taking notes on a computer isn’t my favorite — it feels so obtrusive to the conversation you’re having with someone.
Long story short, I like to take notes longhand.
But I also find my desk littered with Post-it note reminders or other things I needed to write down suddenly and wasn’t sure where to put them. And notebooks full of meeting notes that I don’t have handy when I need them.
Enter … Rocketbook. I was a little skeptical when I first purchased, but I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews. Plus, the price point was low enough that it wasn’t the end of the world if it didn’t work out. (At the same time I was looking at the Moleskine+ system, which is wayyyyy pricier.)
Rocketbooks are reusable notebooks — using Pilot Frixion pens and markers, you can simply wipe the pages off with water and start again. Plus, the Frixion products work on all your other paper products, too. Rocketbooks are offered in a variety of sizes and formats; I got a Fusion because I liked the combination of both dotted and lined pages plus the other template pages throughout, like a monthly calendar.
And while the reusable feature keeps me from feeling like I’m wasting a forrest every day, the scanning integration is really the highlight of the system. Once you download the Rocketbook app, you can designate destinations including email addresses, Evernote, OneDrive, Google Drive and more. Each destination is associated with an icon at the bottom of the notebook page that you can x-through before scanning. For the mini notebooks — or if you just forget — the app will also prompt you for destinations when you scan.
For instance, I have my personal email, Evernote, iCloud, Dropbox, work email and work OneDrive set up. You can have up to seven destinations. Scanning is fast and easy; not only will it send your scans to your preferred destination, it also keeps a history of them within the app and transcribes them so you can search within the notes themselves.
Our work team relies on Sharepoint for client files and Smartsheet for project management. When I take meeting notes, brainstorm ideas or plan social media (on the handy monthly calendar template), I can quickly scan the page and file it on Sharepoint for my team members to access … and I can then add a link to the Sharepoint file to Smartsheet if I need to. AND THEN I JUST WIPE OFF THE PAGE!
I am a little bit of a pen fanatic, but a saving grace of the Frixion line is that it’s made by Pilot — also the maker of my preferred G2 pens. You can get Frixion pens in several widths and colors, and one is included with your notebook. I also bought Frixion highlighters and fine-tip markers for sketching and doodling. I’ve mostly retired my G2 pens and use the Frixion pens and highlighters on my regular paper planners and such too. (This keeps me from accidentally using the wrong thing on the Rocketbook and ruining it.)
While it’s not quite as satisfying as a G2 on a Moleskine notebook, say, I find a .05 Frixion pen on a Rocketbook to be a comfortable and smooth writing experience. It does take a few seconds to dry, so I have to be a little mindful of smudging and flipping pages.
That said, another cool feature is that you can use permanent markers to create your own templates within your notebooks. They post a ton of cool ideas on social media and on their blog.
Each Rocketbook comes with a microfiber cloth to wipe with; I also recommend a spray bottle for quick cleaning. (They sell them on their site but you can also get them with travel toiletries. We actually had one that had never been used in a travel toiletry bottles kit — I have no idea what people normally put in those.)
Another great feature are these printable pages — it’s a way to try out the app before you purchase a notebook, although it gets away from the reusable/sustainability aspect. However, I’ve found them handy in a few situations. I have an Executive-sized notebook, so sometimes if I want to sketch or mind map on a larger scale, I’ll print one of these out letter-sized for more space. I’ve also printed them out to include in my gardening binder so that I can scan and archive in my Evernote gardening log, but also have handy in my binder.
Okay, you made it this far. To summarize: Rocketbooks are great if you like to take notes or otherwise sketch by hand but want to store the contents digitally and not waste paper.
P.S. I received no compensation in exchange for posting this piece — all views are my own and I really wanted to tell you about Rocketbooks. That said, the links above will generate referral credit for me — so if you decide to buy one, I’d appreciate it if you used the link. (And, please tell me what you think if you get one!)