Call me old fashioned, but I like writing with a pen on paper. This is especially the case in meetings. Sitting across the table from someone could feel like sitting kilometres away if we’re separated by a barrier of laptop screens. And so I leave my laptop at my desk and rather take notes “manually” in meetings. But I wasn’t born in the Middle Ages either — and still definitely need to have all my notes digitized for easy access (I usually store everything on Evernote which I use religiously on my phone, tablet, and computer).
So with these requirements in mind, I have tried every note-taking solution under the sun over the past few years. First there was a Livescribe Smartpen, then for many years I would write in Moleskin notebooks and take photos of my notes, then I tried the Samsung Note 8 with its built-in stylus, and I even dabbled with the Apple Pencil on an iPad. But not one of these solutions scratched my itch. They were all either too cumbersome or had one shortfall or another. The Livescribe was difficult to write with and arduous to upload notes; I never got around to taking photos of all my Moleskin pages; the Note 8 screen was too small; and the Apple Pencil didn’t write as well as a good ‘ol fashioned pen and made an annoying tapping sound when the Pencil hit the screen.
But now, I have finally found the answer and it’s changed my life.
This holy grail of productivity solutions is called a RocketBook (RocketBook Everlast to be specific). The RocketBook looks like a regular notebook. You can write on it with a regular(ish) pen. Your notes are quickly and easily digitized. Oh yes, and it’s reusable.
Let me explain…
The magic of the RocketBook comes down to two factors – the paper and the app. The paper of the RocketBook is made from a patented material, which allows you to write with a special line of Pilot FriXion pens (one pen is included) and then when you’re finished, you can clear the page by simply washing the ink away with a damp cloth.
Before you wipe the slate clean, you can digitize your notes with the help of the accompanying RocketBook app. At the bottom of each page on the notebook are 7 different symbols. Each symbol can be assigned to a different “destination”. These destinations relate to all the popular storage and note-taking apps such as Evernote, Google Drive, and Dropbox. To send your note to one of those destinations, you just make a mark in the associated symbol at the bottom of the page in the notebook. You then open the app, scan a page (it takes about a second per page) and then an image (or PDF) of that page is automagically sent to the destination of choice. It is as quick and seamless as it sounds.
Each notebook has 36 pages which is more than enough considering that you can wipe each page clean after use. There are also some cool ‘productivity hacks’ that you can implement with the book, such as using a permanent marker to make a monthly calendar which you can use and erase as each month goes by.
The only downsides of the RocketBook that I’ve found so far is that:
- You have to use the special Pilot FriXion ball pens with the notebook and although these pens are affordable and easily available, it would be more convenient to be able to pick up the nearest writing instrument when necessary.
- The material that the pages are made out of makes it slightly slippery to write on (it feels like you’re writing on a surface that is more plastic than paper). This is hardly a deal-breaker though and something you get used to very quickly.
The RocketBook is available in South Africa for purchase at https://getrocketbook.co.za/products/rocketbook-everlast and they offer free and fast (my book was delivered the next day!) delivery.
Author’s note: I was not paid in any way for this post (although I would be very happy to receive a few spare notebooks if RocketBook wants to send them my way)
Also published on Medium.