Since the first of the year I’ve been trying to take my work notes on my iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil. I’ve tried a couple of different apps designed for this, the stock Notes app, GoodNotes, OneNote, Notability and a couple of others. While they provided a good to very good note taking experience, I’ve never been satisfied with the result. Writing with an Apple Pencil is not as much like writing on paper with a great pen as it’s touted to be. And worse yet, organizing your notes and being able to find things a day or two later can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re not completely inside the Apple eco-system.
Prior to this iPad experiment I was using good, old-fashioned pen and paper. I have stacks of notebooks with all my work notes from over the years and the indexing system was by date and in my head. As I get older I find things are falling out of my head faster than they used to.
I’ve talked about Rocketbook before. My husband and I discovered their product line a couple of years ago when they were on “Shark Tank”. Dressed in orange space suits, the co-founders of the company presented their plea for money from the sharks for a notebook that could be reused, simply by microwaving the notebook when it was full. Ink would magically disappear and you could use the notebook over again. The only caveat was you had to use a pen from the Pilot FriXion line. These pens use erasable ink.
The Rocketbook Wave was kind of nifty and I used it for a couple of cycles until I realized the pens made an impression in the paper, and even though the ink had disappeared, the impressions were everlasting. After two cycles through the notebook writing on a page was a bumpy experience.
Rocketbook now has the Rocketbook Everlast. This is a notebook that is erasable, but this time with a drop or two of water and a microfiber cloth. It’s like a notebook of mini-erase boards, but the cool thing is, using the FriXion pens, which now come in felt-tip marker-like instruments, there’s no impression. And, better yet, the ink sticks to the page after a couple of seconds and doesn’t smudge or wipe off like dry-erase markers. However, a couple of drops of water and that microfiber cloth and you can wipe the page clean and use it over again.
I’ve fallen in love with this approach.
The Rocketbook app lets you scan the pages and send them off to pre-determined destinations by marking icons at the bottom of each page. I have destinations in the company OneNote for team member notes, project notes, staff meeting notes, etc. And because it’s easy to sort and catalog notes, I can find things easily.
I’m really pleased with this system. They just started a Kickstarter campaign for a new product that involves templates and magnets holding pages in place and the like and I’m supporting their project.
I’m feeling more organized with this approach than I did with the Apple Pencil-iPad Pro system. I know it feels a little counterintuitive from my “technology is the answer for everything” mindset, but I’m really like writing my thoughts down, in my own handwriting, on a piece of paper, and filing it where I want it to be. There’s something memory-invoking about writing versus typing.
I’m feeling much more productive. And that’s always a good thing.