Rocketbook & Bullet Journal: Organization & Productivity?

The Rocketbook Core/Everlast journal with spiral binding, wiping cloth and included Frixion erasable pen.
Prefer to listen? Recorded and produced by James D. Kirk.

I feel it’s safe to say people generally want to be more organized in their lives. They desire to have increased productivity to help them do more and get what they want from life. In this article, we discuss how and why one might desire combining a Rocketbook & the Bullet Journal Method.

Journaling is popular. Checking Reddit we see a decent following. Post after post reveals some of the most beautiful, artistic spreads announcing and welcoming the new month or season. The way some users hoard precious, new, clean, “don’t touch my journal” journals astounds me on a regular basis. The artistic creativity of some folks shines bright through the canvas of the wide variety of journals, inks, and other materials.

Proponents of the Bullet Journal Method (BuJo) say similar things.

What Got Me to This Point?

Nearly two years ago, my best friend sent me an email. It seemed to me to have been auto-generated by a bit of software. It also had a PDF attached to it. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t remember Gmail automatically displaying the content of the attached document via inline thumbnail. It certainly does that now.

Generally, I try not to open attachments. Unless, of course they are from my buddy in Nigeria who needs some sort of financial transaction aid (s/). With the help of thumbnails, one can easily determine if opening and reading/viewing an attachment is worth the effort.

Screen grab showing how to combine use of a Rocketbook & Bullet Journal
Actual screen grab of that first Rocketbook delivered email and PDF attachment.

Pop Pop!

Turns out the email arrived as the result of a scan of a document found inside a binder sold by Rocketbook (RB). With that model you write on the pages, then, you popped that sucker into the nearest microwave oven. In less time than it took to make popcorn, you had, essentially, a brand new, blank-paged Rocketbook journal.

Today, in addition to the “Wave”, one can choose from many other models. My friend told me he liked his RB so much, he was going to purchase a smaller, “mobile friendly” pad. Sweet!

I still have that email he sent back in December of 2018. In geek speak, appeared the “Hello World” message written on the page, scanned with the app, and delivered via email (as seen above.)

Using a Rocketbook & the Bullet Journal Method, by Ryder Carroll
The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

Right around this same time frame, he also shared with me this new organizational scheme known as the “Bullet Journal Method,” or BuJo for short.

I, of course, completely ignored both of these recommendations and went about my business. Fast-forward to this past July and I am searching online for better ways to organize with the hopes of being more productive in my life. Nothing new. I’ve probably done this half a dozen times over the past few years.

This site was starting to stress us out. We wanted to be doing so much with it. Plus, I just needed to get my life on track in order to focus on making BoldlyGoing.com something more than a fancy domain placeholder.

Googling to Learn About Rocketbook, Bullet Journal and More

And Google responded by introducing me to BuJo. Or rather “re-introduced” me. I found it ironic to realize my friend had turned me on to the method nearly a year and a half earlier after sending me the scan from his Rocketbook app.

To prepare, I created a destination folder in my Gmail account. After successfully sending my first page scan it wound up next to that original message from 20 months ago!

This was one of those times which required a literal LOL.
So, I laughed out loud!

After thoroughly reading and doing my best to absorb the theory and philosophy behind Ryder Carroll’s “The Bullet Journal Method,” I recalled a chat conversation back in mid-July with my friend. His warning to me was that employing BuJo would “take lots of paper. Perhaps consider using a Rocketbook & Bullet Journal, instead.”

Of course I reverted to my old ways. I informed him of my “yellow pad guy” status. Deep inside, however, I felt change coming.

And for nearly another two weeks I poked around. Finished a couple of books on my list and finally dived into the BuJoMeth book. That date was August 5th. Before lights out, I placed the order for my first RB Core.

While it took the USPS nearly twice as long to deliver as it normally would, I was able to fill my time with the RB PDF template they offer. I downloaded the document, printed it out, and acted as if I had an RB to scan into the app and upload to any and/or all of 7 different storage places online.

Sweet!

My friend was brilliant! And I realized I had zero desire to pay good money to buy physical, hard-bound paper journals, over and over again. And I really did not want to pay rent to store, potentially, hundreds of them.

The specs on that Core included an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet size with “32 pages.” I put that in quotes because once I received my RB, I learned 32 pages meant the front and back of 16 pages. Not the front and back of 32 pages. More on this in a moment.

Rocketbook makes many different colors and models of journals.
So many colors. So little time!

How Has My Experience Been Thus Far?

As with most shiny, new toys, the initial interest levels and excitement to learn and explore have been sky high. Given I had to wait much longer for the USPS to deliver over the summer, I chomped at the bit to get into the guts of this thing.

Because of those downloadable templates, one doesn’t even need to spend the money to use a Rocketbook and Bullet Journal–just download the template pages (there are several different types,) fill them up, scan into the app. Print more blank pages.

After doing a little hacking around, and subsequent online searching, I discovered numerous legitimate Rocketbook hacks out there allowing users to create and capture many interesting things in their lives.

I developed nearly two dozen different BuJo pages on those template printouts. So easy: print, use the page, scan, and back up in the cloud. Fold the pages over for scrap use. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Useful advice: Don’t use graph paper from a forgotten project. The non-repro blue graph will show when/if you get the app to scan the page. Plus it looks really bad, so just, no.

Even with all of this activity while awaiting my delivery to arrive, it never occurred to me to order a second journal. I opened that tough plastic shipping envelope, dived right into the RB and began thinking about how to best integrate it with BuJo. Also, how few “16” pages actually seemed now.

After setting up those pages and running with BuJo, I realized that I wanted (needed?) more. So, I did what any normal, sane person would do. I ordered another notebook (and again, waited much longer than normal,) disassembled both, and combined all 32 pages into one spiral binding.

Worked like a champ!

Once we are able to get back out there and start traveling again, I will have a journal, with infinite capacity, but much lighter than most comparable full-page sized books. I fill it, scan it, wipe it. Good to go.

As I developed my various “standard” pages during that first month, I learned a ton–both about how to best make BuJo work for me, and fine tuning the collaboration of journal and method.

The Monarch Butterfly Effect

Now the experiment got interesting. BuJo-ers (is that a thing?) will understand what I mean when I say the word migration.

When using standard, paper journals, one can tend to go much longer before needing to crack open a new book. However, when that time comes, (and often at the end of months, or perhaps busy weeks) the user must migrate bits and pieces of information from the old journal to the new, from last month to this, etc.

Did I mention that the special pages of the Rocketbook require cleaning at least every 30 days? Sort of makes it convenient for starting anew when the first rolls around. If one fails to clean properly, challenges and issues lie dead ahead.

Being the intrepid explorer, I soon found myself subscribed to several subreddits relating to journals, journaling, BuJo, bullet journaling, Rocketbook (official), notebooks, and it would not surprise me (and shouldn’t you either) that I am a member of one or two on pens, inks, and who knows what else.

The results of all that input? I am now the proud owner of a gazillion Frixion pens, markers, and highlighters. 1mm, 0.7mm and 0.5mm tips. Colors galore. I use my plastic drafting rules and a variety of drafting templates to get groovy little shapes onto the page.

Don’t forget the special watercolor brushes, filled just with H2O for making on the spot corrections!
Don’t judge me!

Be good to yourself and buy your favorite color/style of pen with plenty of backup. Research long and hard to find the sweetest deal on bulk buys. I have no less than 10 cartridges in red, blue, and black ink with four pen barrels of each color as well.

My pens of many colors with my journal and ocean view.
My Rocketbook and a few pens!
Oh, & the daily view I’m working to have in my life.

My Recommendations To Get the Most Out of Your Rocketbook & Bullet Journal

Am I still learning? Absolutely! I suspect it will be several months before I have a fine-tuned, well-oiled process. I find joy in discovering how to best make this investment pay dividends.

While we are smack in the middle (hopefully, closer to the end?) of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel is going to come back–sooner or later. Heck, I just noticed the good folks over at Atlas Obscura are now offering Private Trips with their top notch guides along with their many exciting “Experiences“.

If you are going to travel nomad-style, consider going the Rocketbook route. Even if you decide BuJo is not for you, the RB just makes financial and ecological sense. Plus, it’s rather cool!

While there was about a week and a half or so when I really didn’t open my RB, the cause for that had nothing to do with my Rocketbook and Bullet Journal or the systems.

Back to it now. Full force.

Immediately feeling I am able to get more done, faster, with better focus. Using BuJo’s “tracker” capabilities provides quick and easy visuals on how I’m doing with the various habits and projects I wish to make regular progress at.

Yes, my Fitbit app provides me a place for entering food and calorie counts as well as water consumption. And I wouldn’t want to muddy up my journal with all that information when the data is more usable via that application.

Did I bother to make the effort today to actually input all the food (and coffee–so much coffee. Must cut back on coffee. Tomorrow.) Whether I gulped all 72 ounces of water or not, did I at least input whatever I was able to swallow?

Put a Tick √ In the Column

  • Did I get my stretching routine in?
  • Complete at least one Spanish lesson on Duolingo?
  • Attend class for voiceover training?

All those checks are easy to track on the monthly spread and give me quick insight to trends with respect to what I’m getting better at accomplishing and why I am only recording in my Gratitude log every third or fourth day (I’m grateful to you, dear reader for being here and making it this far. Check! )

I know my sample size of usage with the RB+BuJo is too short for any sort of conclusive results. My goal (I need to add this to the Goals log: page 6-7) is to continue using and refining my process. Additionally, as new and interesting things crop up, I’ll be sure to add an edit to this post in order to keep you well informed.

With confidence, however, I certainly recommend the combination of Rocketbook and Bullet Journal for all the best reasons we talked about above. And all the reasons we have yet to discover. Might BuJo change your way of thinking? If it does, as it has for me, and seemingly, thousands of others, I have faith productivity will increase to the point of making us both unstoppable!