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Why make a custom planner?
When I began down the path of being a productivity nerd, I started off using a true bullet journal. However, I quickly came to realize the format wasn’t for me. For one, I need an hourly planner for time blocking and as a visual representation of my time. Just having a bullet (or whatever symbol it’s supposed to be) saying “Doctor appointment at 2 PM” isn’t going to cut it. I need to see when that appointment is in relation to the rest of my day. For two, the freestyle daily page just doesn’t fit my style. My brain is entirely too freestyle on its own. I need my planner to have some structure to help rein in my mind.
I still often refer to my journal as a bullet journal. I like to use similar modules or “collections” as you’ll find in other bullet journals. It has a lot of the same feel as a bullet journal, but just fewer actual bullets.
Of course the benefit to the freestyle bullet journal is that you don’t waste much paper. Each day has exactly enough space devoted to it and no more, and then you can keep going until your notebook is full. I love my rainbow daily planner printable, but the pages do use a lot of paper, going through a page every week just for daily tasks – a lot considering how few tasks and events I actually have each day. For a while, I kept my journal completely digital – first in Evernote then in OneNote, but as many people will agree, there’s always a major mental difference between typing and handwriting, with the latter being much more closely linked with your memory.
A better way to save paper without going fully digital is to make a custom planner with Rocketbook.
Rocketbook is a physical notebook with coated pages. It writes like paper, but when you use a certain type of pen (anything from the Pilot Frixion line of erasable pens, which is fairly extensive), it wipes off easily with water. But before erasing all your hard work, open up the Rocketbook app, line up a page in the camera viewer, and instantly beam your pages to email, Google Drive, or straight into Trello (there are other integrations as well – these are the ones I use) and take them with you anywhere.
Deciding to make a custom planner with Rocketbook is a perfect compromise between digital and analog, because while you still have a truly handwritten journal, you can keep a digital copy on you at all times to make sure you’re keeping on track.
Applications such as note-taking for class or business meetings, as well as random thoughts and sketches you want to capture and archive are obvious functions for the Rocketbook, but the usefulness isn’t as clear when you need repeating pages like a monthly calendar spread, weekly layouts, meal plans, etc… Rocketbook does make a Fusion notebook that has assorted pages, including a calendar and planner, and they have recently gained a new partner to make a reusable version of the Panda Planner, but hey – we’re talking custom here! I want to do things exactly my way!
Enter Rocketbook templates.
I didn’t at all invent this idea, I just make it work for me. Since the Frixion pens are needed to erase the Rocketbook pages again and again, when you use a different pen (I used fine point Sharpies but your preference works), you make a template that is permanent. Very common is to sketch a permanent calendar layout. You can also add a template of an hourly layout for time blocking, a weekly meal plan template, a library template for books you’ve read over the year, etc…
You can customize the Rocketbook Core, their classic washable notebook which is available lined or dot grid (my preference), to your exact needs and desires – just as much as an old school bullet journal!
How does it look?
Here’s some samples from my journal:
Please forgive that there is a lot of white space. I am still working on my habits! lol
And this is what the scans look like:
UPDATE: I have since learned that there is a setting which you can disable, leading to a more photorealistic scan. I highly recommend disabling this option if your scans look like those below, especially if you are using color.
Note that some colors don’t come through as well, but that’s not a huge problem for decorative elements.
The fine print follows.
There are just a couple drawbacks to the Rocketbook compared to a paper journal.
For one, though there are many options and colors of pens and markers in the Pilot Frixion line, there are fewer artistic and decorative options compared to paper. The colored pens look good on paper, but they don’t beam nearly as well as black so they are better left to decorative elements. At least run some tests to make sure your colors will scan before using them for a whole page of writing. You can also use more permanent options for decorating if you’re just looking to make things pretty and creative and not as worried about everyday doodling options.
Secondly, if you’re a pen and paper connoisseur, you’re definitely going to notice the difference in feeling of writing on the coated pages compared to writing on standard high quality paper.
For me, and I suspect most of you, the convenience of having your planner on your phone to check wherever you are vastly outweighs the smaller cosmetic issues. If you’re a notebook addict you probably already have your own journal anyway, right?
But wait, I saved the best thing for last!
My absolute favorite thing about Rocketbook – they let you try the app and beaming experience ENTIRELY FREE with a large selection of printable pages. You only have to pay if you want the reusable notebook. You could even download my paper planner pages above, and fit them onto a page with the free Rocketbook QR code.
Don’t try for too long though, the 20% off sale only lasts until Tuesday, September 1st! I’m getting myself a few executive sized notebooks and one of the Flip books for my kindergartener to manage her homeschool lessons. The free mini notebook is great for throwing in the purse for keeping the kids entertained when out and about and is perfect for making GIFs!
Want some more fun with your custom planner?
Do you have a Rocketbook yet? Do you use a paper planner? How could a Rocketbook help you? What are your favorite journal modules? I always need more! Hit up the comments!