Best Practices: Using Rocketbook for the Medium Method

An image with text on the left which says "ROCKETBOOK was made for the medium method" and a photograph on the right of a rocketbook reusable notebook with text and sketches on it

My 2021 Workflow to Combine the Best of Analog and Digital Planning

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I’ve made no secret of my love of Rocketbook and now with my hybrid Rocketbook disc bound journal (known affectionately in the community as a Franken-planner), I love it even more. But I’ve also talked extensively about how much I need digital tools to actually annoy me into remembering things and keep track of how I spend my time. So in 2021 I plan to make my best effort to fully embrace the medium method.

I first learned the term “medium method” for an organization method combining paper and digital avenues just a few days ago from a post on the Todoist productivity blog, and immediately recognized it as what I’ve been doing in the routine I’m using now.

The best thing is that even though I pay for premium versions of some of the tools used, it can be done with completely free versions as well.

Tools involved:

Start Analog

In the morning while making coffee, I copy my to-dos from Todoist onto a post-it note - a tip I borrowed from the aforementioned blog post. (I actually use a Rocketbook index card with a piece of washi tape, but a regular post-it is fine.) I also set up my day in my Rocketbook Franken-planner, updating the date and writing down my mindset focus for the day.

When the coffee is ready, the notebook gets left open on the page for the day, and the index card gets stuck onto the wall over the notebook. A pen is right there so I never have to search if an idea comes up. If I need to leave the house, I can bring the index card with me.

Don't worry about my bad penmanship - I know I sure don't!

If I have an idea or need to take notes, it goes in my
Rocketbook. If I go out, I take my mini Rocketbook or my folio if I expect to be doing more than quick note capture.

Time Tracking, Easier

On a highly visible wall in the living room, I put up a whiteboard with my ideal daily schedule copied onto it. No times, except for things that are scheduled, just an agenda in approximate order.

Throughout the day, I note the time when I'm doing something on the whiteboard next to the appropriate task. I’ve found that writing down the time is working for me much better than trying to fill out each block of time with the name of each task, like an average planner page offers.

I know I’ve talked about always using digital time tracking, and while I still think that’s preferred, I realized that I was unable to keep on top of it. I hope to go back to it later, but for now this method is so simple - requiring only a single number written down every hour or so.

What the whiteboard agenda is missing is a visual representation of how much time is spent in each task, so at the end of the night I spend about a minute copying over anything that didn’t already make it into my Franken-planner. It doesn't look as sleek as my Google Calendar did, but it's staying up-to-date, which is what matters most.

After that, I shoot my pages to the cloud and this is where Rocketbook shines over paper.

Go Digital

With Rocketbook, I can send my handwritten planner immediately to my digital tools without the need to copy everything individually. Now, the evening review step is an important part of what makes the medium method effective, so I don't actually skip it - I just make it fully digital.

Big Picture

I have been using Trello for my Rocketbook home because of the
nice visual aspect (although it also gets archived to Google Drive for self-keeping) and it's what I use for project planning in general for the same reason.

My Rocketbook pages get sent to an Inbox list on my Planner board in
Trello. From there, I move each card to the correct list (Dailies, Notes, weekly, etc.) and this is the point when I read over my pages and copy anything that needs extra attention.

I have a Trello wishlist, a list of things I just need to keep an eye on, and a list of other items that will need to be dealt with eventually, but not right away. This is also the point when I can start thinking about what I want to work on the next day, and I come up with 2-3 to-do items and add a card for each to a to-do list on my Planner board.

Little Picture

But as amazing as Trello is for visualizing projects, it isn't as great for the nitty-gritty details of individual task management. For that I love
Todoist. And thanks to their robust integration via IFTTT, my Trello to-do list goes straight to Todoist. I set the due date as the date created, which does need to be edited in Todoist later.

My To-do List in Trello - note the written out nightly review so I remember all the steps!

So the last step each evening is to open up Todoist to make sure my Trello to-dos made it over, plus I check off any tasks I completed that day (I also use Todoist for recurring tasks that don't need a lot of regular input like cleaning tasks) and I reschedule anything leftover.

Everything Else

I do have straggling items: certain emails, webpages to read later (I want to cut down on the number of open tabs I have), voice reminders, etc… which also get sent to Trello or Todoist as appropriate, I've just started using the Spark email app which allows me to swipe emails directly to either app. Again, Trello and Todoist's extensive lists of integrations come in handy!

In the morning I start over at the beginning, copying things from Todoist onto my “post-it” and setting up my Rocketbook daily page.

Why Rocketbook Rocks for Review

What the Rocketbook allows me to do differently from using a normal paper notebook or planner is do all of the transferring to my digital tools with a single device, or in the pitch black, from bed, if I need to.

I can work on it while supervising bath time or when putting a kid into bed. Of course it's preferred to not have to do these things at the same time, but perfectionism is paralyzing. Having this option means that I am much more likely to actually finish my nightly review when I'm running behind or my husband is at work.

And as a little bonus, it saves me from having to make up a new planner page for each day.

Tips and Tricks

1. OCR in Trello

Trello is one of the officially supported Rocketbook destinations, but for some reason, there is no option to send the OCR text to the Trello card description. However, Trello offers an email-to-board feature even for free users. Most of the time I don’t miss the text, but I was very excited to realize that I have the option when I want it.

Just set up a Rocketbook destination as email, where the recipient is the email for your Trello board. Embed the OCR transcription in the body of the email, and make sure to send as a .jpg if you want the image of the page to show up on your Trello cards.


IFTTT, an automation service similar to Zapier, has a free option with limited features. I have been using IFTTT extensively for years, so I had no problem shelling out a couple dollars a month, but the free version allows an unlimited number of publicly available integrations, including the one needed to send items from a Trello list into Todoist. Find it right here!

3. Fully Free

(Minus the cost of paper) The cheapest way to do this is to just use any old lined notebook, but you could also use a journal of your choice combined with a photo scanning app, or to be even simpler, just snap a photo with your phone and add to your Trello card. The latter option wont look quite as sleek, but it may be good enough for your needs.

Of course, you lose the Rocketbook OCR and scanning capabilities going with the plain notebook option, but remember that Rocketbook offers entirely free pages on their website. So if you have a printer, then you can also make yourself a planner from printed Rocketbook pages, or could even make your own layouts with the Rocketbook scannable frame around it and put the pages into a binder or your disc bound system of choice.

Try it Yourself!

Have you tried the Medium Method yourself? Or are you an all-digital or all-analog kinda person? Regardless of the method you use - how's it working for you? Let me know!

Stay tuned for my instructions on making your own Franken-planner to
combine the convenience of Rocketbook with the versatility of paper!

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