One tool that I have been using for some time to stay organised is Microsoft’s OneNote. So what exactly is OneNote? OneNote is a tool to organise all your professional and personal information. You could describe it as a digital version of a binder that contains tabs like a multi-subject notebook. It allows you to capture information from the web, make handwritten or typed notes and you can collaborate with others just like using a whiteboard.
OneNote hasn’t caught on in the business world but is heavily targeted towards students because of its notebook interface. The general public is really not aware of how powerful this tool can be to organise all your information.
Ways you can use OneNote in the Workplace
- OneNote is a great tool just to get things done. Use sections, pages and subpages like you would use a physical notebook. Instead of printing that email or web page, simply send it to OneNote and file it within the section that you need to.
- Create a shared notebook so that you can collaborate with your team. Place the notebook on a shared folder on your server or your SharePoint site. You then have an online version of your notebook that you can begin collaborating with. You might use this to manage a project or simply to collect agenda items. You can also create passwords on individual pages so that only certain people can see them.
- Take better notes in meetings. For your regular meetings create a section for that meeting. Then create a new page for each meeting and link this to your Outlook invitation. During the meeting, take notes on that page and then email the meeting notes directly to all participants at the end.
- Use your notebook as a wiki. OneNote updates in real time so you have the ability to use it as a wiki for your team. You can link pages and notebooks so this allows for a wiki feel to your documentation.
- Take fast and simple screen shots. By using the Send to OneNote Tool, you can easily clip any screenshot and send it directly to OneNote. You can then save the screen grab as a PNG.
How I use OneNote
- I use OneNote to manage all project information. For each project that I manage, I create a new section. I then collect all emails, documentation and notes and add them to I also sync all meetings and take notes from those meetings all within OneNote and then disseminate them to all participants through a shared notebook. What is great about this is that I can go back and find all information related to any project that I have managed at a later date.
- I store all my travel information within a section of my notebook. Then for each trip I create a new page. I then attach all correspondence and information about the trip. This can include any reports that I need, itineraries, hotel details, restaurants and contacts. For travel where I a meeting new colleagues, I have been known to take a screen shot of their photo and put them all on a page so I can easily remember what they look like, their names and job titles before meeting them. This has been handy when attending large committee meetings as everyone names were easier to remember.
- I store all my passwords on a password protected page. What is great about OneNote is that it is free and you can have it on any of your devices, or use it on the web. That means your notes travel with you and you can access them anytime. I have a page within OneNote that is password protected and contains all my passwords. I can then access them from anywhere, anytime. Just make sure the password you have on the OneNote page is one you don’t use elsewhere and is very easy to remember, but hard to guess.
- I use it to store all research material for my writing. If I come across some information on the web that I would like to refer to later, I will send it to OneNote and create a new page within my resources section. This way I can come back to it at later and review the information when I need to.
These are just some great reasons to use OneNote. Are there any other ways that you use OneNote in the workplace to be more productive? Please share your experiences here.