These days, it seems we’re all trying to cram more and more work onto our already-full calendars. One strategy for dealing with a to-do-list-gone-wild is to find more efficient ways to tackle the things we want or need to get done. As operations director at Brandpoint, finding ways to do things faster and better is part of the job. Fortunately, in today’s world, mobile apps and web-based software offer plentiful opportunities to do just that, often in creative new ways.
My favorite timesaving app is OneNote.
While it’s technically an information-capturing application, I consider it an efficiency tool because it drastically streamlines the way I store all the information I create and collect in the course of a day.
OneNote is made by Microsoft and is part of the Office suite of programs, so it’s likely already installed on your desktop computer. To receive the full benefit, also download the app for iPad, iPhone, Android or Windows mobile devices. That will ensure you have access to it everywhere, even offline.
At work I use OneNote to capture all my meeting notes, project information, reference files, draft documents, and any other information I want easily accessible and organized. I also use OneNote at home to save things like remodeling ideas, a list of books I want to read, and even clothes and shoe sizes for my husband and kids. You can also insert photos into OneNote, so in my account you’ll find screen grabs of Web pages I want to save for future reference and even photos of my favorite restaurant to-go menus.
Information in OneNote is captured in “pages,” pages live in “sections,” and sections live in “notebooks.” So you might have a page titled “Kickoff meeting notes from Oct. 1” in a section titled “My New Project” in a notebook titled “Work.” Each section is represented by a color-coded tab at the top of the window, allowing for easy navigation among them.
Changes to OneNote files sync automatically between devices when you have an Internet connection. This allows me to be highly efficient because I can create or update notes at any time, without requiring a Wi-Fi connection. Plus, having all my notes in a single, reliable place gives me peace of mind knowing that I can easily retrieve the information I’m looking for and don’t have to wonder where I saved a particular note.
OneNote’s basic functionality will sound familiar to Evernote users. I’ve used Evernote, but I much prefer OneNote for its attractive visual interface, its integration with Outlook
(which allows you to create a note from a calendar event or email with one right-click), and also the ability to email notes as text, which Evernote can’t do. I also appreciate that OneNote has all the text formatting tools of Word, making it very simple to do things like structure text as an outline, insert a table or add highlighting. In addition, it’s a breeze to add checkboxes, flags or any number of other visual cues to help you organize your information.
Look for more of my favorite timesaving digital tools, including my favorite task managers, in future posts.