Data at Your Fingertips-Anytime, Anywhere & From Any Device
How many times has this happened to you?
You show up to a meeting – either in the building you work in, or offsite and realize that some important information you need is in your office…..somewhere.
That “somewhere” could be:
A meeting agenda or notes from a meeting nicely filed away
Notes lying somewhere on your desk in a stack of papers – you meant to file….someday
In a pad of paper that is somewhere in your office – if you could just remember “which” pad you took the notes on
On sticky notes in random places in your office
Imagine how great it would be if you could access this data at your fingertips – anytime, anywhere and from any device.
It’s possible. What’s the one item that goes with you just about everywhere you go? If you said “your smartphone” then we are on the same page.
Regardless of whether you have your smartphone, a tablet or laptop with you – you can have information at your fingertips by storing it in a digital notebook.
Likely you’ve heard of Evernote or OneNote, but have you made the time to see how you can implement one of these solutions for you at work? You’d be amazed at the power of these tools.
Both OneNote and Evernote are digital notebooks, so my recommendation is that you choose a platform and stick with it.
Evernote has a Basic version that is free and three other versions you pay a yearly fee for which are: Plus ($24.99/year), Premium ($49.99/year) or Business ($120.00/year/user).
OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office Suite, so chance are, you already have it on your computer if you use Microsoft Office – and you have the full version, so no need to pay for anything extra. I’ve been using OneNote for several years and I’m pretty sure I could not get along without.
I use OneNote in a variety of ways; for example:
Business Projects and Notes: Project I’m working on, such as a website refresh or training programs I’m writing – or important notes I want to remember on a specific subject.
Conferences I Attend: I’ve created sections in a notebook for each industry conference I attend annually – and then have a page for each session I attend. I take my own notes and I also insert any handouts I receive digitally or I scan a handout I want to keep and attach it to page in the notebook for that session.
Client Projects: I take almost all of my client notes in OneNote so I have a record of our meeting and a summary I can e-mail the client at the end of our session – with just one click of a button.
Books I’m Writing: This is a place where I keep my research, website links for reference, images I’ve sourced and the chapters I’m writing.
Office Procedures: A notebook that is shared with other team members in our office so we have consistency in the way we do things.
Recipes: This one makes my life easy by having all of the ingredients at my fingertips when grocery shopping on the way home from work. It’s also handy when I throw a dinner party and I get asked for the recipe – a couple of clicks and the recipe is on its way. Or two clicks from my iPhone and it’s sent as a PDF without me even going to my computer.
But enough about me….how can YOU use a digital notebook for your work?
Here’s an amazing story about a recent client I worked with and how we implemented OneNote into her workflow on a daily basis.
My client, I’ll call her Jill, needed to downsize her office and eliminate years of paper files. For 35 years, she’s worked in a “private office” with a door, a couple of filing cabinets and lots of horizontal work surface to house several desktop file holders. The company she works for is moving into a new building with “open concept” offices – translation: very little work surface and maybe one drawer for files.
The problem we had to solve was how do we keep information at her fingertips in an organized fashion so she could quickly put her hands on it?
Jill oversees a large team and has several direct reports – and as you can imagine, attends a lot of meetings in addition to the projects she works on. Consider the fact of how long Jill has worked in this office and how far technology has come since she started working. This technology did not exist, even a decade ago, so learning to operate without all of the paper can seem daunting.
After spending a couple of hours with Jill to review the current projects she works on and meetings she attends, we decided she needed 4 digital notebooks:
Notebook #1: Meetings (Internal)
Notebook #2: Boards and Committees
Notebook #3: Projects
Notebook #4: Meetings (External)
We then identified the structure for each notebook with sections and pages for each.
For example, in her Meetings (Internal) notebook, we created a section for her Direct Reports, Executive Management team and Senior Management team. Each of these sections had pages and subpages relating to each team member as well as pages for each meeting she attended with the individual or group. Jill’s action items after our initial meeting were to continue to build out the structure for each notebook and insert the meeting notes and or agendas as needed. Jill did have help from her assistant who was responsible for scanning the information that was to be kept and then it was attached into the notebooks as needed or saved to the server.
Before our first session was complete, we talked about how she could also use her OneNote notebooks to draft meeting agendas for upcoming meetings and e-mail them directly to her staff or her boss. We even created a template so she did not have to start from scratch each time. We also looked at ways she could tag “action items” from meetings in her notebooks with custom tags so she could track her “action items” and no longer have them on individual pieces of paper from each meeting. I showed Jill how she could search a notebook or notebooks to view and print a list of her action items and even push them out to her Outlook Task List.
During our second session, we reviewed how she set up her digital notebooks and had been using them – successfully – and how her entire team has embraced the use of OneNote. One of her team members, who had used OneNote at a former company, was helping team members get their notebooks setup and shared with other team members.
The amount of paper in her office was reduced by about 85% and she was down to one filing drawer and one desktop file. What an amazing success story! Even better, Jill is now in a better position to be able to work from home – once or twice a week - and never have to worry that she doesn’t have the right information at her fingertips. I look forward to my third session with Jill when I can see her new “open concept” office and how she is adapting to this new environment.
I hope this article has inspired you to take a look at OneNote and think about the many possibilities of how you can incorporate this into your workplace.
If you need help figuring this out – give me a call; I’d be delighted to see how I can help you – your team – or your organization incorporate these techniques into your workflow.
~ Making You More Productive - so you have More Time for Life® Warmly, Laura Leist, CPO (Certified Professional Organizer), MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist)
Laura to Speak at NSA NW Meeting on April 15th
Laura will present her program Eliminate Risk and Gain Rewards Using Technology: How Savvy, Successful, Small Businesses Operate.
Place: Mercer Island Community Center Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm Even if you are not a member of NSA Northwest, you can register HERE to attend.
Like Us on Facebook - For Useful Tips You Can Use at Work
Did you know we have a Facebook page dedicated to workplace productivity and information technology topics? In January, in honor of "Get Organized Month" we offered a Productivity tip each day. In March, we will be counting down to spring with a tip each day with quick, simple things you can do to "spring clean" your office. Be sure to "LIKE" our page as we will also be post information on a more frequent basis in bite-sized segments to help you be more efficient and organized at work.
It's not too late to go back and look at those 31 Productivity Tips and see which ones will help you in the workplace. I look forward to connecting with you online. ~Laura
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