Thursday, August 17, 2006
Taking notes - that’s the easy part
It seems most everyone I talk to now knows about OneNote. It usually goes something like this "yes I heard of OneNote. Its that note taking app from MS." Many friends and acquaintances have loaded and tried OneNote, took a few notes, clicked around, made a few folders and pages. Maybe they actually open it once later in the week and try it all over again. "You know it just doesn't click for me. It's easier to take my notes by hand."
It's no surprise that OneNote does not overwhelm everyone with it's note-taking abilities. Come on its just notes. You know how easy it is to take a note on a scrap piece of paper and shove it in your pocket. Just take a look at my desk, notes and scraps all over. Check my car, more notes - hey is that my appointment card for my dentist? Wait there's a few lunches I was supposed to expense last month. Three pads of paper each with various client design notes. Check my dresser where I empty out my pockets at the end of the day. There's a napkin with a design for a OneNote PowerToy - got to remember to put that someplace and not accidently throw it away.
Yes taking notes is easy, just grab a business card, napkin, back side of a bank statement and you are in business. And if OneNote was only good for creating electronic versions of these notes well then there just isn't much sense in losing my notes in a computer. If you think OneNote is just about taking notes then you my friend have not figured it out yet.
The problem with notes is that notes come in all forms and from everywhere. I have "notes" on scraps of paper, whiteboards and even on occasion the back of my hand. I once had a job where the most common place to find your notes was on pieces of medical tape stuck to your pants leg. On the road? Well a call to my office and a "note" left on my voice mail works real nice when I have good idea I know I will forget before I get to where I am going. Like I said "notes" come in all forms - paper like a business card, audio like my voice mail, images like the picture I took of a white board.
And lets not forget the subjects of the notes. I have notes on clients, notes on policies, notes to go to the dentist and doctors. I got a note to remember to get some trim for the house, and don’t forget to call whoever about such and such after Tech Ed. And remember to call about brakes for the car.
When you look at the simple concept of "taking notes" it is suddenly not so simple. As a matter of fact taking notes is the easy part. Organizing them, finding them and working on them is the hard part. Ever spend a day looking for that scrap of paper that has that all important phone number? Or have you moved your desk to find a note written months before reminding you to submit your PowerToy to certain contest? And that is why you need OneNote. Not as another place to lose your notes but a place where you can capture, organize, find and use your notes.
So have you figured it out yet? Start capturing your notes in all their forms into OneNote. Along the way organize them, search for them and actually use them. I wish I would have started using OneNote earlier- I could use the thirty dollars for those lunches I forgot to expense, or one of those slick tablets.