A Day in the Life of OneNote

By Carolyn Anger posted 06-01-2021 16:52

Please enjoy this blog post authored by Carolyn Anger, Senior Director, Consilio.

I am a note-taker. Always have been, always will be—to-do lists, checklists, weekly and monthly plans, meeting notes, and journal writing.  I recorded information with my pen of choice for most of my school and working life, the Pilot Pen Hi Tecpoint V5 and a Blueline Miraclebind Hardcover Notebook. Back in 2015, I started working exclusively on a laptop, and that is when I began to record my notes electronically. My computer was portable, so it accompanied me to meetings and replaced the former handwritten notebook and pen.

Fast-forward to 2021, and my notetaking and productivity have reached the next level through my adoption of OneNote across my devices. My work and personal notes are all securely available on my laptop and iPhone, and they sync continuously. I always have everything at my fingertips to search or use a voice command to find. In this post, I will share my top three features in OneNote that have increased my notetaking productivity.

Top Three Notetaking Features in OneNote

1. Daily Notebook: there are three primary levels of organization in OneNote that are meant to mimic a bound notebook – Notebook, Sections (like tabs), and Pages. For daily notes, I use the sections to organize my notebook by week and within each week, I have a to-do list for each day of the week. As the week goes on, I check the boxes off as tasks are completed. If I need to move something forward, I will move the task to a different week. At the end of the week, I can easily see what has been completed and what remains to be completed or re-prioritized.

I also keep my most frequently used checklists in a section within my notebook to refer to them or make a copy to use as needed during meetings.

Read and hear more about notes organization here

 2. Linking Outlook emails and meetings in OneNote

The integration between Outlook and OneNote is one feature that gives me a boost in productivity and keeps me on track every time. Before a meeting begins, add the meeting invite from Outlook using the Meeting Details from the Home ribbon. From within OneNote, the contents of the meeting will populate to a page in the notebook. This is useful because the date and time, location, participants and any notes or documents from within the meeting invite are accessible and can be edited. The same feature is available for email – the contents of an email can be populated by clicking the Email Page button on the ribbon. This integration is very useful when a meeting agenda is circulated. Further, once the meeting is complete, a summary of the meeting can quickly be circulated right from within OneNote.

Check out this ribbon – there are many additional features to organize notes, including customizable tags, task creation, advanced formatting, search, and dictation.

To learn more about inserting Outlook meeting details into OneNote, check out this article.

3. Dictation on the Go and Sticky Notes

Using the dictation feature in OneNote is great for those times when you have an idea you want to record hands-free. When I am out on a walk and have a thought or idea that I want to record, I will open my OneNote on my iPhone and dictate into a specific page. Another tool that is useful for recording thoughts is the Sticky Note tool. Sticky Notes are another great feature that is meant to mimic a “Post-It’ note. Find out more information about Sticky Notes here.

Three of the top reasons I use dictation for notes are:  dictation helps me write a lot faster, gives hands and wrists a rest, and allows me to record information while walking. The accuracy isn’t perfect, but it can be cleaned up later when I get back online to organize further.

Final Thoughts

The main reason I take notes is to help me retain, manage, and recall information. Having notes in digital format is far better for many reasons, but mainly for searching across content to find information about what occurred in the past and elevating project and program information management in one spot.

There are many more features that I use daily in OneNote! Check out any of the videos you can find online for more information on its’ features. Keep in mind that there are two different OneNote apps available today (not including legacy apps) – OneNote for Windows 10 and the OneNote app, which is free for anyone to download. Check out this link for more information on OneNote versions, supported devices, and system requirements.

Keep Calm and Take Notes!