Saturday, 28 December 2013

Enter OneNote

I'm so disorganized.  It's sad.  I remember something -- something I need to do, say, bring with me-- , then ten minutes later, it's gone.  It's so far gone that I don't even have that "oh, I know I'm forgetting something" feeling.  And I have a lot to remember.  I've never been good at keeping a routine or an organizational system, I'm not good at time management, I'm also sloppy.  Recipe for disaster, especially considering I'm a teacher, which not only includes the teaching and assessing, but the extra-curricular stuff (guitar club- easy, putting on a musical- not so easy), and helping the 100 or so students I teach to become awesome adults.  Oh right, I'm also a mom, so I have to plan meals, drive people places, make doctor's appointments, and there's usually a small person demanding my attention, so my focus gets pulled from "what was it I needed to do after work today?"

The one organizational task I can manage is writing and checking off lists.  I love the feeling of crossing items off of a to-do list.  When I have a large project, I usually procrastinate by making a list.  I love paper lists, but they are less practical, wasteful, and easy to leave on my desk at home when I need them on my desk at work (or vice-versa).  I have been on the lookout for a "system" I can get into, and I've decided to try out Microsoft OneNote.  I stumbled across it while checking out my school laptop.  It is a note-taking (or notebook) system which could have many applications, but I'm trying to keep my ideas, to-dos and reminders there. 

Maybe "Redecorating" should be changed to "Fix this damn condo"
A screen capture of one of my notebook pages.  I can easily make a table, a check-off-able to-do list, add web content, whatever.  I just click wherever, and start typing.  It auto-saves, too.

 What I love about this application:
  • Everything in one spot.  There's an iOS app in the AppStore.  It's a bit clunky but it exists!  That means I have access to my notebooks on my phone, iPad, my work laptop, home computer, or wherever, since it's web-based.  Downside:  I had to sign up for a Microsoft account.
  • Unfiled notes.  I can just open up a quick little note, write something and file it later.
  • User-friendly.  Just click and go.  This application is not picky at all.  You can draw, make tables without hardly thinking, drag and drop documents, anything.
  • Sharing.  I could share a notebook with whomever I wish.  I could picture a family sharing a notebook, or co-workers working on the same project.
What I don't love:
  • Signing up for yet another email address and account.  I'm trying to simplify my life, not remember more passwords.
  • The Apple and Microsoft incompatibility.  They work together, but they really don't play nice.

Also: what's up with the time stamp?  I am certainly not doing this type of thing at 2am!
Here we have supposedly the same notebook page on my phone as above.  Note there is NOTHING ON IT. Maybe it's slow to sync (even though I tapped "sync now" a couple times).
So that being said, I tend to stick to working with OneNote on my laptop.  The only downtime organizational time I typically have is at work, so that seems okay.  I'm going to try and stick with OneNote for a while and use it regularly and in various ways.  Maybe it'll really click with me, and I'll have to do a follow-up post.
What systems do you have in place that really work for keeping you organized at work and at home?