Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” At Effective Edge, we could not agree more. With our information overloaded workplaces, simplicity can sometimes feel out of reach, especially when it comes to managing our complex projects. However, there’s a powerful tool already accessible to most of us that can allow us to get back to basics, while still being highly organized and effective in our project work. We are talking about Microsoft OneNote.
Microsoft OneNote, a user friendly program included in Microsoft Office, is essentially a digital 3-ring binder. OneNote allows you to create information of all kinds, from many different sources, and organize them within easy-to-search and navigable notebooks. I know what you may be thinking, “I’m not in 7th grade anymore.” Trust us, this is not your 7th grade Five Star® notebook. Here are just a few suggestions of how this amazing tool can help leverage your project work:
1. Stay Highly Organized
- Create a notebook for each specific project. Add dividers at the top of your notebook to separate different project sections. Some ideas for different sections include one dedicated to Brainstorming, Desired Outcome, Managing Future Actions, Tracking Completed Items, Hyperlinks, Budget Information, Project Meeting Notes, Accountability – the list could be a mile long.
- Each of these sections may include pages within them. For example, your Brainstorming section may have a page containing a tree diagram you’ve created, another page with screenshots of ideas and inspiration from the internet, and another one containing photographs of artifacts produced in a team meeting leading to the formation of this project.
- Tech Tip: How to: Go to “File” –> “New” & name your notebook. To add sections to your notebook, click the “+” sign at the top under the ribbon area. To add pages click the “+ Add Page” on the right hand panel.
2. Collaborate with Others
- OneNote allows you to share your project notebook with others, controlling who can view or edit it. OneNote will notify you via email anytime someone makes a change to a notebook. It will also save a copy of the original notebook you shared with them.
- OneNote also gives you the option of sharing a single page, as opposed to an entire notebook.
- Tech Tip: How to share an entire notebook: Go to “File” –> “Share,” enter the e-mail addresses of who you would like to share it with, and specify whether they can edit or just view it. Note: 2010 users will click “Share” in their ribbon area.
- Tech Tip: How to share a single page: Under the “Home” tab, select “Email Page” and enter the recipient’s email address.
3. Manage your Actions with Integration to Outlook
- Within OneNote, type all specific individual steps that you will eventually need to take in order to complete your project. Link the ones that are relevant now to your Outlook Task List.
- Tech Tip: How to: Place your cursor to the right of the action you would like to see in OneNote. Press “CNTL Shift K” and within 15 seconds an Outlook Task window will appear. Categorize the task and assign it a due date. Outlook Tasks sync with OneNote, so if you mark it complete it one area, it will show as complete in the other.
4. Record a Video/Audio Clip to Share with Others
- Want to ramp up team enthusiasm? Or simply explain or demonstrate an important component that would not lend itself to written form? Record a video or audio clip to do this.
- Tech Tip: How to record audio: Under the “Insert” tab, click “Record Audio”. Start speaking, and when done click “Stop” in the ribbon area. The audio file will then appear on your OneNote page, which you could copy/paste into an email to share, or just click “Email Page.”
- Tech Tip: How to record a video: Under the “Insert” tab, click “Record Video.” Your webcam will turn on in OneNote. Start speaking and close the webcam window when finished. The video file will appear on your OneNote page, which you could then copy/paste into an email, or just click “Email Page.”
5. Enhance Security & Mobility
- Password protect sensitive sections of your notebook for added security. You may want to share an entire notebook with your team, with the exception of one specific section. Password protect that section so that only authorized users with the password may access it.
- Save and store your notebook on OneDrive, allowing you to access it anywhere.
- Download the OneNote app on your mobile device or tablet, allowing you to view your project notebook on the go.
- Tech Tip: How to password protect a section: Right click on the section you want to password protect, and choose “Password Protect this Section.”
- Tech Tip: How to save notebook to OneDrive: Once you have named your notebook, click “OneDrive” on the left hand side as its saved location. Already created a notebook that you want to save to OneDrive? Right click on the notebook name, select “Properties” and then “Change Location.”
With the simplicity of OneNote, your project and all its moving pieces come alive – transforming it from something overwhelming to manageable and incredibly organized. If you’d like to continue to learn more about Project Leadership and EDGE for OneNote, check out our Summer Webinar Series at http://store.effectiveedge.com. Increase your productivity and connect your time to what matters most.