OneNote Success

A year ago I read Lindsay’s paperless blog, a journey to becoming a paperless guru.

I remember admiring the efforts to reduce paper use and increase his efficiency, while silently contemplating how impossible that would be for me.

In Lindsay’s first blog, “Here We Go”  he wrote:

Person one is the epitome of organization. She is a true Renaissance Woman of order. Her binder is fully tabbed. Her calendar is colour-coded by topic. She effortlessly pulls up the information she needs to cut through red tape. She is a force to be reckoned with.

You see I am the true Renaissance Woman of Order.Even if he didn’t mean to describe me, he did. My Type A organization linear thinking style and all the coloured sticky notes on my desk made me the worst candidate to try paperless. Why? Because I LOVE all my paper, or so I thought.With each week’s blog post I would read about a new adventure in his quest to remove paper from his life. As time went on, I found myself more intrigued and started wondering if I could do it too.

It wasn’t until July that I took the leap of faith to go paperless. I wrote a post of my own about starting to use OneDrive called Confessions of a Paperholic.

In September, I emailed Lindsay and asked him if he liked his iPad Pro and OneNote. I had seen him use it each week in our management meetings. I was hesitant. I know people who can write with anything, however I am not one of them. Apple had their Pencil and it looked like it was nice so I thought I would give it a try.

In 10 minutes, I was hooked. Lindsay let me use his Apple Pencil and his OneNote to take notes at a meeting. I loved how it felt and how it wrote; it was the closest thing to a real pen I had tried. I went out that day and got a new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and promptly downloaded the OneDrive and OneNote apps, and I haven’t looked back.

So now that I am converted to paperless and shouting from the rooftops about it, I thought I would share my favorite features that could maybe help you too.

1. Pens, Highlighters and all the options for them.
I love my pens. I like coloured pens and a large variety. This can get bulky to carry a big pencil case full of my desired writing utensils. With OneNote on my iPad, I can quickly change colours from a large variety of options, and I can change the thickness with a simple tap of a button. All I need is my one stylus and I have a stationary aisle worth of writing utensils at my fingertips. I have options for pens, markers and highlighters. Best part, it all fits easily into my purse.

2. Insert File Printout.
This feature solidified my love for OneNote. I wanted to be able to write on documents, but found trying to edit them on the computer awkward. When I insert a file printout, it displays the PDF or Word Document just as I would see it if I printed it. I can write and draw all over it, make diagrams or even smiley faces. Best part, I do not have to take the notes home and file them in a file folder or binder since OneNote keeps everything already organized.

3. Notes and Sharing.
I can make large notes, like when I am chairing or attending a meeting or group notes together. This replaces the kind of notes I might have written on Post-Its before (and hope they didn’t get lost). Each week, I send an update email to our company about what is new or coming up. I have a section in my notebook and then I create a page for each week. As I think of ideas of what to include, I include them on that page. I have this one notebook shared with our Chief Operating Officer, so he can also write notes as he thinks of them. It’s easy to do on my phone or iPad when I’m out of the office, or on my laptop when I am at my desk. Then when I go to write the email, I have all the notes I need. No pile of sticky notes, or forgetting what I wrote.

4. Sharing
It is all shareable. I can share my whole notebook since it’s in OneDrive and then others can add or reference information. I can also email a page or section. I have attended meetings where I have written notes and then on my iPad, I just click the share button and it will email a PDF of that page. It is instant note sharing with little effort. Often, we need to reference the notes, so it’s important to share them, but I don’t have to type them out or print them for everyone which saves a ton of my time. Thinking back to the Quarterly Planning Session that Lindsay referenced in his last paperless post I saved a couple hours of work by being able to share the pages this way.

Recently, I had tweeted about OneNote and they asked what my favorite thing was about it and I replied that 140 characters could not begin to cover it. I am not sure a whole blog post could either, but I’m a definite convert and I can’t imagine ever going back.

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