| By Katherine Murray |
Work advances through creative thinking, but in many offices, good ideas end up buried under piles of other work almost as often as they’re actually hatched.
You can take notes, make sketches, and collect research, of course, but one of the most effective tools for keeping your ideas safely alive, supported, and circulating is Microsoft OneNote 2010.
Great plan: if only you could remember it
You’re in a meeting, and the ideas are flowing like water. Everyone is engaged, and you know you’re making progress on your project. But experience tells you that as soon as people get back to their desks — even though they are charged up right now — they forget their inspiration and get busy with the normal, everyday tasks that eat up their time. Excitement fades, and few — if any — of your action items will actually be accomplished.
If this sounds like a familiar scenario in your office, you may be relieved to discover Microsoft OneNote 2010, an intuitive note-taking tool you can use to easily collect all your great ideas and research items and organize them in a way that makes acting on them easier.
OneNote 2010 is one of the unsung heroes of the Office 2010 suite. It’s a faithful, friendly workhorse — although, judging from its storage requirements, it’s a fairly large workhorse — but it doesn’t claim as much of your moment-to-moment focus as its fancier suite-mates such as Word 2010 or Excel 2010. OneNote seems happy to work behind the scenes to help your team capture important details of your meetings, add research (in the form of Web clippings, audio, video, doodles, and more), and enable you to collaborate easily in a secure, easy-to-manage environment. OneNote 2010 is seamlessly integrated with your other Office 2010 programs, too, which makes it simple to move information from Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook to and from OneNote notebooks.
Another great feature is that OneNote is available as an Office 2010 Web App and as part of Office 2010 Mobile; amazingly, you can get it even as an iPhone app. All this flexibility makes it easy to create and share notebooks securely and then add, use, and review your notes from any point on the globe you have Web or mobile access.
Creating a shared notebook — securely
Creating and using your own OneNote notebook is great if you’re working on a solo project that you design, research, and create all by yourself. But I think the program is exponentially more powerful when you’re working on a collaborative project such as an annual report, a grant proposal, or a new marketing piece that needs the input of a team. Using a shared OneNote notebook, you can gather research, share your thoughts with your group, collect designs you like, track the tasks you need to accomplish, and discuss early feedback with your team as you work toward your project end. OneNote makes it easy to create a shared but secure notebook where all this work can be gathered and recorded in a natural, organic way.