Thursday, June 4, 2015

MS OneNote, my new favorite tool

Ages after everyone else, I finally discovered MS OneNote a few months ago. During a meeting, one of my colleague used it to store meeting minutes, project details, charts and graphs... I thought it was brilliant and used it every day since then.

Here are the main sections I currently use:
  1. Projects: I create one tab per project. For each project, I have a status page (DMAIC phase, deliverable list, next steps) but also a meeting notes. After each meeting, I add my notes and the date, which means I have a unique spot for all information relative to one project. I also like to add a "data play" tab where I put key information, summary of findings, tests to performs, questions to ask... 
  2. Mentoring: I have one tab per mentee with meeting notes and action items. I often send the page to my mentee so he/she has it as a reminder of his/her progress and next deliverable. You can clearly see the progress made and it's very encouraging for them to review.
  3. Liaison:  Each member of the team acts as a Liaison to a number of SLT members. We review results, key projects, resources. It's a good way to make sure I don't forget any of my Liaison.
  4. Personal items: It goes from a work to-do-list to a daily recording of my water intake and meetings and includes random lists and links. I even created a Kaizen packing list that should be useful for the year to come.
  5. Archived projects: I don't want to delete any old project, so I group them under an archived tab.
I love that it's stored on the cloud and can be used with my phone or from home. I find information a lot quicker and find analytics a lot easier this way (I use it as some would use a whiteboard I guess). I've also stopped taking notes in my notebook (except for face to face meetings).

To make it easier, I've created a "cancelled" tag (for cancelled meetings, specialty of some mentees of mine) and a project status template. I try to use reminders as much as possible, as they are linked to Outlook. It's not rocket science or super fancy, it's just a matter of opening OneNote first thing in the morning and keeping it updated as long as you work on a specific topic.


When you work on half a dozen project, mentor as many people and act as a Liaison for a few SLT members, you really need to know where you're at, what you've done and what you have to do. I feel a lot more organized and I don't forget as many action items as I used to. I empty my daily and to-do list on Fridays, add items on Monday mornings.