In a recent blog post, I ruminated about the possibilities for using the OneNote software that comes with some versions of Microsoft Office 2007. I'm pleased to say that I've been using OneNote both at work and at home, and it has really helped to declutter my life.
So what do I mean by this? As a writer, I've always got multiple projects going. For example, I'm doing editing on one of my manuscripts. Right now, I'm fine tuning the language in certain sections based on feedback from one of my beta readers. However, the best phrases often occur to me when the word processor is not open and the computer might even be off altogether. OneNote is a very lightweight way to take the odd scribbled notes -- from those times when the computer is down -- and file them away under a page devoted to current edits on the manuscript in process. Later, when I'm ready to edit again, the notes are there, waiting for me to put them to use.
In my work as a product manager, I've recently been in the throes of a product launch. This entails a myriad of tasks and a boatload of details. I've now covered a planning page devoted to the launch with all of these tasks, together with links to a variety of documents which have moved from draft to finished state, all safely under the watch of OneNote. I know there are other ways of managing such tasks, but OneNote has seamlessly jumped into the breach, aiding and abetting me in this complex project, acting like the assistant I might have had back in the days before the current lean and mean corporate era.
My conclusion? OneNote is the kind of software tool I've been looking for to help me organize my personal life and rely much less on scraps of paper. I can definitely recommend it as being the most useful software tool I've encountered in recent years. If you want to try it out, you can either buy the program standalone or get it in one of the many versions of Office 2007. It's worth the effort.