Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Productivity tools

Happy New Year!
My routine in the first couple of week of the New Year is to archive my emails.  Unfortunately, I have 2600 emails in my Inbox, and my first step is to clean that out.  Unfortunately, we're having ANOTHER network slowdown, and I can barely access my emails.

So I'm focusing on a little challenge that has bugged me for many years: notes.  I take a prodigious amount of notes.  I do this for a variety of reasons: to keep busy, to help me remember things, to do lists, jotting down random thoughts, to record meetings, to record my daily activities, to record when someone calls and tells me something.  I also have a couple of files with "notes," including interesting articles from the web or that someone sent me or that I clipped out of a magazine.  How do I improve my access and use of that information?

Now that I've been in my current job for a decade, what am I supposed to do with notebooks and files full of notes?  Some issues come up every 5-7 years.  What's an efficient way to keep track of who I spoke to and what happened?  I think I need a searchable (digital) notebook.  Yes, I'm ready to move from my handwritten notes to a digital platform.  Some of my slowness to adopt digital notetaking is that it has been considered quite offensive to have electronics out and on at meetings (a no-no just a few years ago).  But it's becoming more acceptable.

There are two dueling products: Evernote and OneNote.  I installed Evernote on my phone a few years ago.  I have about 50 notes, mostly from jotting ideas down from scientific meetings.  Those notes are patiently waiting for me to do something with them.  OneNote is Microsoft's version.  I don't remember using OneNote, though it is possible I tried it out.

I headed to the Google-sphere to find 380,000 returns for my search Evernote vs OneNote.  Here's my assessment:
1. Since I'm essentially starting from scratch, importing/exporting functionality is not a requirement.  Evernote trumps OneNote here, but it doesn't matter for me.
2. Cost is a consideration.  I have a subscription to Office 365 at home and I have all Windows/Microsoft products at work.  OneNote is free right now, and even if it costs later on, it might be bundled with my Office 365 subscription.
3. I want robust webclipping.  Sounds like EndNote wins here, but OneNote can do it too.
4. Note tagging and searching.  Both can do this.
5. I want to be able to share notebooks with other people.  Both can do this.
6. Interface with Outlook maybe for project management?  OneNote only.
7. Aesthetics.  Sounds like this is a toss up based on individual preference.  I like that you can hand-write notes into OneNote, I like that you can have nested notes and a less linear note-taking process in OneNote.

So, OneNote it is.  Wish me luck.

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