Often forgetting things for your family and home? You need a better system. Read my tips for using OneNote and learn how to boost productivity.
Mums have a lot on their plate. Meals, laundry, appointments, errands, after school activities, birthday parties – there’s so much going on that it’s not surprising that some things get forgotten about. With a household and family of five to manage I knew my forgetfulness was a main factor in me being unproductive. I needed a system I could trust to store all that information that was swirling around in my head and getting forgotten about. I found the answer for how to boost productivity with OneNote.
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Women’s brains are like spaghetti
Men and women, generally, think differently. While men put their thoughts in separate boxes and deal with one issue at a time, women’s thoughts are more like wires (or spaghetti) and are hard to separate.
Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle. That is how women face life. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue in some way. Focus on the family.
That might make it easier to multi-task. But it also means it’s easier to get overwhelmed with so many seemingly unconnected thoughts in our head at once.
That shirt your husband asked you to wash.
The invitation to a party you need to find.
The eggs you need to buy to bake the cake for the school sale.
The recipe you promised to give to a friend.
What days your kids need to take their library books to school.
And that’s not to mention any other job or voluntary work.
So many tasks and thoughts going round in your head that keep popping up and you say to yourself, “Oh, I mustn’t forget…” But, if you are anything like me, you do forget.
I knew that forgetting things was one of my major barriers to productivity. In order to increase my productivity I needed a system to help me remember things – or better yet, to not have to remember them at all!
Don’t try to remember – note it down!
David Allen, from Getting Things Done, says that we should not ‘have the same thought twice, unless we want to and it makes us happy’. That certainly was a challenge to me when I read it! As well as those negative thoughts that keep recurring (but that’s a whole other issue) so much of my energy is taken up trying to remind myself of the same thing over and over again. But instead of wasting energy reminding myself I need to buy sugar it’s far better to write it down somewhere. We won’t learn how to boost productivity until we have accepted this fact – our brain is for creativity, not for storing information – no matter how many times we might tell ourselves we will remember something, we will probably forget!
There are two important things to remember, however, to making note-taking a success.
Two important keys to note-taking
Your note-taking system will only boost productivity if it is
- Trustworthy – You need to know these notes won’t get lost or forgotten about;
- Convenient – You need to quickly and easily access your note-taking device when needed.
There is no point in having a heap of scribbled notes all over the place that get lost or buried under more papers on your desk. That’s the ‘system’ I was using before I learned about the Bullet Journal – and it wasn’t working. It couldn’t be trusted. I just aided my procrastination.
When I started to use a Bullet Journal my note-taking became much more trustworthy. My notes were all in the one place, and with the index, I could easily find them again. I was beginning to learn how to boost productivity.
However, it wasn’t as convenient (for me anyway) as I needed it to be. The plan was to carry the journal with me so I could take or refer to notes when needed, but I never got in the habit of putting it in my bag each day.
I knew that some kind of digital note taking system would probably be the answer, as I usually remember to carry my phone with me, and even have it near me in the kitchen. But most apps I’ve tried haven’t really worked for me.
Until I tried OneNote.
How to boost productivity with OneNote
The first thing I loved about OneNote is the badge that stays on my phone screen. I can easily access OneNote by pressing the badge, even before entering my password. So I’m straight into the note page without having to enter my password, remember what the app icon looks like, find it, and then open it. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but instant access is the key when you suddenly realise you need more sugar when you’re in the middle of cooking dinner and you have a small child clinging to your leg!
No more telling yourself over again that you need to buy more sugar. No more hunting for a pen and paper (I’m sure the kids steal my pens). Just pick up your phone (or ipad etc.) and with one click you can note down whatever you want.
There are so many options for what you can choose to do once you have opened the page:
- Click anywhere on the page and just start typing or handwriting
- Draw pictures
- Add photos
- Embed files
- Clip webpages (or parts of pages) using the chrome extension
Have a play around with all the features and find out how to boost productivity in your own life.
One feature I love is the highlighting tool. I can simply highlight anything – text or part of an image. I just click on the highlighting icon and then drag my finger where I want to highlight.
So, for example, I’ve been meaning to buy a vegetable spiral slicer for ages (but keep forgetting :)). Now I’ve looked online, clipped the page to OneNote and highlighted the one I am interested in. When I’m out shopping and see some in the store I can quickly compare on OneNote. I can also take photos in store and add them to my note.
You can also change the look of the page from lined to blank or grid if you prefer. Do this by clicking on view and rule line.
Notes are easy to organise. You can create a number of notebooks. I’ve created a personal notebook and one for Mummy Do It. And then, within each notebook, you can create sections (seen in the coloured tabs) and pages within each section (found down the left of the screen). It’s also easy to move pages from one section or notebook to another.
I created the section above to hold the podcasts I like listening to. I love listening to podcasts when doing housework. (It helps motivate me – another trick to boost productivity.) Now I can quickly access the ones I like.
OneNote will not only search any text you have entered, but also find what you are looking for in any documents, webpages, audio and video files you have added. Even your handwritten notes. This has to be one of the best features – in my opinion!
Hear are a few other features which I haven’t used yet.
- Email to OneNote
- Do mathematical calculations
- Share your notes with others
Now, when I find myself thinking ‘I must remember to…’ I grab my phone and make a quick note. When I’m at the supermarket I can quickly check what I need. When I’m planning my week I can quickly check OneNote for anything I need to add to my plans.
Want to read more about how to boost productivity with OneNote? Check out these resources: