Computer Tools Are as Important to Construction as a Saw or a Hammer
Being a self-employed small business owner is a difficult undertaking at best. This difficulty increases exponentially when organization and communication are operating poorly or not at all. This problem only increases when you’re successful and there are more things to organize and more people to communicate with.
During my thirty-five plus years of continually working to achieve and maintain some level of control I have used a whole lot of different tools. Some were old school some high tech. To this point the best tool I have found for organizing and communicating is Microsoft OneNote. This tool is great for organizing and communicating. It does so much, so well, that I don’t need a bunch of different apps that do different things and don’t sync well across different systems and devices.
I would equate OneNote to a three-ring binder on steroids. Maybe we should call OneNote the ‘Six Million Dollar’ binder. I have used binders for my organizing for years and still do to a small degree. A good comparison of OneNote to a binder is the way I used to have a project binder on site at construction projects. This was a place where things would be kept so that as different employees, sub-contractors, management, architects and the customer could all have access to the specifics of the project. OneNote is organized very similar to a binder. You can have different ‘note books’ and each book can be divided into multiple ‘sections’ and each section can have bunches of ‘pages’.
Just like “The Six Million Dollar Man” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Six_Million_Dollar_Man this computerized version of a ‘note book’ has superhuman bionic computerized capabilities. Here are just a few.
- Share with other people across multiple devises.
- This can be as simple as sharing a shopping list with your spouse or as detailed as an entire note book with colleagues on a big project.
- Syncs automatically across multiple devises.
- If someone adds to the shopping list or checks something off, you will know it in a matter of seconds as long as you are connected to the internet. If not, it will sync as soon as you are.
- When changes are made they are highlighted until read.
- If one of my virtual assistants makes a change I will be able to know that, go to the specific change and know who did it.
- Insert almost anything on to a page.
- You can insert copies of other documents, screen clippings, photos, audio and video recordings, links to other pages and/or web locations and this is just part of what I’m currently using.
- Link from and to multiple locations.
- I can put a link for a specific OneNote page in a task reminder or calendar event or on a word document and click on it and it will open up that page, even if I haven’t opened OneNote yet.
- Edit things really easy.
- Things on a OneNote page can be clicked on and moved to a different place on the page. This feature is great for prioritizing a list. If I want to move something higher on the list I just move it there, no cutting or copying or pasting.
- It’s always ready to open up and use.
- It doesn’t require the opening up of a program and folder a file before you can write something down. Once you open OneNote it just takes a couple of clicks and you can write down your note before you forget it.
- Great place for filing and storing.
- If I want to save an email from a customer with a picture and a link to a web site, I can do that right from Outlook.
- Can protect sensitive info with in a shared note book.
- If I have a page that has ideas for my wife’s Christmas or passwords to my bank account, I can password protect those pages. This means that if my wife accidently goes to her Christmas page when she meant to go to the shopping list, she can’t open it without the password…which she doesn’t have.
- Can draw or write on it just like paper.
- This feature is great for getting down quick information with my tablet. I can draw the floor plan for a room addition and write dimensions and notes right on it.
I know that there is so much more that this tool can do and a lot that I don’t. Some people will probably say that it has too many bells and whistles or it’s complicated. I’m sure that this isn’t the best tool for everybody and that’s okay. Not every person uses the same cordless drill. I think this tool is simple to use and it makes it easier for me to be organized and to communicate.