You’ll Never Get the Things You Want Done…Without Being Reminded

How “Outlook Tasks” Can Help You Accomplish This

Organization can be difficult to achieve. One monkey wrench that regularly gets thrown into the organizational machine is forgetting things. This can be costly when it’s a meeting with a customer or a deadline for a proposal that’s missed.

Too many things bouncing around in our head at one time, makes us more likely to forget things.

Over the past several weeks we’ve discussed the system I use for scheduling my time and organizing my tasks. There were two main focuses.

The reasons for having a system –

The tools I use –

Now we’ll look at the third tool – Outlook Tasks. This is a separate function from the calendar in Outlook. On the surface, using Tasks in Outlook seems redundant to having lists in OneNote.

I shared how I use OneNote for collecting and sharing information. It is great for this. It’s easier to move things around when reviewing and prioritizing lists. Not to mention you can draw, record video, record audio, and a whole lot of other things that you can’t do in Outlook Tasks.

Next was how I used Outlook Calendar to block out and schedule my time. The benefits of a calendar, whether digital or written is allotting time for tasks. One thing written calendars and Tasks in OneNote don’t do is remind you of upcoming appointments and things on the to do list that need done.

Reminders are the game changer.

In Outlook, both calendar events and tasks can have reminders scheduled…there’s some reminders now. As I writing this a reminder alarm sounded and a window popped up on the screen. Now it’s up to me to determine what to do with these reminders.

One is a recurring meeting with myself coming up in 15 minutes (snoozed it until 5 minutes before). Two are action list reminders (snoozed for 15 minutes). Any of these reminders can be snoozed for a specific period of time or dismissed to be rescheduled later.

When I’m in the middle of doing focused work like preparing proposals for construction projects or writing a blog post, etc. It’s easy for me to lose track of time and forget things. Reminders help prevent that.

Outlook Tasks will connect with the other tools in my scheduling system.

All the tools in this system have specific functions that only they serve. At the same time, they all support the other and work together. (There’s the reminder again. Am I going to snooze them again or take a break from writing? I’m going to pause my writing and come back to it. I have another meeting coming up in 30 minutes.)

Here I am, back to writing. I only have a short amount of time to write before I need to go home to watch the Camping World Truck race that’s on this evening. Another thing that’s scheduled on the calendar.

I can set reminders in Outlook Tasks to be one and done or recurring at specific times and days. I can embed links in the tasks directly to action lists in OneNote. This way when a task reminder comes up, I can open it, click on the link and go directly to OneNote to that specific list.

I know all that scheduling and planning can seem overwhelming and it can be. You can decide if or how much scheduling and planning you will do. Not doing anything will leave you drifting through life with no clear destination. Having a system in place with reminders both for prioritizing and allotting time, will help you get things done.

Are you going to be in control of your life or is it going to be in control of you?

Opening the Toolbox & Looking at OneNote

Organizational Tools Are as Important as Any Other…Maybe More

Last week I told you that we would open up my organizational toolbox and take a look inside. So, OneNote is the first tool that we’ll look at.

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.

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 to do different things. To often these various apps 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 project binders on site at construction projects. This was a place where things would be kept so that employees, sub-contractors, project 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 ‘notebooks’ and each book can be divided into multiple ‘sections’ and each section can have bunches of ‘pages’ and subpages.

Just like “The Six Million Dollar Man” this computerized version of a ‘notebook’ has superhuman bionic computerized capabilities.

Here are a few of them –

  • 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 notebook 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 and when it was done.
  • 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, etc. This is just part of what I’m currently using or is available with OneNote.
  • 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. Click on it and it will open up that page, even if OneNote isn’t open yet.
  • Editing is 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 (although you can do those things as well).
  • 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. Click on the OneNote icon in the task bar and it’s open. A couple more 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 within 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 or phone. I can draw the floor plan for a room addition and write dimensions and notes right on it.

This tool can do all this and much more. Some people will probably say that it has too many bells and whistles or it’s complicated. I’m sure this isn’t the best tool for everybody and that’s okay. Not every person uses the same cordless drill.

This tool is simple to use and it makes it easy for me to stay organized.

Next week we’ll get out another tool that work’s in conjunction with this one.

This post was originally published January 21, 2017

Opening the Tool Box & Looking at OneNote

 

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.