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OneNote will save your brain

March 1, 2017

By Kathie M. Rotz, CPTM, Director of Learning

“Never depend on your brain” – a rule to live by. If your brain has never failed you, be on guard, it will. I do not say this to be a pessimist or to state the obvious, which is we are all getting older and some body parts will fail us. It is just fact. According to experts we have 2,500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour.* There is no way we can remember everything we think, so stop trying. Instead, use systems and tools to capture your thoughts. Then, reference these tools when you need to do something with the idea.

When it comes to information, it is easy and logical to store it electronically. However, searching files within network or email folders can be a nightmare. The tool I recommend to capture your thoughts and avoid organizational headaches is a computerized notebook such as Microsoft OneNote. Evernote.com is another online notebook option.

OneNote will help organize your data by creating notebooks, folders and pages. As much as I promote organization, I encourage you not to get too detailed with the organization of your notes. By selecting Ctrl + E on your keyboard, you can quickly search every note in every notebook within OneNote. I may not remember where I saved the information, but I do remember a keyword within my notes. That is all I need to find what I am looking for. (Don’t you wish you could select Ctrl + E to find things in your home?)

What about those random thoughts that have nothing to do with a current assignment? For example: blog topic ideas. Throughout my day, as I help solve challenges or trouble-shoot a computer question, I have great ideas for a future blog topic. I do not want to lose these ideas, so I created a page within OneNote called “Blog Ideas.” When another idea comes to me, I open OneNote > select Ctrl + E to activate the search function, type blog and my page is found. I add my new idea to the list and move on to my next assignment. The amount of time it took to log my idea was seconds. When it comes time to write another blog article, it will also take me seconds to find a new idea.

There are tools available to help you survive your own busy mind. Learning how to use them effectively, like storing your thoughts in one system, can save you time and undue stress.

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