Raise your hand if you have a collection of about 5-10 partially used notepads that you designate with specific purposes.
Who has been able to stick to that?
If you have, I’d like to know your secret!
What always seemed to happen to me was I would start strong, then I would get called into a last-minute meeting, and I didn’t have time to find the “correct” notepad, so I would grab the first one I saw.
Or, we would cover five different topics in a meeting, and all my notes would end up in one notepad.
Never fails! At least for me, that always seems to be what happens.
I thought I was doomed to keep repeating this cycle. That is until my husband told me about this great little program I had never heard of before.
What is OneNote?
Microsoft OneNote is a digital notebook.
Each notebook can be broken down into sections, and then each section can have separate pages.
The appealing part about this structure is that you are working with a blank slate. You don’t have to try to conform to pre-designed or labeled sections. You have the flexibility to add sections as you need! AND you can even pick the color of your notebook and sections (can be different).
I’m a visual person, so the idea that I can color code my notebooks and sections was beyond thrilling.
Yes, I know, I’m weird like that.
So think of these notebooks as those big five subject notebooks we would get for school when we were kids. Except we don’t have to worry about one section running out of paper. A huge pet peeve of mine! Again, yes, I know I’m weird.
Where to access OneNote
I know you don’t always have your computer with you when you want to access your notebooks.
I love that I can use OneNote on my iPad.
And since we’ve already established that I’m weird, we’ll take it one step farther.
I’m weird in that I like being able to write when I’m taking notes. While I love technology and my computer, to me, there’s just something about actually writing.
Maybe for me, it’s that my brain is a cross between a chicken running around with no head and a dog that someone yelled “squirrel” – I’m all over the place and thinking of 100 different things at any given time. So I know that I try to take notes on my computer, I will be checking my email, on the internet, or down the social media rabbit hole!
For me, physical writing keeps me engaged.
See – squirrel. Getting back to where to access OneNote, I access it from:
These are the three primary devices that I have with me – at least one at any given time.
And since it’s tied to your Microsoft account, the notebooks sync between your devices.
But what if I want my notebooks in text and not handwriting, but I like to write?
What I’ve done before is:
- Take notes on iPad using my Apple Pencil
- Open the notebook on my computer
- Use the “lasso select” option under Draw to select the handwritten notes to convert
- Use the “ink to text” option to convert the handwritten notes into text
NOTE: It is better to make a copy first and then work in small sections at a time. The text doesn’t always convert correctly, and it can be helpful to be able to go back to your original notes to know what it should have said. Once you make a change on your computer, it is reflected in the other OneNote apps immediately.
Other cool features:
- If you do like to physically write, you can pick a paper view to make you feel like you are writing on an actual notepad.
- You can include pictures
- Audio files
Ways to use OneNote
#1 Organize calls/meetings
I average 10-15 coaching calls each week.
I have one notebook set up just for my calls.
Each section is a separate month, and each page is a different day.
Since this is just my note-taking and not where I’m storing my notes, I use one long page for that day’s calls. Then I transfer the entries into the CRM.
If OneNote is going to be your central client note location, then I would set it up a little different:
- Notebook – Coaching Calls
- Section – Broken down by client
- Page – Broken down by individual client calls by date
#2 Course Structure
If you are looking to create a course or training program, you could set up the structure as:
- Notebook – Course name/Training program
- Section – Individual Modules
- Pages – Individual lessons for each module
Additional sections could also be used to organize other course details and launch plans.
#3 Business Projects
OneNote would have been so helpful back when I was using separate notebooks to track various business projects.
You could set up the structure in a couple of different ways:
- Option 1 – all projects housed in one notebook
- Notebook – Projects
- Section – Individual Projects
- Pages – Meeting date notes, Action Items, etc
- Option 2 – Each project is set up as a separate notebook
- Notebook – Individual Projects
- Sections – Project categories: Milestones, Notes, etc
- Pages – each project category broken down
#4 Brainstorming sessions
Sometimes we need to do brainstorming sessions or a brain dump. Maybe you are looking to add a new service or product line. OneNote could be a great way to organize all those thoughts!
- Notebook – Brainstorming
- Sections – Topics/areas of brainstorming
- Pages – Separate sessions
#5 Blog Posts
If you are writing blog posts for your website, it can be tricky to keep it all organized.
- Notebook – Blog Posts
- Sections – Each Blog Post
- Pages – Page for Draft
- Page for Images
- Page for Lead Magnets
Another way you can organize blog posts is:
- Notebook – Individual Blog Categories
- Sections – individual Blog Sub-Categories
- Pages – Individual Blog Topics for each Sub-Category
#6 Tracking Purchased Training Programs
I’m guilty of purchasing training programs, getting started, then forgetting about them after a little bit. A way OneNote can be used is:
- Notebook – Training Program/Courses
- Sections – Individual Programs
- Pages – 1 Page for details –
- Purchase date
- Refund Policy
- Key dates/Info
- Pages for training notes for each module or lesson
Hopefully, this has helped give you an idea of what OneNote is and ways you can use it.
I’d love to hear how you use OneNote!