How TeamTP Uses OneNote to Stay Informed

Seeing the Back-to-School commercials in the U.S. takes me back to my love of notetaking and the stacks of notebooks with valuable research and doodles that would pile up on my filing cabinet.  In my role as Head of Research and Insight at TutorPro, notetaking is a large part of my day. Today I keep my notes in Microsoft OneNote.  Not to sound too much like a commercial, OneNote allows me to have access to my notes from anywhere at any time and on any mobile device whenever I need them.

With the pace of change and fast flow of information, I have workflows and procedures to make it easier to filter and share with the rest of TeamTP.   I thought that sharing how we leverage OneNote to stay up-to-date might help you manage your own notetaking or make it easier for you to curate and share with your team.

Getting Started

OneNote is a digital notebook and within the app you can create multiple notebooks.  Within notebooks, you add sections to organize your content, add pages to sections and notes to pages.  Before I start collecting information, I think about how I plan to use the information.  Is the notebook for me to gather ideas, collect research or draft blog posts?  Will the notebook be a collaboration platform to work and share with others?

In the research notebook that I share with my team mates, I tried to imagine how they would use the notebook and use section titles that were meaningful to them.  In this particular notebook, because I knew we would be collecting a lot of data and needed a lot of sections, I used Section Groups as virtual dividers to make it easier to navigate to the right information.

Our notebook starts with a page that includes tips on how to move around. I love that I was able to embed help within the notebook itself.  We have a Graffiti Wall section where we can drop our ideas, doodles, mindmaps and even leave audio recordings that reflect our brilliant thoughts.  Because there are days when we are moving fast but awesome information falls into our path, we even have a Drop Off section to collect items until we have time to tag, summarize and organize them.

OneNote Section Tabs

Staying Organized

There are too many ways to add information to your OneNote notebooks to list here. Generally, you can type directly onto the page, use Ink to handwrite or doodle and even include audio or video.  I usually copy and paste from the internet.   When I do, OneNote drops in the original source link automatically.  I can easily go back to the original source for additional research and can properly attribute where the information originated.

Because finding information later is always a challenge, whenever I add new information I take time to add tags to paragraphs in the notes and summaries of the data.  OneNote includes a list of predefined tags, but you can create your own custom tags.  I’ve kicked it up a notch and created a special “Tags” tag that I use before a list of keywords to make it easier to find trends in notes.  The Summary tag is another custom tag that I use before a note that summarizes the content that follows.  To keep my team updated, I use the Find Tags feature to create a hyperlinked summary page that makes it easy to jump directly to the information they need.

OneNote Tags

My job is to make it easier for my team to find information so I go the extra mile to surface up information for them.  But if you want to use OneNote for your own personal notebook, OneNote’s Search is very powerful.  You can search notes, text within images, audio or video files and depending on which version of OneNote, you can even search handwritten notes.  OneNote gives you control to narrow your search scope from All Notebooks to finding content on the current page and it recognizes common search parameters like And, Or and Near.  That’s so much easier than searching in those stacks of notebooks on my file cabinet.

OneNote keeps me organized and my team mates appreciate that I’m not spamming their inboxes with all the information we use to innovate our client family.

About the author: Tami Schiller

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  1. MIcki - 08/01/2016

    Thanks Tami for this! I love OneNote and have used it since it’s early days. I’m seeing a momentum here at the Firm of attorney’s latching on and using it more. Especially for litigation work as they can keep everything in one spot and have their teams share and work real-time.

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