Read about the basics, on becoming more structured with OneNote and Getting Things Done (GTD), in my first article and download the OneNote Template I created and refer to in this article. In the article you will find links to all my “collect to OneNote” posts as well. If you find this article helpful, let me know on Twitter or as a comment. Check out my OneNote LifeHacks YouTube series
Your email inbox is someone elses agenda, take control and move emails with actions that takes more than 2 minutes to your collection section in OneNote
Collection is key
When succeeding with OneNote being structured with tasks and information, collecting the information and tasks in the same place is key. Everything you collect from email, meetings, workshops, thoughts, Pictures and everything else must go in to the collection tab in OneNote
Processing and collecting emails in Outlook
There are two ways to work with emails in Outlook
- Everything that takes two minutes or less you do right away
- Everything that takes more than two minutes you move to the Collection section in OneNote
All email elements that are processed including spam and information are moved to an archive folder to keep your inbox clean. This is how you get an empty inbox. That using you inbox as an archive and keeping interesting items as unread is a good approach is a myth. Process everything, and move them to the collection section in OneNote and process everything from there. If you want to read something later, tag it as someday maybe or move it to the mobile section. Do not leave it in your inbox.
Emptying you inbox helps free your mind, so that you know you do not have any urgent email you should have answered. If you are to use this system then you must schedule time to work on your OneNote tasks. I schedule time for two hours every monday and friday to process my tasks and plan my weeks. As you see in the picture, I also like to process my inbox every morning, that way I can answer all those 2 minute emails and process the rest
Why empty your Outlook inbox and move elements to OneNote? Because your inbox is not your finite folder for all you information, it is just your email inbox. Your email inbox is someone elses agenda, take control and move emails with actions that takes more than 2 minutes to your collection section in OneNote. The collection section is your finite list of tasks and a better chance to prioritize correct.
Can it be done in less than 2 minutes? Do it right away and move the email to archive
If you get a task in an email, move it to OneNote
Collecting meeting notes
I send all my meeting notes to the Meeting section in OneNote where I have notes from workshops, meetings and Skype for Business calls sorted by customer. It is a great way for taking notes and creating tasks right away and a good source material for followup emails and actions. You can also send your Skype meetings to OneNote, but then you lose the agenda, but you gain an updated attendee list
Sending a scheduled meeting from my calendar to OneNote
You can also send a Skype meeting to OneNote, will get a current attendee list
Use options in OneNote to select send-to section for Outlook and web
if you already have configured other OneNote sections or want to predefine where to send your emails and meetings, use options in OneNote
- Check out how I work with OneNote and GTD
- About OneNote, about GTD, about the Pomodoro Technique
2 thoughts on “How to process your #Outlook inbox and do calendar right with #OneNote”
Nice to see more IT-pro’s using Outlook/OneNote with their full potential. Keep up with these kinds of posts – I love GTD :). A tip: Instead of right-clicking an e-mail and choosing Move – check out Quicksteps. This will save you a few seconds when archiving an e-mail :) http://email.about.com/od/outlooktips/qt/How_to_File_Messages_with_One_Click_in_Outlook.htm
Thanks, great tip!