How to process your #Outlook inbox and do calendar right with #OneNote

untitledRead 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

  1. Everything that takes two minutes or less you do right away
  2. 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

Outlook

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

LessThan2Minutes

If you get a task in an email, move it to OneNote

Send email 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

MeetingNotes2

You can also send a Skype meeting to OneNote, will get a current attendee list

SkypeNotes3

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

OneNoteOptions

 

References

 

How to create automatic lists from your custom tags in #OneNote

untitledRead 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

You can use “Find Tags” in OneNote to create lists from your custom tags where you can prioritize your next action!

I use custom tags in OneNote to prioritize and create my todo lists

After sending tasks and information to my collection section in OneNote I need to process all the information and create actions. I do that by assigning custom tags to actions and move them to the correct section in OneNote such as Current, Mobile, SomedayMaybe or if it is more static information I move it to the reference section.

OneNote3

Why OneNote tags? They get synced on all my platforms and operating systems for PC and mobile. If I complete a task and mark it as completed on my OneNote mobile, it is completed on all other platforms. You can even sync to Outlook for those tasks with a time limit, and completing in Outlook, completes the task in OneNote. That is the awesomeness with OneNote tags

Customs tags I use and how I process my collections section

  • TODO Tasks – all regular tasks that needs to get done
  • TODO Events – all tasks connected to all the events I am doing like classes, webinars and so on
  • Waiting for Response – all the tasks I have delegated and need to circle back to for checking status
  • TODO When Time Permits – All the tasks that I think I someday do I mark in this category and move it to SomedayMaybe
  • Stuff I can consume on a mobile device like a YouTube video, article or book I would like to read at a later time. This way I always have something to do when I only have my mobile with me. Gets moved to the mobile section, will not get assigned a task, unless it is important.
  • MeetingNotes and workshops – Gets moved to the MeetingNotes Section under the correct project and actions are assigned the proper toodo task. For larger projects I create custom todo tags to keep them in order
  • Typical static data and information gets moved to the references sections
    • This is typical content that is something I like to come back to repeatedly, like alle the webservices I consume like my favorite webshop or picture library that we use, articles I am working on, Notes from the field when implementing technology, Speaker abstracts and evaluation. This way I have it readily available when I need it. Custom tasks I use in this category are
    • TODO blog – for blog posts I may write
    • TODO SocialMedia – Social media activity I should do
  • TODO Home – Tasks I do at home like home improvement, vacations notes and stuff like that

How to create a custom tag

Custom tag

How to add an existing custom tag to a newly installed OneNote

When you start out with a new computer and you open your existing GTD OneNote, your custom tags are not present. Just right-click and add them in order to get them in your list

Add existing custom tags

How to create list of all your tags using “find tags”

Here is the magic: You can use “Find Tags” in OneNote to create lists from your custom tags where you can prioritize your next action! This is the list I use when I need to find all my tasks, prioritize them and find the most important task to do. Since this is a finite list with all my actions, I know that the task I am working on is the most important task. I can also use the list to plan my week. Most important of all, you need to schedule time to work with your task list. Remember to delete the page that gets created with the tasks when you crate a new find tags page, if you don’t you will get a double set of tasks.

OneNotefindtask

Thanks to the OneNote Education team to create a customer picture and tweet about about my article, always an honor

References