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  • OneNote and GTD

    Is anyone using OneNote as the core for their GTD management? It seems like it should work almost perfectly, particularly because of the flags and flag summary features-- but I'm still having a hard time with the details.

    Should I create sections (or pages in a section) for the contexts or only use flags? If I only use flags, how do I deal with one-off items that don't belong to a project?

    And how do I deal with "later" Next Actions, such as steps 2-5 of a 5-step project? If I mark them all with context flags, then they *all* show up in the review. If I mark just one, I guess I need to manually mark the new Next Action after finishing the first?

  • #2
    One Note sounded flat for me

    Originally posted by fncll
    Is anyone using OneNote as the core for their GTD management? It seems like it should work almost perfectly, particularly because of the flags and flag summary features-- but I'm still having a hard time with the details.
    I tried to use One Note for its intended purpose of collecting and organizing disparate information.. and failed. Too much thinking was requred to set it up and use it. It's much easier to use folders and subfolders on my computer to organize information than to use One Note.

    I can only imagine the trouble you must be having trying to use it for GTD. Allthough the flags and other stuff might be useable for managing a project, it just doesn't have the simplicity and speed I need . Ditto for the commands that turn One Note stuff into Outlook tasks et cetera. Too slow, and what's the point of leaving scattered bits of tasks lying around in multiple places. My advice: unless you are much better at GTD and at process creation than I am, give One Note up.

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    • #3
      I'll keep that in mind

      I've become pretty adept with OneNote for data gathering (for me, at least, it's far superior to just sticking things in files), it's the structure for GTD tasks I'm thinking about. I find it pretty easy to use-- but so far I'm not doing task management. You might be right.

      Then again, I'm always counseling people to give up Outlook (hate it, hate it, will never use it again), so your mileage may vary

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      • #4
        Found this...

        I use OneNote for a ton of stuff and there's no structure to my notes so I use the search function for everything. It's a great program for information packrats and it allows me not be organized (which comes so easily for me).

        In my quest for finding the perfect trusted GTD system that I could use, I did come across this yesterday:

        http://studenttabletpc.blogs.com/the...e_organiz.html

        Not sure if this will help or hurt you. <grin> I didn't try it yet, not sure if I will so I don't have an opinion.

        You can also read what Microsoft has to say about OneNote and GTD here:

        http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/as...436401033.aspx

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        • #5
          OneNote and GTD

          I have used OneNote for information organization and gathering purposes. I do not think it is well-suited towards GTD - I think there are a lot better software solutions since while you could probably use the flags, etc. to tag items and pull them up, it seems like it would be an awful lot of effort, especially to review and keep it current.

          Steve

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          • #6
            I've been using Onenote as my GTD system (and for other purposes) for about half a year now, and I'm very satisfied (esp. when I'm actually doing the weekly review, but that's of course a struggle no matter which system I use).

            fncll - I wonder whether the questions you raise are specific challenges with applying GTD into Onenote, or general questions, which exists in every kind of system.

            This is the way I deal with the issues you raised:

            1.I'm extensively using flags. When I have only one next action, not a project, I mark it with a NA flag, just the same as I mark any NA within a project.

            2. "Later" NA's - if those are consecutive ones I only mark the first one, and after I complete it, I take a look at the whole project (or, during my weekly review).

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            • #7
              One Note and GTD

              Just thought I'd add to this by explaining how I am working with GTD and One Note. Although I'm still new to GTD - I've found One note to handle things remarkably well.

              I keep most of my NA items in a "tickler" type organization. I flag items a Next Action (NA), Next Next Action (NNA), or Waiting For (WF), and place them in the next days' folder. I sort of bring forward all outstanding items to the following day if I havn't gotten to them. If I know I'll be waiting a week for something, I might push it ahead to that date, or the day before I expect to refer to it.

              Once an action item is complete - I'll delete it if I don't need to refer to it as reference material, or I'll stick it into my Reference, Project reference organization - which is just a linear group of sections with every active folder.

              I extensively use flags - and One Note's "Note Flag Summary" feature to get a broad view of NA items for a given day, month, all. I plan on posting my version of how to set this up on my blog site - but that's one of my "Someday/Maybe" items.

              I look forward to hearing more about other strategies!

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              • #8
                I'm finding OneNote the best thing I've tried so far. Once I caught on to the Page List and the Flag Summary, things went much more smoothly.

                My main dilemna, regardless of platform, is heirarchical vs database thinking.That was the thing I kept tripping over when I first implemented GTD, and I still find myself sucked back into it now and then.

                I started shifting my, ahem, paradigm when I started using a database program to keep track of my bookmarks (favorites) years ago. Things weren't in linear order! For someone who starting using PCs with DOS, this was a little unnerving, even for a change-lover like me. Now, though, with Gmail and many other popular programs using this obviously more powerful way of managing things (labels), I'm sold. I still outline project steps, etc., but that's about as much as a brain ought to have to do by itself these days. Our days, our lives, our selves aren't as linear as they were years ago. IMHO that's why GTD was born.

                When I get nervous and need to see things in concrete format, I print it out. Moving info back and forth between OneNote and other apps in the MS Office Suite will only get easier.

                I too hate hate hate Outlook, primarily for the security risk it poses and the enormous overhead it requires. OneNote works just fine with Thunderbird. CtrlC CtrlV is copy and paste almost anywhere in the Wintel empire.

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                • #9
                  OneNote, Outlook and ?????????

                  I am old newbie to GTD, ie old in years (nearer 60 than 50) new to GTD, which shows how long some people have been searching for a pragmatic solution to personal productivity! So this my first post.

                  I wanted to find out more about using OneNote which I've been using for nearly two years.

                  So far with GTD, I'm happy with using Outlook Tasks and am impressed with that improved feeling of control. If I have an EMAIL item in @ONLINE (I'm on assignment in Central America, don't have 24/7 connection, nor can I use my Outlook to retrieve and send email - thanks, Google!)

                  I'm not so sure of Outlook Notes, that's why I wanted to see what other members though of OneNote. As I now have a Tablet notebook, I see OneNote as the place to make all the meeting notes etc, then sift/process and copy to Outlook as required (Note: I had the Add-Ons for OneNote and Outlook, caused problems, stopped using them).

                  Question: anyone heard if MS is going to link oneNote and the Pocket PC?

                  But my REAL Question now is: what other alternatives to Outlook are the "hate, hate, hate" brigade using? Bear in mind I'm a one-man show, so don't have access to large corporate solutions! Tried PocoMail once, quite liked it, but not sure how it's doing now.

                  Cheers,

                  Kibo Kid

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kibo Kid
                    But my REAL Question now is: what other alternatives to Outlook are the "hate, hate, hate" brigade using? Bear in mind I'm a one-man show, so don't have access to large corporate solutions! Tried PocoMail once, quite liked it, but not sure how it's doing now.
                    I don't know much about OneNote or Outlook, but if it's email you're asking about, I've been using Gmail and liking it more and more all the time.

                    Just like Nikita described above, it required a major paradigm leap from my old hierarchical filing habits, which I had worked so hard to develop in the first place. But it's hard to beat indexing every word of your emails when it comes to finding one! I've tested the search: it is so great, I barely even need to add my own labels. I add them only when the subject line and body of the email don't include the obvious words I would think of when searching later.

                    Plenty of storage. I actually use Gmail to store some files so that I can access them from anywhere with an internet connection, yet not make them world-available on my own website. And it's fast.

                    Gmail also has nice interface features: the way it displays conversations and quoted text, color-codes senders, and hides blocks of likely-useless quoted text are all great. It also has keyboard shortcuts.

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                    • #11
                      Use OneNote 2007

                      OneNote 2007 is a great tool for GTD. It's a lot better than the original version. I explain my set up on my blog www.blog.7breaths.co.uk

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                      • #12
                        Here's a recent article that was published at GTDTimes.com on using OneNote to manage large amounts of PSM (Project Support Material).

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                        • #13
                          Here's the article on GTDTimes

                          http://www.gtdtimes.com/2010/01/07/gtd-onenote/

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