How many of you still use sticky notes? What about a notepad to organize notes and thoughts? What do you use to brainstorm ideas—a simple bulleted list? In this day and age there are plenty of tools that can help you organize your thoughts and priorities, which in turn will result in efficiency gains and better output. I've achieved significant productivity gains from a couple tools and I will share these with you below.
Let's start with notes. I still see a lot of people in meetings with notebooks scribbling down notes. I still see rainbow-coloured sticky notes attached to monitors like a flower and other people with them scattered all over walls and their desk, resembling a crime scene. I know everyone has their own way to organize notes but this can't be efficient!
For some time I've been using Evernote, which is a solid product due to its web, desktop, and mobile synchronization of notes. Most recently I've migrated to Microsoft OneNote 2013 as it offers the same synchronization capabilities but has that familiar Microsoft Office interface and integration. It also syncs up with SkyDrive and lives in the same place as your photos and documents, which creates a centralized source of business and personal information. Microsoft OneNote also has a great iOS app that is available in the app store if you're an iPhone user (same with Evernote).
What about brainstorming? Not everyone goes through this type of exercise on a daily or weekly basis but some do. Other than a whiteboard, what's an easy way to brainstorm and collaborate on ideas? Personally I use MindMeister due to it being a cloud-based product that also offers a mobile experience if needed. The platform allows you to save your MindMaps, share them with colleagues, and even export to PDF as required.
The tools mentioned above help you streamline your notes, your thoughts, and your priorities. This allows you to centralize your thoughts, your meeting notes, your takeaways, and create a next-action/to-do list within the same application. You can easily refer back to previous notes, thoughts, and meetings, to ensure you don't miss a critical piece of information. Whether it be a client-facing meeting, an idea, or an internal team meeting, leveraging some of the applications available today will make your business and personal life more productive.
Here's to an organized and productive 2013!