We often take notes at meetings or conferences, or while creating do lists and reminders, or while simply noting down our ideas and thoughts. But unfortunately, very few of us are able to convert these notes to actions. With the introduction of digital notes, we can easily convert our notes to actions that drive results. The ideas that I have shared in this article are based on Microsoft OneNote but many of such features are present in other digital note applications such as Evernote.
Figure 1: Get Results from Digital Notes
Record: Anything, Everything, Anywhere
Digital note taking is not just recording text like we do on our writing pads. We are free to capture information in different ways.
Figure 2: Ways to Record Digital Notes
Typing is the traditional way to record information in a digital notebook. By complementing text with audio visual elements such as pictures, videos, audio recordings, screenshots, and drawings, notes become more meaningful and also easy to understand in the future. Digital note apps can also embed files such as Word, Excel, PDF, etc. and insert related emails for future reference.
Digital notebooks are meant to be used anywhere and on multiple devices (phones, tablets, PC, and browsers). If the device is connected to the internet, the digital notebooks would consistently sync and ensure that your notes available on a real time basis across all devices and to everyone with whom you have shared the notebook.
Organise & Tag
Digital notebooks give the flexibility to organize the notes as we desire. We can create different notebooks for varied purposes. Each notebook can be divided into section groups, sections, pages and sub-pages. Sub-pages are a convenient way to split a long page. We may choose to move or copy the note to another notebook as required.
Figure 3: Illustration on organising a notebook
Tagging our notes is as important as recording the notes. Tags can create markers for us and for those with whom we collaborate. Notes can be tagged as important, urgent, for review, to do, etc. Tagging notes can reduce time to retrieve the information of a particular characteristic. Tags can also be used to highlight certain notes and initiate workflow.
Search: Retrieve when required
The search functionality helps us to find information when we need it. Just enter a search term in the search bar, and the app would identify all instances of that term instantaneously either from a single notebook or all notebooks at your discretion. We can enhance our ability to search if we import files including pictures and PDFs as searchable text. Notes hand written using stylus can also be converted to searchable text.
Figure 4: Search and Retrieve Information
Share and Collaborate
The best advantage of digital notes is the ability to share and collaborate. Sharing the notebook gives other team members the ability to co-author the contents on a real time basis. Take an instance where you and your colleagues attend a DFK conference and make notes in a single digital notebook. By doing so, all the information is recorded at one place where everyone can refer to. You may also share single pages with others such as clients by email.
Assign Tasks and Initiate Workflows
Often we make notes that serve as a reminder to assign work to someone else. We may choose to assign such tasks by creating an Outlook task directly from notebook. Consider the case where your subordinate makes some notes and subsequently creates an Outlook task from the notebook requesting for your review and inputs. An icon is inserted within the Outlook tasks that links the task directly to the section within the notebook. On completion of the review, you may create an additional Outlook task again directly from the notebook giving your comments and suggestions.
The digital notes have several advantages that can be used to enhance your note taking experience and bring better results.
Rahul Doshi – Managing Partner, CPA (USA), ACCA (UK), BSc Accounting and Finance
Rahul Doshi manages the overall firm leadership, strategic planning, growth and vision for the firm.
Rahul’s knowledge of the varied industries allows him to provide clients with strategic business advice to help meet their needs.
He has also formed a niche in accounting, audit, tax consulting, reporting, IT consultancy specific to ERP selection, business process documentation, system audit and business intelligence implementations. He has extensive experience with closely held organizations, partnerships and limited liability companies. He has also served the firm with services like financial statement analysis and understanding complex financial transactions for business decision-making. Investment, risk management and business succession planning are some of the field he has shared his knowledge.