GTD & OneNote

July 17, 2006

I am a terrible procrastinator. On the recommendation of many geeks, I’ve been reading Getting Things Done.I’ve also been using the free OneNote 2007 Beta to attempt to organize my work. Many of the ideas discussed in GTD appear to fit within OneNote. For example, I’ve got separate notebooks entitled Personal, Work, Projects (personal, but separated out). Each section heading within the notebook is a different major project. Each page within represents an actionable subproject. For example, a project (section) entitled “Renovate house” would have subprojects (pages) “Redo kitchen” and “Redo bathroom”. On each page is a list of actions and other notes to accomplish this subproject. It all seems to fit OK. I desperately want OneNote to work because it has so many useful features.

There are some problems, however. The big thing so far is there’s no automatic way to archive a project. When I’m done with a project, I want to remove it from my current view but not delete it. Otherwise my notebooks will get cluttered with old projects. The solution for now is to create an explicit Archive section and move completed projects into that section. The problem is that searches will descend into the Archive folder when I only want to search Active projects. The second problem is that I can’t manually search for particular Note flags in the search box. I’d like to say “flag:buy grocery” to find all the items I need to buy from the grocery store. This search feature would be a poor man’s tagging system, which works quite well for many sorts of small, fragmented chunks of info. There must be a way to write extensions to OneNote. If so, there is still plenty of room for improvement. I’ll bet someone could make a fair bit of money selling a tagging system for OneNote.

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