As this site proclaims, the goal of any communicator is to turn noise into harmony.
It’s a challenge I face daily (like millions of others). The problem is information overload – hundreds of emails, projects, conversations, meeting notes. I try to stem the flow. I sort. I file. I write in notebooks, journals, on the backs of envelopes. But as the paper maelstrom in my office attests, I’m not the most organised. So it’s a never ending battle. And one which I’ve been losing.
Or I was.
I’m no Microsoft publicist. I’m not even a Microsoft apologist. In fact, I think some of their products were developed by Torquemada. But in the interests of business harmony, I write to commend their best-kept secret.
Buried in the depths of the standard Office package, unloved and unpublicised, lies a remarkable little programme that has transformed my working life. OneNote.
OneNote is a digital notebook. It lets you pan the useful nuggets from the daily deluge of data and store them. Emails, documents, pictures, web sites, clippings. You can jot down notes. You can make recordings. The programme will OCR your handwriting. It even lets you collaborate with shared notebooks.
For me it’s the killer app. For the first time in years, I control my information, rather than the other way round.
In fact, OneNote is the one thing that is keeping me in the Microsoft hegemony, resistant to the seductions of Apple or Android. And once a decent Windows tablet comes out - one that lets you write with a stylus not jab with your finger – I’ll be in seventh heaven.
Microsoft’s failure to capitalise on this secret-weapon is both baffling and I suspect indicative of why the company's now on the back foot to competitors. But that’s their problem, not mine. My problem’s on the way to being solved.
From the chaos of my in-tray, there is now a modicum of order. From noise comes harmony. From Hindemith to Haydn in the click of a mouse.
Now I just need to tidy my office.