Meeting and Note-Taking: Recommended Apps

Evernote has been the dominant app for meeting and note-taking. It has a streamlined interface and interacts with other programs such as Microsoft Outlook. There are competitors to Evernote recognizing that everyone needs a place to track meeting notes, tasks, ideas, recommendations and other pieces of information. Below are some other recommended applications for note-taking.

Google Keep is a simple platform to iStock_000007485287_Smalltake notes. Google Keep integrates with a user’s Google platform and notes can sync with Google Drive. Users can make unlimited lists, add photos and graphics to notes and also color code notes. Although the functionality for Google Keep is fairly basic, knowing Google it probably will get enhancements in the coming year.

Microsoft OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office suite and an alternative to Evernote. OneNote was specifically designed as a meeting note application and does a great job of organizing meeting notes by type and date of meeting. The integration with Outlook is also a key feature as it allows users to import emails and tasks between the applications. OneNote has an app and notes can sync to mobile devices. However, attached files such as Word, Excel or email documents may not open depending on your platform. The free version of OneNote is limited to 500 notes, with unlimited use available for $4.99 via an in-app purchase.

SpringPad is a free app that allows users to save ideas, notes, project tasks, photos, products, checklists and recommendations. SpringPad has a very nice visual interface that provides photos and images to note topics. It works with multiple device platforms.

Task Management: Recommended Apps

task list 1Most productivity applications like Outlook, Gmail and Lotus Notes have task list capabilities within their programs. However, some users may not like the task functionality and/or want a cloud-based task tool that can be seen from any device. Below are a few new suggestions for task list applications. Also see a prior blog post from 2012 called “Recommended Task Management Apps”.

 

OmniFocus can track tasks by project, place, person or date. Tasks can be organized by goals or large projects and sub-tasks affiliated with them.

Wunderlist 2 lets users manage and share to-do lists. It includes features such as; reminders, recurring tasks, subtasks, and detailed notes. This cloud-based app does sync across all of your devices. This is a free app.

Clear is a task app that was designed to use gestures. For example, to create a new to-do list simply go to the main list overview page and touch and drag a list and a new task list will appear. Marking an item complete just takes a left-to-right swipe. Every list is color-coded to assign a bolder color to identify more priority items. To change priorities, simply drag an item to a new place in the list. To view a demo go to YouTube.

And if you want more options, check out this blog post “10 of the Best iPhone Apps for Creating To-Do Lists”.

Time Management: Recommended Apps

The following are some time management apps that can help workers manage, track and prioritize their time.

Prioritize: Priority Matrix centers on clock on deskproject lists. Once a project is set up then associated tasks are affiliated with the projects. The difference with this app is that you then must categorize each task into one of four quadrants based on Stephen Covey’s, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “urgent vs. important” model. The default quadrants are: critical and immediate, critical but not immediate, not critical but immediate, and not critical and not immediate. Priority Matrix provides this prioritizing structure that certain users might find useful to help them focus on the important vs. urgent task items.

Time Tracking: Harvest is a time tracking app that helps users determine how they are spending their time during the workday. It can track individual tasks, client billing or projects. If you use Harvest to track billable hours it has the ability to export a category of hours QuickBooks. It also has the ability to do reports and provide analysis of how and where users spend their time.

Task Integration to Calendar and Contacts: SmartTime integrates users daily tasks with their calendar and/or contacts on their iPhone. It also has the ability to email tasks with other SmartTime users.

Event Tracking: Last Time is an event tracking app that helps users remember the last time they did something. For example, when the last vacation was and what activities you did, or the last time you took your car in for maintenance or a tune-up. This app essentially acts as a recorder of events that you may need to recall in the future.

 Reaching Goals: Stickk is a platform designed for individuals to make a “commitment contract” with themselves to help achieve personal or professional goals such as exercising more, attaining a higher education or being a better email manager. This application was developed by a Yale University economist who developed the model through extensive field research on commitments and motivation.

 

Online Reading: Recommended Apps

iStock_000012816202MediumMany professionals want to stay on top of trends, research and new products and services for their industry. Often we don’t have time at the moment we receive the email to read every interesting article that comes through. The following are two online reading applications that essentially allow users to tag and save articles and web-pages for later viewing via multiple devices.

Pocket is an online reading app, that lets you tag articles and sites to read at a later. It auto syncs with all mobile devices so that users can tag an article on their computer, go to a meeting, and read it from their tablet or smartphone. This app is free.

Instapaper allows you to save Web pages for reading offline later including posts on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. This app also provides the ability to view on mobile devices and will optimize the content for best readability. The app costs $3.99.

Organizing Historical Files and Documents on the Shared Drive

When restructuring the shared drive network, it is likely that there will be a considerable number of historical documents that need to be kept and archived. Often, records that are considered permanent, such as financial and personnel records, must be retained by the organization. Other records, such as strategy and business plans, provide history and background to an organization.

Historical data can be identified with the following criteria:

  • The data does not need to be accessed again and are solely being retained for historical and archival purposes;
  • The data are closed, completed, and finished, such as with projects and initiatives that do not have to be accessible;
  • The data relates to old businesses, sold assets, and dissolved entities or departments that do not need to be accessible but may be required for historical purposes; and/ or
  • Former employee work files (not their personnel file) that have been reviewed do not have to be accessible any longer but are still important to keep if future access is needed.

Be cautious moving historical data onto external hard drives. Although external hard drives are plug and play devices, once data is moved to an external hard drive it becomes forgotten and less accessible to staff. The following are ways to manage historical files on a Shared Drive network. These options should be discussed with IT and management before implementing an option.

  • Integrate into the file structure: Within the file structure, data can be organized chronologically to archive historical data, as shown in the screenshot below.
  •  Create a “historical” file folder: A folder labeled Historical or Archive can be created in the first line of file folders. Within this folder a mirror image of the first line of folders (i.e., divisions of an organization) can be made. When documents become outdated for each division, they can be moved into the same topical folder in the historical folder. Or sub-files can be designed by year. As files and documents become outdated they can be moved into the appropriate historical year folder.

 

 

 

 

  • Archive them on a separate drive: Another option to manage historical data is to create a separate drive allocated on the server solely for archived and historical information. The structure can be designed in one of the options recommended above. Keeping the archived data on the server enables the data to be accessible quickly. It also will update files and documents automatically as software and operating systems are upgraded. Another option is to store historical and archive data on an external hard drive.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.