I'm not by nature an organized person. The people who work with me are always shocked when I tell them that, because I routinely keep my desk clear of clutter and excess piles. Even though I'm disorganized by nature, I can't function when my desk is messy. It's a nasty paradox that is just part of the burden of living as me...

Because I'm not an organized person, I don't even do good at organizing my organizational systems. I currently have a filing system for Bible Study, a filing system for meeting notes, and a filing system for articles. That is okay, until I get a magazine article in a staff meeting, and then I'm toast. I could streamline those filing systems, but that would take organization and I'm not by nature an organized person. Did I mention that already?
Enter: My two new best friends. 

About a month ago, the student ministry guys turned me on to Microsoft OneNote. I don't know which rock I was sleeping under when people started using this, but it has made my life a billion times easier. 

OneNote performs the functions of Word, Excel, and several other programs, and interfaces with Outlook, Power Point, and your web browser. It allows you to type, file, and copy information just like Word, but files your information in a notebook form. You can have as many notebooks as you want, and it will automatically file them for you according to grouping. Now I have a "work" notebook with separate sections for personnel, meetings, and general stuff. Within each of those sections I have separate tabs for various things pertaining to that section. 

If I had had OneNote during seminary, it would have saved me hours. Set it up with a microphone, start recording in OneNote, and take notes in a folder for whichever class you're in. When you go back to look at your notes, and realize you wrote down an incomplete quote, just click on the note and it will playback the recording at the exact point you took the note. That's sick. Just download the free trial and give it a whirl... trust me. 

Best Friend #2 is Windows Search 4.0. Since sometimes my disorganized style gets the best of me, I misplace documents, emails, and calendar appointments I need to find. Windows Search lets me do a quick search of my computer using keyword to find exactly what I'm looking for. 

Windows Search works in a similar way to Google Desktop, but will search OneNote files. Google Desktop will not, and I didn't want to hurt the feelings of Best Friend #1. Both Windows Search and Google Desktop are free, so you're not costing yourself any money for this convenience. There is no excuse not to have it.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to go paperless in 2009. Because of my two new best friends, I'm well on my way. I'm scanning in old files, and not adding any new paper files to my disorganized system. Now, they're all at my fingertips. 

Try it... you'll like it. 


Mark Hancock said...

Thanks for the tips.

Grace and Peace,


The Kinley's said...

You're I think you're almost clinical. I've seen your office and I think it needs a weekly visit from JT to liven things up a bit....

you now realize you just set yourself up for losing the best excuse in the world...."I lost it!"