Note Taking

Whether it's at the office during an important client conference call, at home or in the supermarket, we have to jot down different types of notes and information on a routine basis. From someone's contact number to a snippet of a technical article for a work project, it could be anything. Sometimes the information to be noted down isn't even textual, but visual (e.g. a photo of an advertising flyer of interest).

This is where note-taking apps come into play. These handy apps let you keep note of everything from texts to voice memos, all with your smartphone. But with hundreds of note-taking apps available, it can be difficult to pick the right one.

Features of a Good Note Taking app

Here is a list of features to look for when checking out note taking apps:

  • A good note-taking app should be fast and easy to navigate.
  • It should sync your notes across multiple devices quickly and accurately.
  • It should be available no matter what computing platform you use now or might switch to in the future.
  • It should have lightning-fast search across all of your notes.
  • It shouldn’t be bogged down with too many confusing features — but it also can’t be so bare-bones that it won’t meet your needs.
  • It should protect the security and privacy of your notes.
  • It should also be inexpensive with low monthly fee, or even free.

Note Taking Apps

Evernote
With its ability to capture a wide range of digital information and exceptional organizational features, Evernote is unquestionably the best note-taking app out there.

Evernote lets you take notes in a variety of formats, including text, pictures, audio and video recordings, annotated Web page clippings and more. These notes can be organized into virtual notebooks and managed using tools such as tags and shortcuts. Evernote's Web clipper browser extension lets you save Web pages with one click and annotate them with highlights and visual callouts. Using your smartphone's camera, the app can scan and digitize everything from documents to business cards in a snap.

Evernote has a long list of features, but many of the more advanced features—particularly the features that are useful to businesses—are locked behind one of two subscription tiers, one designed for individual use and the other for the enterprise.

Evernote is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It stores notes, lists, and other work in the cloud, giving you access to all of them no matter what kind of computer you're using—you can even access Evernote via an internet browser on systems that don't have the app installed.

OneNote
Microsoft's productivity solutions are highly regarded as the best in the business, and OneNote is no exception. Being a free-form information gathering app, OneNote lets you capture just about everything and place it anywhere on a flexible digital canvas. You can type, write by hand (using a stylus), clip Web pages and even scan handwritten notes or pages.

The app uses virtual notebooks for organizing content and has a design similar to a physical three-ring binder. You can have separate color-coded sections for adding different types of notes, and each section can have multiple pages.

Since it's a part of Microsoft's Office suite, OneNote works well with applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The app is available across all major platforms such as iOS and Android.

iOS: Apple Notes
If you use an iPhone and/or an iPad, you don't even need to look for a third-party app. Apple's own Notes app, which comes included into iOS, is more than enough for all your note-taking needs. From long-form textual notes to to-do lists, Apple Notes lets you jot down everything. You can also add Web links, scanned documents and sketches to notes. Like Android OS, you can also use a virtual digital assistant, named Siri, to create a new note and dictate its content. The app's camera functionality makes it easy to quickly add photos to notes, and you can also scan paper documents to digitize them into notes.

Android: Google Keep App
Google Keep is one of best first-party note-taking app for Android from Google, the company that developed Android OS. From textual information to photos, Google Keep makes it easy to jot down anything. You can even record a voice memo on the go, and the app will transcribe it automatically. The notes are organized as digital sticky notes, and each note can be assigned a different color for easier visual identification. You can add individual reminders to each note, plus information such as date, time and place when you want to be reminded.

Activity - Clip a Job Advert for your Ideal Job from a Recruitment Website

  1. Download and install Evernote using the following link :-

https://evernote.com/download/

  1. Signup for a free Evernote account.
  2. Create the following Notebook structure within Evernote for storing clipped job adverts and other job-related items.

Job Search
01 – Jobs to Consider
05 – Jobs to Aim For in the Future
10 – Jobs to Apply For Now
15 – Job Apps Submitted
Job Advice
Job Cover Letters
Job News

  1. Start the Firefox or Chrome browser and install the Evernote Web Clipper Add-on.
  2. Open the website www.irishjobs.ie and search for a job which interests you.
  3. Clip a job that meets your requirements into the appropriate notebook above depending on how you would classify it.

--- End of Activity ---

Related Tutorials

Managing Your Schedule with Google Calendar

Many people have a difficult time with time management skills, but there are quick and easy ways that you can help yourself to schedule and manage your time in a more effective manner. One great idea that works well for many people is entering a weekly schedule of events into a calendar.

One of the most important tools in managing your day to day schedule is to use an online calendar. Google Calendar is a very popular one as you can access it from any web enabled device and you can also sync your appointments with a tablet or smartphone.

What should you put on your calendar?

The following items are ideal for including on a calendar so that someone has greater control over events occurring in their everyday lives :-

  • Appointments (dentist, classes, dinner with friends, meetings, etc).
  • Deadlines (handing in report, filing taxes, etc).
  • Events (pay day, birthdays, holidays etc).
  • Time sensitive errands (buying something in a sale before closing time).
  • Focus time like Study of a Course (when no one can disturb you).

Entering items above on your calendar will help to keep you more organised as well as hold you accountable for your time. Only definite items which you want to schedule for the days and weeks ahead should be added to your calendar. So you will then have a sense of commitment to carry them out at the specified time.

Tasks with a due date are probably better kept in Task Management software like Toodledo or Taskcoach rather than on a calendar where they can be marked as completed as they are worked on. So for a particular project like – ‘Redecorate the Living Room’, it can be entered in calendar as a block of time, but the individual tasks that need to be done are better listed in a Task Management app.

Google Calendar main Features

The key features of Google Calendar, that are presented below, are the features that most new users would be interested in using. They have been selected from the Google Calendar Help section.

Screenshot 1 – Select Week View

Calendar views

As you can see on Screenshot 1 above, the Week View is about to be selected from Calendar View options (in top right position of main calendar screen) which results in the Week View being displayed as shown in Screenshot 2 below. Notice also the other Calendar Views available like the Schedule View shown in Screenshot 3 below.

Screenshot 2 – Week View

Screenshot 3 – Schedule View - also an option from Calendar View options

Create an Event

Here is a list of 3 ways of Creating an Event or Reminder:

  1. Click on an empty timeslot on your calendar
  2. Click the Create button
  3. Use keyboard shortcut: Shift C

Click on this link for further details: Google Calendar Help for Creating an Event

The most common method is to click a timeslot on your calendar as shown below:

Screenshot 4 – Timeslot for Friday at 21:30 was clicked while in Week View

If you decide shortly afterwards that you need to edit the event that you just created, click on the event to display the pop-up window and then click on the Edit icon as shown on screenshot 5.

Screenshot 5 – Click on Edit Event icon

When I created this Calendar Event, I also entered the Event Location on the Title line as it saved having to add it later as shown below. But the downside of this quick approach is that the Event Location would not be available to use within Google Maps on a mobile phone to navigate to your destination.

Screenshot 6a – Edit Event screen showing Event Location and Calendar setting

So the best approach is to insert the Event Location including post code into the Location box (Note: Full address can be selected from search results when Event Location is input as shown in Screenshot 6b).

Screenshot 6b – Search results displayed when entering Event Location

As well as entering the Event Location, I also changed the Calendar for the event to ‘Entertainment’, so that it was more suitable for this type of event.

To create recurring èvents, see article: Google Calendar Help – Create Recurring Event

Creating Calendars for Family, Business, Leisure, Exercise etc

Screenshot 8: Select ‘Create new calendar’ option as shown above

Screenshot 9: Enter Calendar name and then click ‘Create calendar’ button

To edit the calendar, select ‘settings and sharing’ option as shown in screenshot 10 below.

Screenshot 10: Selecting ‘Settings and sharing’ option on main calendar screen

The screen below is displayed when ‘Settings and sharing’ option above is selected.

Screenshot 11: Settings on the left side of screen can be viewed and changed

Calendar Sharing

Here are the main ways you can share your calendar with family, friends, and co-workers.

  1. Share your main calendar with someone so they can see your schedule.
  2. Create a calendar that multiple people can edit, like a family calendar.
  3. Add someone as a delegate of your calendar to schedule and edit events.

This article only covers option 1 above.

Navigate to Screenshot 11 as shown above, and click on Share with specific people

Screenshot 12: Share with specific people has been selected from side options

To share with individuals: Under ‘Share with specific people’, add the email address of the person you want to share with by clicking + Add people.

Screenshot 12a: Select sharing permissions

Permissions Settings should be set depending how well you know the person you are sharing your calendar with. So if you are sharing with a work colleague you may set it to ‘See only free/busy’ while if they are a friend you may set it to ‘See all event details’

Related Tutorials

Task Management Basics

To-do lists are essential to good time-management practice. They provide a guideline for what items are to be completed within a given amount of time. You may want to create a list weekly or daily. Either way, to-do lists help you remember what you need to do.

Completing a list each day can help you see how much you have got done. Place a mark next to high-priority items so you know at a glance what you should devote your time to first.

Prioritise Tasks

In order to prioritise tasks, you have to clearly set a Priority Category for each one. For example, how do you categorise something you have to do today to make it stand out from something that must be done by next week? The first step is to come up with categories to help you decide what tasks should be done first. Your categories might look something like this:

  1. Absolutely Urgent: These must be done right away or by a deadline and are important to your job, your family, or to you personally.
  2. Urgent: These are important to you, your family, or your job, but don’t have a deadline.
  3. Chores: These are things you don’t necessarily want to do but have to do anyway.
  4. Maybe: These are things you would like to do, but they aren’t especially important and it doesn’t matter if you do them today, tomorrow, or next week.
  5. Dreams, Wishes, and Ideas: These are things you might like to do but have no immediate importance in your life.

Using categories such as these may be confusing at first, but, as you continue to work with them, you will start automatically assigning categories as soon as you receive a task. Once you do that, you can figure out when something should be done and whether you need to give immediate attention to it or whether it can wait.

Just as important as categorising your tasks, is finding a way for you to manage the list. Task lists are ever changing and evolving. New tasks are added, some tasks are completed and others are no longer important for now.

Time management is all about focus and consistency. Put these basic skills into practice every day and you will see that managing your time will get easier and easier.

What to Look for in a Task Management App

Here are a few features to look for in a good to-do list:

  • You have to like the way it looks as it is easier to get stuff done if you like the look and how well-designed it is.
  • A to-do app should give you a range of tools for organising your tasks e.g separate work tasks from personal tasks using categories or view those due by a certain deadline and which ones are overdue.
  • You should be able to rearrange the order of tasks quickly and easily and schedule reminders so that a notification is displayed shortly before you need to do task.
  • It can be useful to have the option to make lists collaborative – e.g if you run a household, you would like to be able to assign tasks to other people and perhaps the same people might want to assign tasks to you too – in a democratic household that is!
  • It should include offline functionality and an export feature so you can switch over to another app if you decide to.

Why Use a To-Do List App Instead of a Notebook?

  • To-do apps have built-in reminders which ensure a task is done on time.
  • Digital lists are easier to edit than paper ones, so you can adjust your priorities and clarify your tasks as needed.
  • You can't lose a digital list that's saved to the cloud. If you're not a naturally organized person, this may be a key benefit.
  • Different views in a to-do app let you see only tasks that are relevant at the moment.
  • To-do list apps can be collaborative so you can assign tasks to other people and get notified when they complete them.
  • You can choose a to-do list app with features that motivate you, whether it's a beautiful design or is available on all devices like desttop, tablet and smartphone.

Task Management Apps

There is an enormous number of to-do list apps. You could spend days’ exploring all the task management apps that show up in an internet search.

Here are some of the most popular:

Todoist
Available on many platforms. Clean, simple interface. Neat productivity charts with Premium account. Good task classification tools. Collaboration supported. Location-based reminders. Offline functionality.

Any.do
Unique daily review feature. Location-based reminders and collaboration features. Decent sharing capabilities for free members. Any.do is a useful and well-designed to-do app, though the free version is a bit limited. Its standout feature is the Any.do Moment, which encourages you to review your daily task list before committing to it.

Asana
Flexible, fast, and modern design. Capable free version. Feature-rich. New Timeline view makes it easier to manage dependencies. Although it may be confusing at first, its flexibility and vast capabilities are well worth the initial effort it takes to get started.

Toodledo
Strong feature set. Includes some features for GTD followers. Treats notes, habits, lists, and outlines as separate from tasks. Toodledo has a long list of features but it takes a while to get the app to work the way you want.

A few other apps that are great in certain circumstances are Google Tasks (for integrating with G Suite apps), Microsoft To-Do (if you use Microsoft Office or Windows 10), and Omnifocus (for those who add a lot of detail to their tasks).

There are so many others, however. If none of these strike your fancy, ask your friends (particularly your organized ones) what they use. Try a few and pick one you like and that backs up your information to the cloud so you never lose anything.

Activity - Organise and Prioritise Sample Tasks in Toodledo

In this Activity, you will import a file of sample tasks into Toodledo and then go on to organise and prioritise them according to the instructions below.

  1. Create a free account in Toodledo at: www.toodledo.com
  2. Download the file Toodledo Sample Tasks.csv from the following folder into your Windows documents folder or downloads folder…

PC Tutor Activity Files

In Toodledo, select the import / export / backup option from the Account menu and import the above file by following the instructions.

  1. Add the following Folders by selecting the Organise/Folders option from Account menu :-
    Admin
    Finance
    Shopping
    Study
    Holidays
    Home
    Leisure
    Misc
    Work
  1. Categorise all the tasks into the most appropriate folder and then change sort order to Folder/Due Date/Alphabetical
  2. Now that the tasks have been added to Folders, the next step is to set the Due Date, Repeat and Priority where necessary.

So for task Check Tax on PAYE Online, set Due Date to January 1st, Repeat Yearly and High Priority

Review all other tasks and decide which ones should have a Due Date, Repeat and Priority set.

--- End of Activity ---

 

Related Tutorials

Note Taking


Note Taking

Note Taking
Whether it’s at the office during an important client conference call, at home or in the supermarket, we have to jot down different types of notes and information on a routine basis. From someone’s contact number to a snippet of a technical article for a work project, it could be anything. Sometimes the information to be noted down isn’t even textual, but visual (e.g. a photo of an advertising flyer of interest). This is where note-taking apps come into play. These ...

Calendar


Calendar

Managing Your Schedule with Google Calendar
Many people have a difficult time with time management skills, but there are quick and easy ways that you can help yourself to schedule and manage your time in a more effective manner. One great idea that works well for many people is entering a weekly schedule of events into a calendar. One of the most important tools in managing your day to day schedule is to use an online calendar. Google Calendar is a very popular one as you can ...

Task Management


Task Management

Task Management Basics
To-do lists are essential to good time-management practice. They provide a guideline for what items are to be completed within a given amount of time. You may want to create a list weekly or daily. Either way, to-do lists help you remember what you need to do. Completing a list each day can help you see how much you have got done. Place a mark next to high-priority items so you know at a glance what you should devote your time ...