My OneNote Persona: 'Piler'
I am writing this using a free trial of OneNote I installed on my home computer. Last week I chimed in that that you can try OneNote online. The free trial is better. OneNote is the kind of application you want to dive into. Dipping a toe doesn't give you a real feel for it. I also got some mail asking for more detail on how I use OneNote. The goal of 'Low Overhead' really hit a chord. I may mention that in another blog entry. However, I would suggest checking out Chris Pratley's blog and the Channel 9 video of Chris and Owen Braun, for great information about OneNote.
Given the definitions from "Setting up your OneNote notebook", I am a 'piler' who uses search, and never categorizes. I want to be able to track everything I do with the lowest possible overhead.
One tip I picked up from the video is the use of note flags. Note flags are added by hitting CTRL-number or from a submenu off the context menu. CTRL-1 is for a TODO marker. The powerful part is I can customize the note flags. This will let me improve browsing my notes without forcing me to place things into categories. I don't want to move a note into a category, and I don't want to find the right category when I write the note. I just want to jot it down on the top of the pile.
Rather than categorizing things, I want to attribute them. What's the difference? Categories imply containment. You move things from one category to another. For me categories are an inflexible hierarchy placed on my notes. Attributes do not imply a hierarchy or containment. I can mark something with multiple note flags (attributes) and later I can browse by those sorted in any number of interesting ways. You can also easily make a summary page based on note flags.
I suspect I want note flags for 'Bug ID', 'changelist', and 'email alias'. One possible concern is that I could run up against the maximum number of note flag types. I am ignoring that concern. My goal is low overhead. If I make more than 25 types of note flags, I will have failed at 'low overhead'. I have no idea if using this new found mechanism will be successful for me or not, but I'm excited to try it out.