Productive Action Recording : OneNote and Lotus Notes

As many regular readers will be aware I’m now a tablet PC junkie.  My main meeting note tool is now OneNote.  In most meetings there will be actions, either for me personally or my team.  Here is how I record my meeting notes and actions.

Take copious notes

I try to take a lot of notes during a meeting.  I always use 2 screens, one for slides / web meeting spaces etc. and the second is my tablet in writing mode.  I always create new notes in the unfiled notes area of OneNote.  The only information I type will be a title, the attendees and some keywords (so that search will be effective), so here for example is the start of a meeting between myself and a new team member earlier this week:


Recording Actions

The next thing to consider is how to record actions, both for myself and for others.  For this I right click and circle the action, then click the to-do icon in OneNote.  Giving this effect:


Migrating actions to Lotus Notes

Now I have a reference point for all actions and all meeting notes in one place, unfiled.  Next I need to file my meeting notes and collect my actions to my single task collection bucket, in my case this is To Do lists in Lotus Notes.


In OneNote I have a NoteBook for each month and then a folder for each day.  As I go through my unfiled meeting notes I scan them for actions.  Any actions which are unchecked I can read and then quickly enter into Notes to-do.  Those with Outlook will find this happens automatically, although I’ve never tested whether it migrates my handwritten notes across to Outlook so it may be that the mail client isn’t a differential in the way I work here.

Once in a to-do Item I check the action as complete in OneNote and move the meeting Notes into the appropriate day / month.  This method of working allows me to record an immense amount of reference information from meetings and effectively manage tasks and actions both for me and others.

I’d love an API which grabs my tasks in OneNote and auto-populates them into Notes reading my handwriting and placing that into the todo name.  I can but dream, for now I haven’t found one. 


Other nice tools in OneNote

Audio recording is great.  Brilliant for conferences…I do need to invest in a USB microphone though as the X60 tablet microphone picks up my pen movement as I scribble notes.  I haven’t played with Audio/Video recording but that could be very useful also.


The other thing I like in OneNote is the ability to use a range of tags.  So I can log questions for a speaker to raise at the end, log items which I will blog about.

Closing thoughts

How do you use OneNote?  Do you use somthing else?  How do you manage the collection of your tasks?  I’d be interested to learn via comments or posts on your blogs.


  1. Pingback: Being organised
  2. Hi Stu,

    Have you ever found a tool that synchronizes the OneNote tasks into Lotus Notes to-do? Would really love that capability as well.



  3. I use oneNote religiously for all my meetings, however, I have a bit different structure than you have. I typically have two NoteBooks, one for “company” and one for “Projects”, inside each NB I have a variety of tabs, tab groups, etc. to organize things. I also created my own meeting template which helps a lot getting things moving for a meeting.

    In the right hand tab naming, I use the following:


    this allows me to find stuff based on date, month, year or topic via search or at a glance.

    When the year rolls over, I move the stuff into an Archive notebook by year (one new NB named for the year and condense both Company and Projects into this NB) and rinse, repeat for the next year.


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