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3 Productivity Benefits in the Microsoft OneNote 2013 Preview

3 Productivity Benefits in the Microsoft OneNote 2013 Preview

The upcoming launch of Microsoft Office 2013 (and OneNote 2013 in particular) promise some solid productivity enhancements. OneNote becomes more collaborative, gains a bit more interactivity/intelligence, and becomes even more mobile friendly. After all, Microsoft OneNote is perhaps the best thing to come out of the Microsoft Office group and OneNote 2013 builds upon some of the additions we got a taste of in previous releases. I spent some time with the OneNote 2013 Preview and I really like what I see from a productivity standpoint because Microsoft is building upon lessons learned from OneNote 2010 — and a multi-platform approach that should help OneNote gain even more fans inside companies and amongst the solo set.

We’ve already shown some love here for OneNote  at Lifehack and I’ve seen some solid improvements in the next release that will benefit new and longtime OneNote users alike.

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Improved Sharing and Synchronization

When OneNote 2010 became an official part of the full Microsoft Office suite, it opened up the door for OneNote to take on more project collaboration roles whether the OneNote user is a freelancer or works inside a corporate cubicle. With OneNote 2013, you can synchronize OneNote across multiple devices using mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. There is also a web interface to OneNote that you can access from any Internet-connected PC. The sharing and synchronization by default extends to SkyDrive and SharePoint, which I like for virtual teams who need to share information. Once you have OneNote content saved to your SkyDrive account or SharePoint site, then you can email other team members a link to the latest OneNote content and never have to worry about emailing the content around — and the hijinks that can ensue as a team tries to stay on the same version.

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    Improved Tables

    As a technical writer, I use tables quite frequently in the documentation and training guides I produce, so I was happy to see improved tools for creating and manipulating tables in OneNote 2013. If you are a frequent user of tables as I am, you’ll find it easier to manipulate table headers, rows, and columns. I didn’t spend too much time on using the tools to create charts and perform calculations, but would definitely want to put them to work if I had a project that could benefit from the feature. This kind of intelligence in OneNote 2013 can open up a lot more potential uses for this already handy application inside businesses and project teams that work with numbers (and other tabular data) and are tired of management by spreadsheet.

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      Improved File Embedding

      When I create OneNote notebooks for projects, I invariably embed files in them. Typically, they are PDFs and Word documents that I gather as part of my research phase. Now with OneNote 2013 , you are able to embed new and existing Excel spreadsheets while providing you with a preview of the charts and diagrams next to your notes. When you update the Excel spreadsheet, you’ll be able to preview the updates in OneNote automatically. If you frequently capture images as part of your notes in OneNote, OneNote 2013’s search feature even lets you find words in pictures. I find this feature to be very handy for me when it comes to finding word in screen captures. I use it in Evernote Premium quite regularly, so its inclusion in OneNote 2013 could push me to reconsider returning to OneNote on a more full time basis.

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        Final Thoughts

        While OneNote 2010 marked OneNote’s full-scale entry into the hearts and workflows of many users, the release of OneNote 2013 takes this productivity and note-taking application to a new level because of its cloud and mobile device integration from day one.

        Are you going to upgrade to OneNote 2013? Let me know in the comments below.

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2019

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

        Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

        Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

        In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

        1. ScheduleOnce

          ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

          ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

          ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

          Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

          Available on Web

          2. Calendly

            Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

            You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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            Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

            3. Assistant.to

              For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

              From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

              While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

              Available on Web

              4. Acuityscheduling

                Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                Available on Web | iOS | Android

                5. Pick

                  Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                  At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                  Available on Web

                  6. X.ai

                    For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                    This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                    Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                    Available on Web

                    7. YouCanBook.me

                      is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                      They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                      Available on Web

                      8. Doodle

                        Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                        It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                        You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                        While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                        Available on Web | iOS | Android

                        9. WhenAvailable

                          WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                          Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                          Available on Web

                          10. Rally

                            Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                            Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                            Available on Web

                            11. NeedtoMeet

                              Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                              NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                              While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                              Available on Web

                              Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                              In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                              To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                              Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                              A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                              Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                              If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                              Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                              With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                              The Bottom Line

                              Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                              Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                              Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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