To type or not to type?

Finally saying goodbye to my trusty old writing pads, and hello to OneNote

To type or not to type?

I’ve been touch–typing since I was a teenager. So you would think then, after 40 years, I would be at least a 40 words per minute guy. But, unfortunately, the truth is my typing speed is more akin to a one–armed bandit in a blindfold!

Speed, however, is only part of the typing problem for me. Whilst perfectly adequate for emails and IMs, throughout all my years of practising, I have struggled to ‘think’ (especially creatively) and type simultaneously. There might be some correlation between this and my need for near silence when I concentrate – no background music for me, I’m afraid, when I’m working, but here’s where this phenomenon significantly impacts my productivity.

1. I could be a better note-taker if I relied on typing during meetings.

2. My reliance on a notepad and pen, whilst my ‘happy place’, has laid waste to a forest of trees or two during my lifetime.

Touch Screens are Great, but they Don’t Solve the Problem.

As you might expect, I eagerly embraced touchscreen computing long ago. However, my current beautiful little HP Dragonfly laptop, whilst lending itself very well to touch screen scrolling and menu selection, doesn’t solve my problem of needing to rapidly switch from laptop computing mode, where I am accessing multiple screens and applications at any one time, and notetaking/doodling mode which requires something lying flat on my desk for me to write on that essentially feels like pen and paper.

Enter my Galaxy Tab S7 and stylus – a wee pressie to myself at Christmas, and I have finally dispensed with my trusty old writing pads for good.

Using Microsoft’s brilliant digital notepad application, OneNote, I now keep my Tab and stylus right by my mouse for any notetaking or article writing that I might need to do each day, and because of the near-instant synchronisation to Microsoft’s Cloud, what’s entered on the Tab appears in OneNote across all my devices.

Speech Recognition is built right into Office these Days

So, you might ask, how do I make those handwritten notes available for others to read if they need to or turn them into a document for publication, such as this little article? Well, when that is required, I simply use the dictation facility available in Office to read it back and convert that speech to text. Boom! Of course I realise all you 50 word per minute people out there with highly developed multitasking capabilities are thinking, what a palaver! But if this little article has struck a chord with you and you want to maintain your relationship with the art of writing, do your bit to save the planet all whilst paying attention to what is going on in the meeting you are taking notes for, I couldn’t recommend this method highly enough.

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