How do you stay organised?…

With the growing volume of e-mails, meetings, blogs, RSS feeds, tasks, projects, plans, media outlets etc. coupled with balancing work-life balance and your sanity – staying organised and on top of things is a challenge.

I’m always interested in finding out what systems people use to manage the crazy day-to-day requirements of modern living.

I have filed this post under “He would say that”, as my primary tool is Microsoft OneNote.  It’s the centre of my working day and I still keep finding new features and capabilities.

What do you use? How you you stay on top of things? Let me know!


Organisation Central

So what do I use OneNote for?

Here are just some of the uses and features that I use….


imageEmail Archive: using this button on the Outlook 2007 toolbar I archive all my e-mail in OneNote automatically (including attachments) making it easy to index, search, organise and browse



Meeting Notes: I record, file and archive every meeting so that I can review the notes for actions, next steps and reminders

Bonus: If you record audio of a meeting on your laptop while using OneNote, it automatically time stamps the audio with any notes you make.


Project Planning: With OneNote I can pull together files, links, text, pictures and handwritten notes on a single page making it simple to get access to the information you need for a project.


Daily Notes: I have a new OneNote page for each day where I record thoughts, events etc.  If a particular item requires a project I can simply create a new linked page in OneNote and get started.



Next Actions: Once I’ve finished a meeting I review my notes and when I spot an action item I can create an Outlook task directly from inside OneNote.  The task then appears in Outlook with an automatic link back to the relevant OneNote page (and you can also create meetings).





Capture information: I can insert and attach files, scans, I can print documents into OneNote, I can capture web pages and articles for future reference (and OneNote automatically inserts the local URL).


Find everything: OneNote not only offers fast text search, it indexes PDFs and images and integrates with Windows Desktop Search so you can find whatever information you’re looking for, wherever you are on your PC, when you need it.



Tagging: In addition to fast search you can tag any item in OneNote.  Then at a later date you can run a report that pulls all your tagged items into a single page report.






OneNote on the go: If you have a Windows Mobile phone, you can take OneNote Mobile wherever you go and automatically add notes to your PC when you get back to the office.  You can also copy pages from OneNote to your phone to take with you on the road.




OneNote Powertools: Finally there’s a whole range of different add-ons for Outlook from utilities that let you import and export HTML pages, to gadgets that let you quickly and easily send a page to your phone. (See link below)

So… how are you staying organised?


Other tools I use:


OneNote Resources:

For those into David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” approach to work:



[Cross posted on my Microsoft blog]

Social media ebooks, PRs and bloggers

I was giving a talk to a group of small business owners last night on the topic of social media.  One of the people at the meeting asked for some further reading on the topic and then I happened upon this post from Chris Brogan: 20 free ebooks on Social Media. I haven’t read them mind you :-) but as we all know reading expands the mind… or is reading “dead” along with everything else these days?

Susan Getgood asks why can’t bloggers and PR people just get along. I get along pretty well with myself, but I’m not sure that’s the aim of the post…

PR & SEO, pitching tips, social media, and Twitter

When I talk to PR people about social media, the one thing that rarely comes up is Search Engine Optimization.  Now I agree that search engines are very Web 1.0, but they’re still the number one pathway around the Internet.  If you’re managing online reputation you better understand search engines.  Lee Odden offers some thoughts on the subject.


Following Jason Calacanis’ post that you don’t need a PR firm (sigh)… Dave Fleet offers an interesting retort and points out what you should all know. Public Relations is about a hell of a lot more than media relations!


US journalist Rafe Needleman is now offering tips/guidelines/pet hates for PR people to consider prior to a pitch.


Newsgator is hosting a free recorded webinar with Shel Holtz on the topic of how you ensure your audiences are getting the right message.  It’s being published on August 28th and it will cover how social media is changing corporate communications and real world examples of companies using social media. You can sign up here.


Twitter certainly hasn’t hit the "trough of disillusionment" (yet).  Chris Brogan offers 50 ideas for using Twitter for business. [Hat tip: Neville]

PR: Transparency Behind the Scenes

In this era of camera phones, small video recorders (and in this case a TV camera), we’re seeing more and more “exposés” of PR handlers before and after media interviews.

As I’ve said before, in my experience this video isn’t a typical media engagement and perhaps videos such as this will change the engagement model.  One thing is for sure, while you can understand their desire to ensure their “client” is properly represented I don’t think this reflects well on those involved. [Greenhouse warning :-)]

In this new era of always-on, we all need to think about the image we portray online and offline.

Would you like to be on YouTube? :-)

Thanks to MyRagan for the link.

PR firms are bad, your personal brand, crisis communications, Apple the best at PR and how Dell is using social media….


Greetings, it’s been quiet for a week which of course means my life hasn’t been… Here’s some tidbits I found waiting in my RSS reader….


Jason Calacanis offers some advice to start-ups on how to get good PR: fire the PR agency. Mmmm. While the posts does offer some good advice, and some common sense, I don’t buy the message. As usual with blogs we’re dealing with sweeping generalizations. There’s a lot of good reasons why companies of all sizes engage Public Relations agencies. His post doesn’t change those in my mind.   Todd Defren and Morgan McLintic offer a defense. [Bonus link: Todd has a link to some videos on the changing delivery of news and information].



And you know you should always kick the dog when it’s down, so from Richard Bailey I read that Guy Kingston in the UK has launched a search for Britain’s worst Public Relations agent.  I’ve a feeling that’s one PR award ceremony that won’t have the table bookings flooding in. He’s also published his nine signs of a bad PR agent including: they demand to be paid by the hour rather than quote for a job; they do not set specific objectives; they start doing their own thing rather than what you asked them to do; they boast about big-name contacts and they blame the client when things go wrong.  You can read all nine at his site.



Whatever the merits of the changes we’re seeing online.  One of the things that has changed is the important of your online brand.  What do people find when they search for your name online – particularly if you have a particularly popular name (popular now, not common :-) ).  Brian Solis has a two part post on the the issue here and here.



The PR Week blog competition enters the final eight. Some expected finalists and some that frankly are a bit of a surprise.



Kami Huyse shares her presentation on savvy communication at the time of crisis and her 3 Rs of Crisis Management: Research, Response, and Recovery. Kami also has a great post on building quality relationships online.



Next Fifteen’s Tim Dyson ran a poll on his blog to find out who his readers think does the best tech PR. The answer? Nor surprisingly Apple comes out on top.



Neville Hobson has an interesting video interview with Andy Lark of Dell discussing how they are using social media.

Dead Poll: usual muppets shorten odds on PR (again)

I feel a rant bubbling under the surface, but I don’t currently have time or energy to give it the wrath it deserves, so I’ll desist for the moment.

If you read PR blogs, you’ll know that there’s another (yes another) little firestorm brewing on the subject of "the death of Public Relations" – well I say public relations but given many of the "knowledgeable" muppets writing these death posts don’t really have a grasp of what "Public Relations" is, what we’re really talking about is media relations.

While I go and implement my proven deep breathing heart attack avoidance exercises, I’m providing a list of some of the content (both pro- and anti- ).


Bonus links (not death related)

4 models of PR, bad PR, CEO blogs, future PR skills, PR history and Twitter…

You know sometimes you sit back and wonder at what is exactly going through someone’s mind before they hit the send button.  It’s another reason why it’s so hard to defend our profession.  Click over to Kevin Dugan for more.


Andrew Bruce Smith piles on the pain with a report from Matthew Gwyther, Editor at UK magazine Management Today:

And they’re not all spam offering me four gross of Cialis for $129.99, or a chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to help some West African whose father has sadly passed away and who needs help getting his secret stash out of the country. No – they’re mostly no-hope press releases from desperate PRs.



Do you know the four models of Public Relations? Jump over the Bill Sledzik and find out.



Shel Holtz argues that whilst there may be good reasons for CEOs not to blog, time isn’t one of them. [Bonus link: great video on internal communications – or the lack of it!]



John Bell has written a thougful piece on "Future PR Skills".

Time would be better spent sharpening our skills on designing and running integrated marcom programs that include all disciplines. Is PR really ready for this leadership role?



Kami Huyse has a link to Dr. Karen Russell’s presentation on looking at the history of PR (and specifically Ivy Lee’s declaration of principles).



Filed under interesting.  Neville Hobson reports that Dell used Twitter to field media questions at a global launch today.

PR Week Blog Competition…


To celebrate its tenth anniversary PR Week is hosting a competition to find the most popular PR blog.

Keith O’Brien and the team at PR Week have selected 32 blogs.

[Actually they selected 16 and then asked those 16 bloggers to nominate 16 others, so given I wasn’t asked to select a blog, one of the final sixteen was kind enough to nominate this blog – probably in a sly move to ensure weaker competition :-) ]

Given the calibre of the short list, I’m not sure that this blog can survive in such esteemed company, but following the inspiration of Professor David Weinbaum: "while it’s important to win, it’s imperative to compete" :-)   

If you feel like upsetting the odds do wander over here to vote. 

Voting opens on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 at 9pm and closes on Tuesday, August 12th at midnight.

I’m tempted to echo the sentiments of the Chicago politician who exorted their followers to "vote early and often" – but that’s (ahem) below me….

From a purely professional point of view, even if you don’t feel like voting, do visit the short-listed blogs, all of which are great sources of information, thoughts and opinions on the practice of Public Relations:

  1. Andy Lark
  2. Bite Communications
  3. Brian Solis
  4. Cone
  5. Daniel Lally
  6. Drew Kerr
  7. Ed Moed
  8. Frank X. Shaw
  9. Insidedge
  10. Jeremy Pepper
  11. John Bell
  12. Kami Huyse
  13. Katie Paine
  14. Kevin Dugan & Richard Laermer
  15. Livingston Communications
  16. Lois Paul & Partners
  17. Mark Rose
  18. My Creative Team
  19. Neville Hobson
  20. Peter Himler
  21. Phil Gomes
  22. Renee Blodgett
  23. Richard Edelman
  24. Rodger Johnson
  25. Rohit Bhargava
  26. Sage Circle
  27. Shel Holtz
  28. Steve Rubel
  29. Tim Dyson
  30. Todd Defren
  31. Tom Murphy
  32. Voce Communications