The At Work Holiday Survival Guide Part 1

Well, it seems winter is well and truly here. It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s wet. But at least the holidays are coming! However, alongside the lovely upsides of Christmas - such as cake abundance and inbound gifts - there are also hazards such as present buying, party planning, and family politics. Fortunately, help is at hand, and in this series of blog posts, I’m going to try to help you negotiate these hurdles so that you can breeze through the festive season with a minimum of stress. First up on the list? Christmas shopping.


There is no doubt that the advent of online shopping has given us a tremendous increase in choice and flexibility when trying to buy presents for people at Christmas. However, when you’re buying for multiple loved ones, things can get pretty complicated, particularly if you’re going for the whole ‘thoughtful’ present angle for those extra brownie points. When I shop online this Christmas, I’m going to use OneNote. Here are three reasons why OneNote is going to help me turn this potentially horrendously boring (and expensive) task into something which is much, much less painful:

1) A picture speaks a thousand words

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and this is especially the case when brainstorming for presents. So, instead of bland and boring lists of text, I use OneNote to compare gifts that I find online. Not only do I find this more useful than text to refer back to, but it’s much more engaging for me; I’m a very ‘visual’ thinker, and I find plain-text lists quite boring. My brain much prefers to deal with images.


Tip: Use screen clippings to capture information quickly

2) OneNote lets you escape the boring bits

The useful thing about doing your shopping this way is that you can take all the information you need without having to do it all manually. For example, when you screen clip something off a site with OneNote, you can capture in one swoop:

- The price

- The shop

- A direct web link to where to find the product again


That last point is massively useful for keeping on track of where you found everything, stopping you losing track of where you found the best price, present, or offer.

3) ‘Find’ keeps it all manageable

One of the really cool things about OneNote is that it includes a pretty smart search feature. This is much better than flicking through endless pieces of paper. You can even make the text within the screen clippings you’ve taken searchable, as I have:


Tip: Search and find notes easily

So, let’s see how this all comes together, using a - purely hypothetical of course - example of my ideas for my mother-in-law (click image to see full size):


You can see that I have four ideas which I have found on MSN Shopping based on my initial thoughts around ‘what she likes’. Using screen capturing, I’ve captured the ideas in a visual way, along with the price. When I did this, OneNote automatically made a note of the web address to the item, which sits below the picture. It can also make all the text in the picture searchable so I can find things really easily later. I then thought about the advantages and disadvantages of each present and added my own notes, before eventually deciding to buy idea number four. When I place the order, I’ll use the ‘Find’ feature again to create a list all of the items from that particular shop so that I can check easily what I want to buy and don’t forget anything – avoiding those annoying multiple delivery charges.

What do you make of this use of OneNote? Let me know via the comments section - I’m interested to hear what you think.

Stay tuned for part two of my guide to surviving the Christmas holidays!


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