Using OneNote to Get Conference Ready

It has been a couple of years since I have attended a blogging conference. I skipped CES this year in favor of a cruise vacation. It was heaven! I did miss the CES vibe a bit though. And I did not attend BlogHer last year. I am a bit excited about attending my first blogging conference in a while. Which of course leads to… packing and preparing!

Of course I pack for trips all the time, but there is something about packing for a blogging conference that it difference. In my opinion, it is more intense. Since I think of this type of trip as work and not play, I have to be extra prepared to get work done, take notes, network with others, and more.

I am big on notes. To do lists are a huge part of how I remember what I have to do. And if I don’t have it written or typed on a note somewhere, chances are that it will not get done. Since I consider myself a bit out of practice, I want to make sure that I am very prepared for this trip to BlogHer in New York. In order to do so this time I decided to use Microsoft OneNote to track my pre-conference checklist, agenda from my sponsor, packing list, and conference notes while attending sessions and doing interviews. I think that this will be the perfect approach because I will have easy access to all that I need while on the go. Even though I am using my MacBook Pro and the new version of OneNote in MS Office 2016 to create the notebook, I can then sync my notebook to my smartphone and my tablet, and access it from my travel computer, my Surface 3, without much hassle. And if by chance I need to use someone else’s computer I can just sign in to my Microsoft account on the OneNote website and still access all of my notebooks.

First I created a new notebook called BlogHer. I could have easily used the default notebook, but since I plan to have several organized notes on this one topic I decided that a separate notebook would be best.


I then created several sections for what I need to track. My sections include the following:



Agenda – On this tab I copied and pasted the agenda that I received from my sponsor to be sure that I won’t miss a beat. I will also be adding important things from this list to my calendar so that I can set reminders.

Packing List – Here I pasted a modified version of a conference packing list that I created a while ago. Since it has been so long since I attended a conference some of these things have to be changed to reflect changes to my travel arsenal. I try to be very organized about packing, otherwise things get lost. So, under the Packing List Section I have separate notes for clothing, electronics, and other.

Things to Do – This is my pre-conference checklist of things that I need to do before leaving town. This includes things like packing, putting out trash, printing boarding passes, arranging airport travel, and more.

I chose to break these things out into sections so that I can easily see the headlines across the colorful tabs at the top. However, under some sections, like Session Notes, there will be several notes listed depending on what sessions I attend while at the conference. Of course I can always add more notes while on the go if something comes up.

Since I pasted in some information from existing documents I love that OneNote lets me easily turn new, or pasted list into a checklists using the To Do button.


Another great thing about OneNote is that using the OneNote clipper Chrome extension I can easily grab things that I see on the web that I want to remember. In this case, if I see a tweet or Facebook posting about something going on at BlogHer, I can use the Clipper to save it directly to OneNote for later reference. This is also great for saving screenshots for later use in blog posts.


I can even save a note as a PDF file for sending to someone else, or for later printing.

OneNote has many, many useful functions. I am planning to use it to organize some upcoming events, jot down ideas for blog postings, and to share to do lists with collaborators. I’m also revamping my photography business, and using OneNote to organize my thoughts and plans.

If you do not use OneNote I strongly suggest that you do. While there is still something satisfying about having paper notes, those can get lost. I cannot tell you how many sticky notes I have misplaced. Come up to the 21st century! Use OneNote to create your to do lists, then you can take them with you without fear of losing that important sticky note.

Do you use OneNote? If so, how do you use OneNote?


Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Microsoft Office Ambassador. All opinions are my own.