I’ve been working hard at maintaining a paperless office at home for the past year or so. It’s been going pretty well for the most part, but it hasn’t been without a few hiccups. My biggest problem is something I’m sure we can all relate to – the speed of life. Let’s be honest, going paperless isn’t exactly a glamorous proposition and scanning documents, while extremely useful, can be a bit of a bore at times. If you find yourself unable to sit down at regular scanning sessions, I have a quick tip that may help you out.
I like to create two piles of documents that I plan on scanning into electronic form. The first pile is where I like to store everything that will eventually find it’s way into Evernote. This pile contains things like receipts, letters, cards, quotes, clips from the web – all of which I have no problem storing in Evernote.
If I have a document that contains personal information such as a bank number, mortgage statement, or income tax summary, I put these into the second, separate pile. These documents still receive the full scanning treatment, but they don’t find their way into Evernote for security purposes. Instead, I scan these files onto my computer – usually as a PDF. It’s not that I don’t trust Evernote, it’s that I prefer to keep as much sensitive data as possible off the cloud.
So why do I organize my documents into two piles?
I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300. It, like many other scanners, comes with a “profile system” that lets you scan different document types with different options. When I scan into Evernote, I select the Evernote profile on my scanner and it scans everything directly into Evernote. Likewise for private documents that I’ve chosen to scan to my desktop.
By separating the documents into “Evernote” and “Local Document” piles, I can scan each pile as a batch without having to alter my scanner settings. Sure, I may still have to toggle quickly between “scan to Evernote as PDF” and “scan to Evernote as image”, but I find this system drastically reduces the time I have to spend toggling profiles in the ScanSnap Manager.
How often do I scan my two piles into Evernote?
I’d like to tell you I have a foolproof system in place for this, but with two kids it’s hard to find a pocket of free time on a regular basis. The truth is that I scan everything as my time permits. Sometimes I scan three times a week while other times I may have to scan a month’s worth of data in at once. With the ScanSnap it’s pretty quick either way though.
If you find yourself getting into this paperless challenge may I also recommend a shredder. Ripping all these documents by hand post-scan gets old pretty quickly.
If you have any other “paperless tips” let me know in the comments below. If there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far, it’s that someone always has a better system!
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