|Name: Jamie Rubin
Evernote Ambassador: Paperless Lifestyle
Go to the Paperless discussion forum
Hello, from your Paperless Lifestyle Ambassador
- To eliminate clutter and save space. My home office has bookshelves filled to the brim with books. I have no more space for new books. So I buy almost all of my new books in e-book format. Digital documents take up very little physical space. This makes my wife happy. The technology is available to store all of my paper digitally and Evernote makes it easy to do.
- To have instant, ubiquitous access to all of my documents. Given how much we use devices like iPhones and iPads these days, it seems like it would be remarkably easy to have instant access to any of my digital documents. I can already do this with the books I own in e-book format so why not my other documents? I like being able to access my notes for the story that I am working on no matter where I am. It has proven convenient to be able to pull up a homeowner association budget while sitting at a meeting. Evernote, with its ability to store, tag and make searchable even my scanned documents makes this ubiquitous access remarkably easy.
- To prove that a paperless office isn’t some pie-in-the-sky dream. For years I’ve heard that we are moving toward a paperless office — but when push comes to shove, people seem hesitant to go paperless. I decided that I was going to see for myself whether a paperless office was really possible. There is a bit of a time investment getting started, but I have to say that having been paperless now for nearly a year, the time it has saved me in searching through piles, and the convenience it has added has more than made up for that initial time investment.
- Check the mailbox after work
- Toss out the junk
- If anything is left, determine if I need to scan it.
- Scan to Evernote
- Do I need to keep the original? If not, shred it, otherwise file it.
- Check my paper inbox
- Repeat steps 4-5
- In step 3, determining if I need to scan something is the most significant decision in the process. I only scan items that I think I will need again in the future, and that are not otherwise available in electronic format. So I might scan a property tax statement, but I won’t scan a copy of the gas bill, which is available to me online through the gas company website.
- In step 4, to scan to Evernote, I use the Canon P-150 portable scanner for Macintosh. It comes ready to scan directly to Evernote at the push of a button, can scan both sides of a page at the same time, and can do something like 15 pages per minute. It is compact and takes up very little space on my desk. It works great and I love it!
- Step 5 is a reminder to myself that there are some things you have to hold onto, my infant daughter’s social security card, for instance.
Tips for getting started
- Establish a daily routine. Don’t worry about going back through old records, at least not at the beginning. Establish a daily routine that works for you, make it habit, converting each day’s paper to digital form. Once you’ve gotten into the habit you can, if you wish, go back and scan old paper.
- Figure out your organization structure. Think about how you want to organize your documents before you get started, but try to keep the taxonomy simple. Remember that Evernote has some great search capabilities, including the ability to make PDFs searchable. I rely much more on the search feature than on tagging because I can search faster than I can tag everything.
- Access notes, even without a connection. If you use a mobile device like an iPhone or an iPad, consider turning on the “Offline Notebook*” feature for those notebooks you want to have access to even when you have no Internet connection. I have a “paperless filing cabinet” notebook that contains the bulk of my documents and I can access anything in that notebook even if I am not connected. Keep in mind the initial synchronization might take a little while, depending on the size of the notebook. [Learn more about Offline Notebooks]
*This is a Premium feature.
Join the Paperless Lifestyle Twitter Chat
Jamie will be hosting a Twitter Chat about Paperless Lifestyle in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for the announcement!
Jamie anchors the Paperless Lifestyle discussion over at our Lifestyle forum. Join the discussion here.
Check out some of Jamie’s on his blog about living the paperless lifestyle:
Using Evernote as a surrogate memory; or answering the question: when did ‘x’ happen?
How Evernote has helped me go paperless
Going iPad, Part 3: Note-taking, Evernote and Science Fiction Conventions
Managing my writing life with Evernote
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Joshua Zerkel’s Productivity Tips (PDF)
Brandie Kajino’s Organization Tips (PDF)
Carley Knobloch’s Spring Cleaning Tips (PDF)