Lose Weight and Work Smarter: Go Paperless in 2013!

Tips & Stories

Lose Weight and Work Smarter: Go Paperless in 2013!

Posted by Kasey Fleisher Hickey on 15 Jan 2013

Posted by Kasey Fleisher Hickey on 15 Jan 2013

By Jamie Todd Rubin, Paperless Living Ambassador

When I first started going paperless, my goals were pretty simple:

  1. Reduce clutter
  2. Easily find things that I was looking for
  3. Have access to my paperless data anywhere

I started out gradually. I didn’t worry about scanning in my entire filing cabinet, because I almost never used the paper in that cabinet. Instead, I focused on scanning in all incoming paper. Over time, I began capturing other things like electronic receipts and statements in Evernote so that I had all of my documents in one place. Eventually, I discovered two pleasant side-effects of a paperless lifestyle that I hadn’t expected:

  1. I could automate some things that had been manual processes in the past.
  2. I could whittle down what I carried around with me to the point where I could carry an entire mobile office in my messenger bag.

These went above and beyond my original goals, but they have made my life substantially easier, allowing me to focus on the things that matter and get things done, no matter where I am.

Automating with Evernote

I took Evernote’s slogan, “remember everything” as a challenge. In addition to the usual assortment of documents I’d capture in Evernote, I wanted to see if I really could remember everything. I’m a fan of personal analytics and happen to capture a whole bunch of data about the things that I do. It’s interesting to look at, and you can learn things about yourself that you never knew. Some examples: I use a FitBit Ultra which counts the steps I take (and the calories I burn) each day. I have key count loggers that count how many keystrokes I’ve typed. This data is collected automatically, and thanks to Evernote’s variety of interfaces, it makes it easy to collect it all in Evernote. My weekly summary emails from FitBit are automatically filtered through Gmail into an Evernote notebook, as well as my key logging data.

But I can capture even more. All of my tweets go into Evernote automatically, using an IFTTT recipe I created. Starring an article in Google Reader will send that article to Evernote.

For all of this I take almost no action, just go about my day as usual, and when I run my saved search for “Yesterday” I see every note that was created. I can tell you how far I walked, how many calories I burned, what I tweeted, what I ate (thanks to Evernote Food), what I read, what came in the mail (can you say “royalty statement!”), what new word my little girl said. You name it, I’ve “remembered” it. I can do this for virtually any day.

It’s always amusing to go into a meeting with someone and impress them with how much information you have at-hand and how quickly you can pull it up. Once I went paperless, there was almost no effort to this.

My mobile, paperless office

I’m also able to work from pretty much anywhere. I no longer have to carry around books, laptops, folders full of paper. I can fit an entire mobile office into my messenger bag:


As a freelance science fiction writer and blogger, being mobile like this means I can work anywhere. Indeed, I am writing this very post on vacation, and while I haven’t laid out my mobile office as neatly as I did for the above picture, here is my paperless workspace:


With this office I can write fiction and write blog posts. I can transact business. That is, I can receive and sign contracts, review royalty statements, and more. I can read books for review. I can edit and annotate photos. I can listen to my music. I can scan in documents with my Doxie One scanner, which takes up virtually no space in my messenger bag.

It seems to me you don’t have to be a writer to take advantage of a mobile office. By going paperless, just about anyone can do it. You also don’t need a bunch of fancy gadgets. Substitute a laptop for a tablet. Use ear buds instead of a noise-canceling headset. Snap images of documents with Evernote on your phone, instead of carrying around a scanner. It still works. There’s only one things that I can’t do right from this very table, and that is print.

But then again, I haven’t needed to print anything out for going on a year now.

Interested in going paperless? Join in on Evernote’s Paperless Challenge and get started!


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15 Comments RSS

  • AlexRipps

    What do you use the kitchen timer for?

    • headhunter212

      Yes. Why not use the timers in ipad or iphone?

  • Dexter Palumbi

    I started to digitize my life last year and it is awesome. I use my iPhone as scanner and the scans are pretty impressive.. The question I have though is, what are the advantages of scanning to Evernote over Dropbox??? I am currently using Dropbox

  • neil eneix

    I’m still learning its functionality, but it’s a great tool to use!

  • Maria Zioga

    I would love to go paperless for 2013!! This is a great project and challenge! I have one suggestion that would make my life really a lot easier! I am a sommelier and when I taste a bottle of wine I take notes….lots of notes about the wine’s colour, aroma, taste etc. for the past few weeks I’ve been using Evernote to do this so I take a picture of the label and start writing! But I was thinking that I would make my life easier and less time consuming if there was a specific app developed by Evernote specifically for taking wine notes!!!

  • NLuoma

    Great article!

    I’d love to hear how you get your Fitbit ultra to work with Evernote. I’ve got one, and a record in Evernote would be invaluable. Do you use IFTTT?

    • Carmen

      I second this request. I would love to capture my Fitbit data in Evernote

  • Lakeshore

    I have to print out every ticket I need for traveling: Train tickets (because the Deutsche Bahn only accepts paper) or flight tickets (because the iPhone is empty when I want to board) and of course all the stuff I need to snail mail to the administration, because they don’t accept my shared Evernote links. That’s Germany :(.

    • Andreas

      I can’t second your experiences. You can buy electronic train tickets with the Deutsche Bahn app on your smartphone. If your electronics’ batteries are empty when you need them, well, that can happen in any country. Plan ahead. Most government bodies which don’t already have digital processes such as Elster for tax return statements still accept e-mailed scans or faxes (I use an email-to-fax-service for this). Sometimes you still have to go there personally though. I don’t think any agency will let you renew your passport via Skype or FaceTime. 😉

  • amuramoto

    Some of the advantages of using Evernote include the ability to search for typed and handwritten text inside scanned images, fast and easy browsing of your images across all your devices, a lot of really great third-party integrations available in the Evernote Trunk (http://trunk.evernote.com) and more!

  • Christian Listl

    Would you mind sharing what key count logger software you use ?

  • David Bald

    Does your portable scanner do OCR optical character recognition? Thank you.

  • Mr. John Guo

    What about your Business Cards? Sure you printed those somewhere do
    Wont be amazing using virtual business cards? Like via Bluethoot or something…

  • June

    It’s all good until the power outage happens/No wifi etc. What will you do then!

    • Karen

      Wait until the power comes back on?