I am on a mission folks! A mission to get as much clutter and chaos out of my life as humanly possible. A key cause of clutter and chaos for me is paper. Bills. Statements. Receipts. Files. Notes. They all start to add up and pile up. So a few months ago we decided to tame our paper tigers and get as of our paperwork on the computer and in the Cloud as possible.
We use a combination of Fujitsu’s ScanSnap S1500 scanner and Evernote as the most excellent one-two punch. The ScanSnap is easy to set-up and has a really small footprint. You can set up different scanning profiles which will allow you to scan single sided, double-side, in color, in black and white, straight to PDF, straight to Evernote, and more.
I can’t tell you how liberating it is getting rid of all this paper. My wife has gone through about 20 full and large 3-ring binders and dozens of files. I’ve gotten rid of all the receipt folders for the years 2009 through 2012 for both personal and business receipts. I’ve scanned all my old and current client files. My metal file cabinet is almost empty.
And what’s even more fantastical, Evernote’s text-recognition software allows you to easily search for items, even if they are printed in PDF or a PNG file. So, if you need to find a receipt for a hard drive from Costco from last year, no more digging through dozens of old receipts. Just do search for Seagate in Evenote and BAM! Within seconds it comes up.
How We Do It
So here’s our process. In addition to a scanner, you’ll need the premium version of Evernote. It’s only about $45/year and worth every penny.
- Statements – I have all my statements switched to electronic delivery only. Just about every major creditor and vendor will give you this option, including utilities.
- Email – whenever I get an emailed statement or receipt, I forward it to my Evernote account and target the appropriate folder. That’s another nifty feature of Evernote. You get a personalized email assigned to your account. Send and email to it and that email becomes a note. You can send an email to a specific folder by adding the “@” in front of the folder name somewhere in the subject.
- Scanning – I have my office assistant scan all the receipts and statements we still get by mail. We’ll keep paper receipts for two quarters before having them destroyed (just in case). Here’s a pdf of our scanning process, including what we do with the documents afterwards.
- Clients – as much as possible I keep client correspondence electronic. I use Signnow.com for contracts. I save important client correspondence in Evernote by forwarding email to the appropriate folder. I use Asana for my workflow and customer relationship management. I use Dropbox for sharing documents and files. I use YouSendIt.com for larger files (e.g. videos to review, motion graphics, large files from the client, etc.)
Don’t Be Scared
I know what some of you are thinking: “Do I really want all that private and financial info up on the cloud?” The answer is, It’s already there people. In some form or fashion, your private info is already floating around the interwebs. Might as well keep it in an encrypted and highly trusted system like Evernote’s. Don’t be afraid. Remember, “Vivir con miedo es como vivir en medias.”
Are you paperless? How do you do it?