Cutting my paper ties14 Mar 13 10:22AM EST |
After reading a review of David Sparks’ ebook on the whys and wherefores of going paperless on The Mac Observer, I realised going paperless was something that I was interested in doing - and it wouldn’t be too difficult. Mac users may know David Sparks from his Mac Power Users podcasts and his MacSparky website where he covers tips and tricks for Mac users.
I read the book within a few days of downloading it and was keen to get going with my paper shredding. I'm happy to report that going paperless isn’t too scary - you can do it in stages and you don’t need to be using a Mac. PC users can access all the same websites, devices and workflow to go paperless with Windows.
How I went paperless
- I sat down and wrote a list of all the bills and other paperwork that I need to sort out. I opted for as many e-bills and electronic communication as I could so that I wouldn’t have to do the scanning. This helped a lot and I set up a folder structure to save all my files into so I wouldn’t lose anything.
- I prefer to have all my files saved locally on my computer, backed up to an external hard drive and occasionally I burn these folders to DVD for extra storage protection.
- I use an app on my phone to take photos of documents like receipts. I then save them onto my computer and if I need to scan something, I use the scanner on my multi-function printer.
- I also use Evernote to save articles, websites, downloaded PDFs or Word files for my own research. This stops me printing out all this stuff, and means I can access it from any internet-connected device. I don’t save personal files or documents through Evernote, but that’s just my personal preference and I know there’s a whole group of paperless Evernote fans who use it to store and document their entire lives.
I’ve managed to keep up with my paperless transition for tax purposes, storing notes, letters and other documents. I know I could go further and scan product documentation, my children’s artwork and other forms and letters but I haven’t got there yet. I’m going to buy a two-sided document scanner to help with this because finding the time to get to all my older files can be difficult.
My advice is to read our Guide to going paperless, think about why you want to go paperless, and sketch out your own road map to take you from the first steps of your new e-life to your ultimate goal.
It might be that you just want to save documents, notes and letters, or perhaps you want to digitise all your receipts for tax or lots of old paperwork or printouts for archiving. You can decide what your paperless commitment is going to be and how it will help you keep track of the myriad papers that come into our busy modern lives.
You can also save a tree or 10 by giving up paper and it can be easier to find documents when they’re stored and organised logically on your computer. You just might be able to find that receipt you need for that thing you bought from that place that needs to be returned all of a sudden!