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Organize Your Documents Online

Organize Your Documents Online

If you’re one to work away from home and like things accessible while mobile, you’ve already changed to an email client like Gmail, and are on your way to creating a completely online office.

Filing and organizing paper documents is a chore and takes up space so you may be digitizing them already via your scanner. This way any documents you receive online don’t have to be printed off; although you’ll probably keep hard copies of all your important documents somewhere.

Put these together and you’re looking for a way to organize your documents online. Here’s three ways and how they differ.

box.net document organizing

    Box.net

    An excellent online storage solution, Box.net offers 1gb free with the ability to share with other Box.net users.

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    It’s a simple and good looking app that makes it easy to upload in bulk, documents and other filetypes, organize in folders and tag files. Box.net’s search is excellent with sorting by Date and Size also available.

    If you want to increase your storage, to unlimited for free, and still have access to files from one login; here’s how you do it.

    • 1. Find an email client that supports sending emails from different accounts, such as Gmail.
    • 2. Create some new email accounts and have them accessible through your main one.
    • 3. Create new Box.net accounts with these emails.
    • 4. For each account, add your main Box.net account to the Network and Share the ‘Upload From Email’ folder with it.
    • 5. Email files to upload@box.net

    If you send from your main email, the files will appear in the ‘Upload From Email’ folder in your main Box.net account. If you send from your extra email accounts, they will go to your extra Box.net accounts, but be Shared with your main account under the Updates tab.

    There you can’t search or tag files, but you can download or add them to your account.

    Pros

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    • Great interface
    • Any filetype can be uploaded
    • Can make files public and display on a public page, where RSS is available
    • Upload from email
    • Embed widget

    Cons

    • Can’t view documents in browser
    • Storage relative to number of email accounts accessible [1=1gb]
    scribd document organization

      Scribd.com

      This is a relatively new addition to the ‘YouTube for documents’ scene. Here you can upload your documents like you would a video or photograph on a social network. Sharing and finding documents is simple and easy.

      The interface is a little clumsy but you can still tag everything to keep things organized and My Collections feature allows you to organize things further into folders. If you want to keep certain docs away from prying eyes, each item can be switched to Private.

      With all the beta-ness of Scribd, it’s strengths lie in compatibility. You can upload anything from Microsoft Word docs and PDFs to Excel and Powerpoint files.

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      After the document is up, you can download it as either a PDF, a doc, a text file or an MP3. No matter what format you upload in, as long as there is legible text, the output is good. And I thought OCR was dead.
      Each file is viewable in an attractive [and embeddable] Flash holder where you can scroll, zoom and print the document from.

      Pros

      • Instant file conversion – including audio
      • Read documents within browser
      • Find interesting documents from social network
      • Embed widget

      Cons

      • Buggy and unattractive interface
      • Searching your own documents requires Advanced fields
      • Only document filetypes accepted
      • Can’t upload from email
      gmail document organizing

        Gmail + G-Drive

        We previously mentioned using filters in Gmail to organize anything you uploaded through Gmail Drive. This works simply for documents.

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        • 1. Download Gmail Drive
        • 2. Create and organize folders within the Gmail drive on your computer
        • 3. Create Gmail filters with queries such as GMAILFS: /contracts/ and GMAILFS: /receipts/ in the Subject field. This will create labels in Gmail to reflect your folders.

        Anything you add to the Gmail drive on your computer will be sent to your Gmail account as an email. With specific filters added, each file will be moved to the corresponding label/folder in Gmail.

        Pros

        • Move documents to folders from your computer like normal
        • Almost 3gig of storage
        • Any filetype can be uploaded
        • New files [or plain emails] can be labeled within Gmail into your system
        • Easily share files through email forwarding
        • Upload via email
        • Gmail search
        • Can integrate documents with Calendar, Google Docs etc

        Cons

        • No native sub-label function
        • When searching, requires Label: field to exclude searching emails

        As much as there may always be documents you never want available online, for the sake of backups and accessibility, these options aren’t half bad. Know any better?

        More by this author

        Craig Childs

        Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

        More About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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