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How to Digitize All Your Paper

How to Digitize All Your Paper

Paper is a product that is easy to accumulate. From bills to letters, I can find my desk filled with random paper products all the time. This isn’t due to laziness or hoarding, however; everything has a purpose. This creates a dire issue in terms of what to do with the papers—in addition to the unattractive-ness of a desk full of paper, it can even be a bit unsafe. Compromising and sensitive information can get lost in the pile and end up in unintended places, so let’s discuss how technology can change the way you handle your stacks of paper.

Step 1: What Do You Need?

digitize_1

    First off, you need to round up your tools for digitizing the large load. A good shredder is important—many individuals feel that if the document is simply thrown away and mixed with the trash, they are safe, but that isn’t the case. Thieves and criminals can and will go into your trash to steal documents containing compromising information.

    digitize_2

      You’ll  also want to look into investing in a good set of manila files. Even though our main mission is to cut the amount of paper in your life, not everyone understands this mission, and you may need to keep an original copy of the most important of documents.

      digitize_3

        Additionally, a scanner is a must in this case. This is the way in which we will digitize the documents. They don’t have to be expensive either: there are many affordable scanners on the market today, and most come along with a printer. While these are the physical things you will need, the magic is found in the software that you use.

        Step 2: Service of Choice

        If there is anything that you get from this article, I hope that you understand the importance of Evernote in your paper-purging pursuits. If you aren’t familiar with Evernote, the note-taking application has multiple functions that allow individuals to use it for anything from group notebooks to to-do list powerhouses.

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        However, the ability to easily add photos and documents makes this app extra appealing. Below are a couple of Evernote basics for making new notes, notebooks, adding photos/documents, and sharing your notes.

        digitize_serviceofchoice1
          • Creating a New Note

          File > New Note or

          Command + N.

          To create a note in a specific notebook, click on “Notebooks” on the left hand sidebar, select the notebook you want to add a note to, then perform the steps/commands mentioned above.

          • Creating a New Notebook

          File > New Notebook or

          Shift + Command + N.

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          digitize_serviceofchoice3
            • Adding Files

            Click on the note you’d like to add a file to

            File > Attach Files…

            digitize_serviceofchoice4
              • Sharing Notes

              Right Click on Note > Share

              While this is a cross-platform solution for desktop (Windows and Mac), there are also many solutions for mobile users to cut out paper. For all mobile users, there is an Evernote version for your smartphone from Blackberry to Android, and of course iOS.

              Lemon Wallet 1
                Lemon Wallet 2
                  Lemon Wallet 3

                    Individuals who are looking for lasting solutions may want to check out Lemon Wallet. The application can be described by some as a digital wallet, by others as a receipt keeper. Both descriptions are equally accurate.

                    When you launch Lemon Wallet, you are presented with all of the cards that you have added. The app will assist you in adding all of your cards and receipts when you launch for the first time.

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                    When you click on any card, Lemon Wallet prompts you to enter your password. Once entered, you can view your wallet, protect it when it is lost or stolen with BillGuard, and even add it to Passbook. Scrolling to the very bottom of Lemon Wallet’s homepage reveals where you can find receipts. You can sort and view them by date or category.

                    Step 3: Getting Started

                    digitize paper

                      The stacks of paper are now in front of you, waiting for you to dive in. However, before we get started there are a couple of things you need to do. First off, when sorting, you are going to want to keep in mind three categories.

                      • Crucial Paper (bills, documents, mail requiring an action)
                      • Stuff I’d Like to Keep (keepsakes, children’s drawings, photos)
                      • Junk and Clutter (old mail, notes to self*, etc)

                      These categories will prevent you from holding onto things that just aren’t important. Additionally, keeping in mind that you will have to scan every single piece of paper that you retain can be motivation enough to not hold on to the unnecessary notes.

                      Once the papers are sorted, it’s now time to shred the junk and clutter paper. Once that’s out of the way, you can get started with scanning and sorting. This should be seamless and easy to do, but if have trouble, refer back to the “Service of Choice” section for the required steps.

                      So, why did we differentiate stuff you’d like to keep from crucial papers? It’s all about the paper’s end result: all of the papers we scanned today will be shredded and thrown out, but since keepsakes and child drawings are usually sentimental, you don’t want them to end up in the trash.

                      For this reason, before trashing the crucial papers that you wouldn’t need an original copy for, you should find a nice, dry, and safe spot for the keepsakes. A well designed shoe box will do the trick.

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                      * Notes to self can be transferred to note taking applications like Evernote, or even applications like Stickies for short notes.

                      Step 4: What To Do With The Paper?

                      digitize_1800recycle

                        The papers are now shredded, but they aren’t out of your life just yet. What good are you doing for anyone besides yourself if you simply shred and throw out your old documents in the trashcan? You will make a larger difference by recycling the paper instead. Websites like 1800Recycling can help you discover recycling spots near you.

                        irecycle
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                              Mobile applications like iRecycle do the same as well. The easiest route may be to recycle through your city by throwing out your shreds in your city’s designated recycling cans you may have at home, but if your city doesn’t have a recycling initiative, then the steps mentioned above will be your best bet.

                              Clearing out your junk is a major step in spring cleaning. Let us know in the comments below what problem spots you will tackle this year, and don’t forget to share this article with your unorganized family members, friends, and coworkers.

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                              40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

                              40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

                              Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

                              There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

                              Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

                              It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

                              Productivity apps to help you get things done

                              1. OmniFocus

                              This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

                              Download it here.

                                2. Forest

                                Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                                Download it here.

                                  3. Things

                                  Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                                  Download it here.

                                    4. 30/30

                                    Recently covered here at Lifehack

                                    , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                                    Download it here.

                                      5. Any.Do

                                      A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                                      Download it here.

                                        6. PocketLife Calendar

                                        This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                                        Download it here.

                                          7. Asana

                                          We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                                          , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                                          Download it here.

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                                            8. ToDoist

                                            This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                                            Download it here.

                                              9. FlowTasks

                                              From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                                              Download it here.

                                                10. Calendars 5

                                                This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                                  A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    12. Due

                                                    A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      13. Checkmark 2

                                                      I use this app

                                                      for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        14. TeuxDeux

                                                        Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          15. Wunderlist 

                                                          Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                                          Download it here.

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                                                            16. Nirvana

                                                            For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              17. Priorities

                                                              An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                                                18. Productive

                                                                With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                                  You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    20. Streaks

                                                                    This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      21. Remember The Milk

                                                                      Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        22. Day One Journal

                                                                        When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                                          23. Evernote

                                                                          Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            24. Pocket

                                                                            You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                                            Download it here.

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                                                                              25. Sync.Me

                                                                              This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                26. Droplr

                                                                                One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  27. Dropbox

                                                                                  Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    28. iDolly 

                                                                                    In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                                    Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      29. Soulver

                                                                                      It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                                        30. Captio

                                                                                        A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          31. Drafts

                                                                                          A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                                            This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                                            Download it here.

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                                                                                              33. Doodle

                                                                                              This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                                34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                                I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                                  35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                                  A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                                    36. GoodReader

                                                                                                    This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                                      37. LogMeIn

                                                                                                      Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                                        Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                                        38. 1Password

                                                                                                        There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                                          39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                                          You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                                          All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                                            40. Truecallers

                                                                                                            Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                                              There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                                              Reference

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