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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?

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    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.

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      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.

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        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.

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          • 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
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                  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.

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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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                              Last Updated on December 30, 2018

                              18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

                              18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

                              No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

                              If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

                              But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

                              Let’s dive straight into the list…

                              1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

                                If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

                                Download Rescue Time

                                2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

                                  If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

                                  Download Remember the Milk

                                  3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

                                    This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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                                    Download Focus Booster

                                    4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

                                      This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

                                      Download Toggl

                                      5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

                                        There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

                                        Download Dropbox

                                        6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

                                          Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

                                          Download Evernote

                                          7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                                            Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                                            Download Mind42

                                            8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                                              This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                                              Download SnycBackFree

                                              9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                                                Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                                                Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                                                10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                                                  This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                                  Download 1Password

                                                  11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                                                    When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                                                    Download Pocket

                                                    12. [email protected] — Boost your attention span

                                                      This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                                                      Download [email protected]

                                                      13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                                                        This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                                                        Download Launchy

                                                        14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                                                          This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                                          Download Forest

                                                          15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                                            This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                                            Download Trello

                                                            16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                                              Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                                              Download Wunderlist

                                                              17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                                                This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                                                Download Time Tree

                                                                18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                                                  Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                                  Download Todoist

                                                                  The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                                                  Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                                                  40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                                                  More Recommended Productivity Experts on Lifehack

                                                                  • Leon Ho — The Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he share productivity hacks to make life easier
                                                                  • Carl Pullein — A renowned productivity and time management coach
                                                                  • Mark Pettit — A Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to achieve more by working less

                                                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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