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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…

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              • 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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                    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?

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                        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 October 16, 2019

                              11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                              11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                              Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

                              Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

                              Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

                              In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

                              1. ScheduleOnce

                                ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                                ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                                ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                                Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                                Available on Web

                                2. Calendly

                                  Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                                  You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                                  Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                                  3. Assistant.to

                                    For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                                    From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                                    While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                                    Available on Web

                                    4. Acuityscheduling

                                      Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                                      It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                      5. Pick

                                        Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                                        At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                                        Available on Web

                                        6. X.ai

                                          For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                                          This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                                          Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                                          Available on Web

                                          7. YouCanBook.me

                                            is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                                            They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                                            Available on Web

                                            8. Doodle

                                              Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                                              It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                                              You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                                              While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                                              Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                              9. WhenAvailable

                                                WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                                Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                                Available on Web

                                                10. Rally

                                                  Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                                  Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                                  Available on Web

                                                  11. NeedtoMeet

                                                    Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                                    NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                                    While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                                    Available on Web

                                                    Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                                    In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                                    To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                                    Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                                    A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                                    Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                                    If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                                    Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                                    With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                                    Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                                    Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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