Going Paperless with Evernote.

January 31, 2017 7:47 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Going Paperless with Evernote

Have you been contemplating going paperless?  Do you dream of a clutter free home or office? Imagine everything you need at your fingertips within seconds.  Gone are the days you forget a document for an appointment, or sift through piles of paper, trying to find a document you received a year ago. Megabite is here to help you simplify your life.  In this blog, we will show you step-by-step how to achieve a paperless life.  So, sit back, get a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and follow our simplified plan of going paperless.

 

First things first, there are a few items you will need to achieve a paperless environment.

  1. A good Scanner. Visit http://www.megabite.co/tech-advice for our recommendation on scanners and other devices.
  2. A designated area for all paper/documents that come into your home.
  3. An account with Evernote. There is a free version you can use; however, it doesn’t give you all the bells and whistles you are going to need to achieve a truly paperless environment. If you are serious about going paperless, you are going to need the Premium account which is $69.99 a year. I know, I know, $69.99 a year you say. But let me explain what the premium version can do that the free version cannot.

The free version is great if you want to:

  • Stay organized across platforms
  • Clip web pages and images
  • Search for text inside images
  • Share and discuss notes
  • Add passcode lock on mobile apps

All that’s fine and dandy, but it doesn’t give you the tools you need to achieve a truly paperless environment.

The premium version is the only level that offers scanning capabilities, which you must have to go paperless.   Here’s what the premium version has to offer:

  • Stay organized across platforms
  • Clip web pages and images
  • Search for text inside images
  • Share and discuss notes
  • Add passcode lock on mobile apps
  • Access notebooks offline
  • Forward emails into Evernote
  • Customer support via email
  • Customer support via live chat
  • Search for text in PDFs
  • Search for text in Office docs
  • Annotate PDFs
  • Scan and digitize business cards
  • Present notes in one click
  • Browse the history of your notes
  • See related notes and content

Some of our customers have asked us why can’t they just scan all their documents and place them into appropriate folders. And I’m sure you are wondering the same thing.   You can, however, there are drawbacks to that system.

  1. Your folders are not accessible across all platforms. In other words, all your documents are only on one device. You can’t take your computer everywhere you go, so, therefore, all your documents you might need on the go isn’t readily available to you.
  2. The search feature on your computer isn’t nearly as powerful as Evernote’s search feature and it might take you a while to find what you’re looking for.
  3. What happens if your hard drive crashes? Do you truly back up your computer every night?  Probably not.  With Evernote, everything is automatically backed up to their servers. You can rest at night knowing all your documents are saved. (don’t worry Evernote has a no peak policy, no one is going to look at your documents.)
  4. A folder system lacks the organizational options, search abilities, and ease of long-term use that Evernote has.

So, if you truly want to go paperless and simplify your life, Evernote is the only way to go. Just imagine you’re at the DMV office getting ready to renew your tags and you left your insurance information in your glove box. (I do that quite often. yes, I am scatter brained sometimes. ) Instead of having to get out of line and walk back to your vehicle, you can whip out your smartphone, click on the Evernote app, search for vehicle insurance, and within seconds you have your insurance information at your fingertips. Or you forgot to put your new health insurance card in your wallet.  With Evernote and a working paperless environment, you can have that at your fingertips as well.  Everything you need at any given time can be assessable instantly. Now how cool is that?

Okay, now that I have totally convinced you why going paperless is the way to simplify, and declutter your life. I will explain the process to you.

After you’ve signed up for Evernote Premium, make sure you install it on all your devices: Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, etc. If you’re in a pinch, you can also retrieve your documents at Evernote.com.

I can’t get into all the functions of Evernote in a single blog post, but I want to give you a quick overview of some of the terminology that’s helpful to understand when working with Evernote.

NOTES

Everything you store in Evernote is stored as a Note. Whether it’s a scanned PDF file, some text, a Word document, an image, or any other type of file, they are all stored as a Note. A very important decision you’ll have to make is how to name your “notes.”  If you have a strategy as how to name your notes and keep it consistent throughout, it will save you time and frustration later. If you already have Evernote and have saved lots of notes without a consistent naming convention, don’t worry, it’s not worth going back in time trying to fix it. Here’s how I title notes: Anything that has to do with insurance (insurance_ vehicle_ then the name of the vehicle) or if its home insurance I would name it (insurance_home) or health insurance, (insurance_health), you get the picture.  This way anytime you need to look up insurance information all you have to do is type in insurance, and all your insurance information will appear.  So, in short, what I do is decide what the document is, then title it accordingly.

 

 

NOTEBOOKS

Notebooks are a container for notes. Evernote will allow up to 255 Notebooks. Notebooks are visually helpful for organizing work and projects. Remember using notebooks in school, and how you would organize them.  Notebooks are basically the same way in Evernote. However, you can decide to keep everything as notes and search for tags, titles, or the body of the note to locate a document. You don’t have to have notebooks.  It’s just a lot easier for me to know where to look. I like structure and notebooks add that extra bit of organization to my life. I can’t imagine having a million notes in Evernote without having them separated into notebooks. But that’s just me.

Stacks

A Stack is simply a group of notebooks. For example, I have a Stack called “Clients.” In that Stack, I have a few Notebooks with all my notes and information related to a certain client.

TAGS

This is what makes Evernote so special. I love Tags! While a Note can only be in one Notebook, a single Note can have multiple Tags. For example, let’s say you just scanned in your vehicle registration.  Tags that you might want to associate with that “note” could be, vehicle, 2014 chevy, equinox, DMV papers, the list could go on and on.  And the best part about tags is they are searchable.

OCR

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This is the process in which Evernote transforms your scanned PDF files into recognizable text. Which is way cool!  Once a document is scanned into Evernote, that document and every word is searchable. Why is this important? Let’s say you saved a “note” with the word, birdbath, but you can’t remember what tag you used to save the note.  To find it, simply type in the search field, birdbath, and Evernote will find that document. Now that’s incredibly powerful!

 

HOW TO ADD INFORMATION TO EVERNOTE

  • Scan directly into Evernote
  • Drag and drop files to Evernote
  • Type directly into Note
  • Evernote Web Clipper
  • Email using unique Evernote email address
  • Camera using Evernote mobile apps

 

Getting organized

 

Going completely paperless can be an overwhelming task, and I suggest start setting up Evernote.  You will need a notebook where all your scanned documents will go to, you can name it anything you like such as inbox, or scanned documents.  It’s totally up to you what you name this catch all notebook.  Once you decide upon a name, you can have your scanner set up to automatically put everything into that notebook.

Before you start looking at the stacks of papers laying around and start shaking your head, thinking this is going to take forever and not worth it, let me tell you how I started going paperless.

Instead of tackling all the papers in my filing cabinets and on my desk first, I started with the new papers that came into my home.  Remember, I said you need a centralized area for all papers that come into your house?  This includes any drawings your kindergartener might bring home, a thank-you note that you want to keep, an invitation to an event; anything paper that comes into your home goes to the centralized area.  If you start scanning in every new piece of paper into Evernote first, you won’t feel so overwhelmed, plus you start to understand the process.  I like to scan twice a week, and it only takes 15 minutes.

After you have scanned a couple of times, grab a small stack of papers from your filing cabinet and include them with your weekly scans.  Before you know it, your filing cabinet is empty, and everything is in Evernote nice and neat.  I love throwing away, or burning papers, and getting rid of clutter!

You don’t have to keep everything

There are some things that you don’t need to scan into Evernote.  Such as a grocery receipt.   Why keep a receipt that you don’t need?  My rule of thumb is if I know I’m never going to need it, toss it.

Stuff you can scan but still need to keep

There are some things you can scan but still need a paper copy of, such as your birth certificate, marriage license, Social Security Card, etc.  These items you can scan into Evernote for easy access, however, you will want to get a fireproof box to store these items in for safekeeping.   You never know when you will need the original document.

 

I promise you after you have decluttered your life and are totally paperless you will be amazed at how simplified your life has become. Visit http://www.megabite.co/tech-advice for our recommendations on scanners.

 

Karen Beth

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This post was written by Karen

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