8 Tips to Master a More Paperless Life With Evernote

The original version of this article was  posted by Taylor Pipes on 22 Apr 2015 online.

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When the first Earth Day was proposed at the suggestion of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, paper was the primary means of communication and conveyance. Many things have changed since then, but today we still rely on paper tremendously to get things done. Sometimes, perhaps too much.In the spirit of Earth Day, here are 8 tactics to help you manage and minimize the paper in your life.

Before you get started, make sure Evernote is available where your documents are. Install Evernote for your mobile device or tablet. >>

If you’re using an iOS device, Scannable is the quickest way to auto-magically capture documents into Evernote. It’s super fast, and a beautiful way to archive your content. Download Scannable >>

1. Configure your workflow.
Before you begin, it’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions about your paper-based documents and decide what you can do with them. This chart is a great place to start:

paperless-flow

2. Don’t stress it, scan it

Scanning doesn’t destroy documents, it allows you to preserve them for generations to come. This is why we’ve built our products to work with paper as elegantly as possible.

We recommend Scannable and the ScanSnap Evernote Edition Scanner. Scannable turns any iPhone or iPad into a mobile scanner, capturing the paper in your life quickly and beautifully. It connects to the ScanSnap Evernote Edition to let anyone in the home or office use it for any stack of paper. Use them together to collect everything from instruction manuals, the kids’ homework, and bank statements to work documents and meetings notes.

3. Manage business cards like a pro

At any gathering or conference, business cards only get out of hand if you let them. Mitigate the likelihood of losing received cards, or misplacing your own, by picking a pocket for one and a compartment for the other. Evernote Scannable is a perfect app for these moments, allowing you to scan a card in seconds.

4. Collect your digital files

In addition to paper documents, your company likely has digital documents and files scattered across a plethora of personal computers and shared drives. Collect them in Evernote so everyone can find the files they need and collaborate with the team.

You don’t necessarily want or need to move every file into Evernote. Instead, think of the files and identify documents that are regularly shared among the team, or ones that multiple people could benefit from accessing.

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Evernote Tip: Good candidates for files you may want to move into Evernote are ones related to specific projects, company policies, product reference information, and sales tools.

Scanning all your documents is just one aspect of your paperless future. There are tons of documents, both physical and electronic, that you can add to Evernote. Perhaps you don’t need to scan them all, but visualize what you need and evaluate your options against your personality type with a diagram like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.49.15 AM

5. Own paperless productivity with Pocket + Evernote

With Pocket, you can grab links, images, and videos and save them for later. Pocket also removes the clutter from the articles and presents them in an easy-to read format. Lots of applications integrate with Pocket, making it easy to send articles and other items. Best of all, you can send items from Pocket to Evernote.

That process looks just like this sketch. Learn more >>

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6. Automate Evernote

Start working smarter by letting Evernote do the work for you. For author Jamie Todd Rubin, there are a few tricks to use to get content automated into Evernote.
* A record of all Tweets on Twitter (via RSS and IFTTT)
* A record of all of my Foursquare check-ins (via IFTTT)
* The daily weather (via IFTTT)
* The fiction I wrote on any given day (via Google App Script)
* A daily “almanac” that summaries various metrics (like how much I wrote and how much I walked) (via Google App Script)
* My blog posts (via RSS and IFTTT)
* Meeting minutes for the meetings that I attend

7. Template to the madness

Between meeting agendas, minutes and printed slide decks, each meeting can leave you with quite a stack of paper to deal with.Evernote Business can help you and your team eliminate most of your meeting-related paper. Since meetings tend to revolve around standard document types, use Evernote Business to create templates for these notes. They’ll give your team a pre-formatted structure to save them time.

8. Paperless meetings

Printing slide decks, key documents, or Web pages with important research wastes time and paper. As you’re getting ready for a meeting, attach presentation files and documents directly to your meeting agenda note, and the team members you’ve shared that note with will automatically get access to those files. Clip important Internet research using the Web Clipper, share those notes with your team as well.

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