When all this computer malarkey started years ago, everyone you spoke to half figured that computers were invented to get rid of paper and that the paperless office was just around the corner - Right?
Well, that may have been the plan but it certainly seems to be a long distance away from becoming reality! For many of us, the plain truth is that computers have probably created twice as much paper as we had before they came along! Whilst the paperless office remains a Utopian dream for most people - some folks are actually getting on with turning it into reality - And right now I’m trying to be among that number!
It is not easy to shred stuff that you think you MAY need to keep - it takes nerve to throw away stuff that which could POSSIBLY be useful - but it can be done.
This project is the result of a visit to Staples - my favourite office supplier, during the visit I discovered I was due to a refund - BUT I needed a copy of the original invoice to get the cash. Trouble is my paperwork goes to the bookkeeper and is difficult to get hold of afterwards. That set me thinking about scanning and storing copies of documents locally. That, in turn, has led to my little paperless project!
I’ve developed a system that has allowed me to eliminate all but a slim handful of papers from my formerly littered desktop. I scan my documents and convert them to PDF files that use optical character recognition (OCR) software - digital copies of document text (so I can search, select, or copy it). I transfer the files with a couple of quick clicks into a specific folder and they are automatically uploaded for safe keeping. I then take a last look at the piece of paper and either shred it or put it into the box that goes to the bookkeeper each month!
The system is pretty quick, cheap, uses free or low-cost software and my existing old scanner - and what’s more, it really works. My choice of software is Scannitto Pro - So it costs a few pounds initially, but it does repay the cost many times over in saved time and effort.
As a result of implementing this simple system I have more free space on my desk and in my file cabinets, and almost every piece of paper in my files — old tax forms, letters from my bank, and more, as well as new stuff that still comes in — is now searchable, easy to back up, and accessible from just about anywhere.
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