Going paperless

I love deadlines. I appreciate the way that they focus your mind and activity – as some Internet philosopher has observed “without deadlines nothing would get done”.

Trouble is when the deadline is imposed by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise or a similar statutory body. Like when we have to prepare and submit company accounts.

It is at such times when you need to find all that carefully filed paperwork – only to find that some key bank statement or receipt has gone awol.

Surprisingly, despite my best efforts,  this year has been the same.

Trouble is that things are not always in one place. And bank statements all look the same. Oh, and every different receipt,  invoice, or till slip puts the date in a different place (or in the case of certain statements from my bank the date is on every  sheet except for the first.

Of course, I hear you say, file as you go.  But my life isn’t like that. You may say that I don’t have a workflow or effective process – and I won’t disagree. The thing is that most of the time all is either well or I’m oblivious.  And a hoarder.

Well it’s going to be different this next year. (This stayed as a draft so long that there’s a new tax year!)

I invested on a neat little scanner (see Going Paperless blog) that is quick, portable, and integrates with Evernote. Importantly,  there is very good OCR built in so the scanned PDFs are searchable within Evernote. Statements,  invoices, certificates all get scanned in. I will be brave soon and shred any originals that I don’t need to keep.

I’m also trying to integrate tasks and calendar in a sensible way.

It’s a long process, and I need to develop some good habits – daily review, timely filing, task reminders – but I will get there.

One thing though is to get the metadata right. Evernote has sophisticated searching capabilities using criteria such as tags, creation date, content. I will think about metadata in another piece, because it is so important.

Hopefully next year end will be much smoother – and less stressful.  Excuse me now, I need to track down some invoices. Scanner, get ready…!

Comments are closed.