The Paperless Challenge Part 1

Going Paperless with Evernote

The process has begun, I am busy becoming paperless.

I like the sound of it, paperless. In my previous post Managing Your Paper Mountain or Going Paperless I explained my reasons for wanting to rid my life of excess paper clutter. My intention was that before 2014 I would be Paperless.

Step 1: The Commitment

Like any change process, awareness is a key part of the process. Once you commit and start to become aware of what’s involved in reaching your goal, the task becomes so much easier and less daunting. Once I had made the commitment to take part in the challenge, my mindset changed. In an instant I saw things differently. I started to see ways in which I could reduce incoming paper, and ways in which I could avoid paper lying in my filing tray for weeks or more likely months on end.

In this past week I have added documents into Evernote that have been lying around on my desk for weeks. I realised that I was still receiving some paper bills when I thought I was receiving everything electronically. I dumped magazines that I had held onto to read with a simple question: Was I really ever going to read them? Very quickly and easily I reduced the paper in my life. Still some work to be done but the process has begun.

Step 2: The Decision

My first decision was whether I was going to use Evernote or scan the documents directly onto my laptop to be filed in folders and sub folders. I decided I would use Evernote to scan in more frequently used or accessed documents so that I can tag them and be able to search for them. I would scan directly to my computer old training courses that I currently don’t use but may have requirement for at a later stage.

Step 3: The Beginning

I took the plunge and decided to start with documentation from a sales course I had attended some time ago. Sales is something I need to give more attention to this year, so brushing up on my skills could come in handy. I leafed through the folder and took out any pages that I thought may be of use to me now and I left the other pages in a pile for recycling. There were only about 10 pages so I added the pages to Evernote inside my Sales Notebook and I tagged them sales and sales training. It didn’t take long before Evernote advised me I was reaching my limit of storage. I have been using the free version of Evernote , I hadn’t seen the requirement to go to premium, I still had enough space and as my phone is constantly connected to the Internet I am never offline. (If you are not online with Evernote standard edition you won’t be able to view your notes but with Evernote Premium your notes are always available to you) Up until neither of these things were an issue for me.

Roadblock 1: There was going to be a cost

Evernote Premium costs just $5 a month or $40 a year, seems like a no brainer but since I bought Susan Hayes book “The Savvy women’s guide to Financial Freedom” I know how all those $5 add up and I no longer whip out the credit card before assessing is this really going to make my life easier? I decided it was, so out came the credit card. Premium Edition here I come.

As that went well I took down my second folder, My Coaching diploma, as I started to leaf through this folder I realised that the material was all very valid and I would like ot hold on to most of it. It’s a very big binder then I felt discouraged. To scan in each page one by one and then import each pdf document into Evernote, tag it and move on to the next, this was going to take forever, there must be an easier way.

Roadblock 2: I didn’t have the time

Scanning each page individually was crazy, so I looked up scanners that scan multiple copies, then I discovered that there are scanners that support Evernote. Seemingly Evernote have partnered with Canon so this would make the job easier.

Step 3: The Schedule

Like any project, you must schedule time for completion. Once you have made the commitment and decided how you are going to work and what tools you are going to use, you now need to make the time to actually do it. As always a calendar is man’s best friend and the Procrastinators worst enemy. What gets scheduled gets done. I would suggest starting small, you can decide to take a task based approach or a time based. If you are the type to take on too much and always try to do too much too soon, I would recommended taking the time based approach where you commit to doing something for a specific time and when the time is up you continue with other work. The advantage of this method is that sometimes we can get bogged down and badly estimate the time a job is going to take us. If we are not finished when the time we have allocated for it is up, frustration sets in and it may leave you with a negative taste in your mouth. Never try too much too soon.


I decided I don’t need to scan everything right now. The challenge has encouraged me to avoid filing paper and scan it in where relevant. I have reduced my incoming mail by ensuring all bills etc are electronic. I either scan or dump most paper that comes my way. I realised that scanning in all old material may not be the smartest use of my time. Yes it would be nice to have it all digital but I will wait until I buy a new scanner with multiple copy facility so that I won’t be wasting time. It has encouraged me to look through the folders I have and eliminate any paper that I no longer need. Part 1 of the Paperless Challenge is going to plan, I will keep you informed of progress.

Have you taken the plunge? Do you have any advice or comments?

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Comments (6)

If only I could convince my partner that this is the way to go… he is so old skool! 🙂

I am slowly moving us over to paperless bills, one bill at a time, I am hoping he will warm up to it eventually.

In my business, I only print material that needs to be in my “company files” everything else is electronic.

I am going to move to paper in one area and that is having copy of all important papers that I can pick up in the case of an emergency that limits power. But only the most important things like the house and life insurance.

Good Luck!

Thank Lori, I think that is a good tactic, to work on perfecting one area before trying to tackle it all. Best of luck with your challenge I hope you continue to make good progress throughout the rest of 2013

Awareness is the key. Like Lori’s partner I am still a little old school.
But I have changed a few habits over the past couple of years using the steps you advise.
First I become aware of the problem, when it occurs and how I contribute.
I then take baby steps like cleaning out one drawer.
I’ll start by noticing, then have a look at evernote.

Good for you Ciara for taking this on! Serious challenge! I’ve been going more and more paperless with everything that is incoming (my move to much smaller quarters has helped with that.) But the idea of scanning in all my old stuff is more than daunting.) I think for me the task is to reduce the incoming paper as much as possible, digitizing whatever I can.
That said – I am still printing out material sometimes for courses. Occasionally I just want to get away from the screen to read and study. The good part is that I know I don’t have to keep these printouts forever unless i really want. I do have digital versions.
I love Evernote and did not realize they had that scanning feature. That is awesome. Thanks for these great tips. Look forward to following along this series and learning more!

That;s the right way to start Sarah with the incoming mail, it gives you a sense that something is changing and you are preventing the rot from continuing. I know what you mean about printing things out to study or read it is very tempting for me too but as you say if you have to you don’t have to keep it forever, you can use Evernote to take notes on it and recyclable it later

Priska, I love that word noticing ever since I did the course with Dave rowley of a Small Field on noticing it always means so much more to me, and yes noticing is a good place to start. thanks for stopping by

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