I don’t use physical paper any more except for documents I must keep as original files. This results in one small drawer in my desk holding all of my paper. It took me a while to develop a paperless office, but I have achieved the goal. Let me tell you my process . . .
Evernote, in tandem with my Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner, made my paperless dream a reality. I’ll divide this post into two sections: (1) An explanation of how I use Evernote, and (2) An explanation of how I use my scanner within Evernote.
How I Use Evernote
Evernote is my digital brain. If you’re not familiar with it, I will not attempt to re-create the wheel. You simply need to read what the godfather of Evernote, Michael Hyatt, has written about it. Also, you may want to check out Dr. Brandon Park’s article, “Evernote in Ministry: 10 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Use It” and Ron Edmondson’s eBook (it’s only $2), A Guide to Evernote for Pastors.
I organize my Evernote into a few notebooks: Bills, Personal, Highland Park, Tennessee Temple, Camp Joy, WDYN, Illustrations, Scripture Files, Jeremy Sermon Manuscripts, Other Sermon Manuscripts, and General. Within my notebooks, I use “tags” to more clearly organize each file.
Here’s an example of a new file: On Sundays, after the service, my Executive Pastor hands me a stack of cards with contact information of all of the visitors from the morning. Before I go to lunch, I scan the cards into one Evernote file, place it in the Highland Park notebook, name it Visitor Cards, ______ (date), and use the tag “Visitors.” Then, I “share” the note by emailing it to my staff. This way, I have it in my Evernote and I can call our guests from that day while I’m driving to my lunch appointment on Sunday or on my way home from church that night.
What is awesome about Evernote is that I have it synced on my MacBook, iPhone, iPad, and can access it via the web from nearly anywhere. Last night, I needed to know the appraisal value of the Highland Park Asbury Chapel, so in the middle of a meeting, I grabbed my phone, searched “Asbury,” and immediately pulled up the information. You see, all words, whether in a .jpg, .doc, .pdf, or typed directly into the note, are searchable.
If you want to go paperless, Evernote is the way to go!
How I Use ScanSnap with Evernote
Ok, you know how I organize my files (in Evernote), but how do you take a piece of paper and make it simple to scan it, put it into Evernote, then go through the aforementioned process?
You should buy a Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner (I have the S1300). It scans directly into Evernote. When I scan something, it immediately goes into Evernote, then all I do with the new note is give it a title, put it into a notebook, and tag it. It takes a maximum of 30 seconds.
Especially if you want to take all of your paper files, like I did, and just spend hours scanning and organizing, ScanSnap is really your only logical option.
Sure, this scanner is expensive ($295), but it scans double-sided, is mobile, and efficient. I put it into my messenger bag with my laptop quite often.
Few workdays go by without using this scanner. After my MacBook, it is the best purchase I’ve made in my office.
Now that I am paperless, and I have the platinum edition of Logos, all of my files, and over 900 of my theological and linguistic books are all on my MacBook, iPhone, and iPad. Life is completely different now. My process is streamlined, my office is lean, I can work from anywhere, and I’m way more efficient.
Have questions? Ask away in the comments.