Going Paperless: Scanning

going paperless scanning

 

Scanners are a popular way to make paper disappear. With more affordable scanners, many homes and offices are purchasing these as an alternative for paper files.  You can scan paper, expenses, receipts, photos and more with a scanner.  It’s a great way to eliminate paper clutter and its easier to find information too!

 

Getting started

There are many options for scanning.  The apps GeniusScan and DocScan are available on you smartphone.  Fujitsu and Neat offer portable wand scanners and desk top scanners.  Multifunction machines are equipped with flat bed and feed scanners.  The most important part is to get started right away by hooking up and testing your equipment.  Many times I find equipment still in boxes years after purchase.  Just jump in!

 

Setting up

Getting a good system in place makes organizing easier.  Start setting up a consistent folder system before you scan  your first document.  Write out a list or create a mind map of the information to retrieve in your documents.  Like with paper files, more general folder names are best to start. Inside these folders you can create more specific files.

For home

  • Home and Auto
    • Auto Repair
    • Home Repair
  • Financial
    • Banking
    • Utilities and Monthly bills
    • Investment
    • Retirement
    • Life Insurance
  • Personal
    • Dad medical
    • Mom medical
    • Susie medical
    • Susie school
    • Johnny medical
    • Johnny school

For the office

  • Clients
  • Vendors
  • Administrative
    • Corporate formation
    • Permits and licenses
  • Financial
    • Banking
    • Expenses (by year)
      • Assets
      • Marketing
      • Office supplies

This is just a sample of categories to get you started.

Set up consistent naming of your documents.  Write out your options and decide on one naming convention.  You will be glad you took the time to create a plan for this.  Some examples include starting with the more general, to the more specific, and maybe with a date.

  • Utilities.Gas.1.14
  • Medical.Mom.14
  • Expenses.OfficeSupplies.14
  • Administrative.Incorporation

 

To be scanned spot

Not all paper needs to be scanned.   Using the triage method, go through your mail, kids’ papers, receipts and other papers to decide what will be scanned.  Establish a bin, folder, or tray for items to be scanned.  By designating this spot, you are creating a baby step to get started scanning.

 

Scanning routines

The best organizing revolves around good routines.  Now that you know what you want to scan, set aside time once a week or once a month to scan.  Mark your calendar to remind you of your “appointment”.   This is also a task that can be delegated to your high school student.

 

It’s important to have your computer backed up regularly.  You can use a cloud based service like Carbonite or an external hard drive. Either way, nightly back up is best.  You will be sure your documents are safe.

 

As fun as scanning is, try not to over do the fun!  It’s hard not to scan too much, but less is more!

 

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“Eliminate that which is worthless”

organizing quote

October Tax Deadline is here

Small business October Tax Deadline

 

You cringe as you realize your small business tax deadline is here! Wasn’t it just April and you realized that the 15th was around the corner?  Postponing tax filing was an easy decision to make.  And now ~ it’s the real deadline. It’s a necessary evil, but it can be easier.  The October 15th tax deadline is just around the corner.

 

Know the papers you need

The first step is always knowing what you need.  Some of this information can sound like a foreign language.  Do a little research and start with a checklist for these papers can help.

Filing status is different for many small businesses.

  • For corporations, an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax identification number, is used to identify tax reports to the IRS.
  • For sole proprietorships, use your social security number.

Income can be found on your bank statement, invoices or sales receipts.  These include:

  • Wages and salary
  • Self – employment income
  • Consulting

Expenses  can be found in your credit card purchases, debit and bank statements, and vendor statements.

  •  Automobiles
  • Bad debts
  • Depreciation
  • Employee compensation
  • Home office
  • Insurance
  • Interest
  • Legal and professional fees
  • Pension plans
  • Rent
  • Taxes
  • Travel, meals and entertainment

The IRS has many resources to help you decide on small business expenses.

Find the papers online

It may be difficult to gather these papers together.  However, with online banking and online access to your credit card statements, you can consolidate this information.  If you use QuickBooks and have gotten behind, you can download information to your banking and credit card accounts instead of manually entering it.

 

Getting assistance

It may feel completely overwhelming to gather all your information. Not to worry! There’s help at hand! Professional organizers and Daily Money Managers often come in to assist you in gathering all this information.  Your accountant can send you a tax worksheet from previous years to remind you about this information.

 

Keep papers digitally

Keeping a digital copy of this information can ease your stress too.  Neat Receipts or Neat Connect (sponsored link) scan in your information and help you with tax categories. As you find receipts in your papers, scan these and categorize. Keep all your information together  and accessible.  Scanned information can also be exported into QuickBooks, TurboTax and Excel.

Struggling with your personal taxes too?  It’s the October tax deadline, but with a few other papers to find.  However, these same online and digital resources are available.

Happy Fall Y’All! 5 Tips for Fall Organizing

5 tips for fall organizing

 

Sad to see summer go?  Tired of the heat? Happy for the change of seasons? Looking forward to that first fall day? It’s that transition time, mostly known as Indian Summer, where we welcome fall.   Take advantage of this transition time by organizing at your home and office.  It’s time for fall organizing!

 

  • It’s time to start and end activities.  Put away your summer swim bag, the sunscreen and goggles.  Create a bag or notebook for kids’ school papers or new responsibilities like homeroom mom.   Right away you will have a spot for all those papers.

 

  • Freshen up your clothes.  Look through your closet and let go of clothes you did not wear this season.  Put them in a shopping bag and immediately drop these off at a donation location. Do the same for your kids clothes and get their drawers  in great shape for school time.   Everyone will be happier and less stressed getting ready in the morning.

 

  • Host your family meeting and go over family responsibilities at home. Perhaps chores got lax this summer or everyone wants to shift chores.  Take 15 minutes to write out your chore chart and place it where everyone sees it each day.  Include homework time in your chore chart daily.  Plan some end of summer fun and check in about upcoming Halloween plans for your family.

 

  • Set aside an hour to freshen up your office.  It takes just a few focused minutes to eliminate all the extra paper and other stuff that has accumulated this summer.  It could be shoes to take home, resources you no longer need or books to return to colleagues.  Taking just an hour to refresh your space helps you be more efficient and effective at your desk.

 

  • Think through your daily routines at home and work.   Start a new strategy for handling the biggest time takers, such as email and paper management.   Decide on a pattern for when and how long you will get these tasks done daily.  Getting a fresh perspective and a great routine helps you get these tasks done more easily.

 

The change of seasons helps us take advantage of refreshing our spaces.  It energizes our organizing!

 

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It’s Not About Having it All

Jean Chatsky It's Not about having it all

Going Paperless: Online resources

paperless resources

 

You don’t have to struggle with so many papers. In a recent survey by Neat, 57% of workers  reported frustration with paper and believed there are better paper management tools.  There are many online resources that help you start going paperless.  Computer  and smartphone apps make it easy to share documents, work from a common agenda, collect personal documents and keep receipts for taxes.  Check out these 8 resources for going paperless.

 

 

File this

Automating your paper management can resolve your paper challenges.  File this Fetch automatically collects, files, tags, and organizes your online documents, bills, and statements in an easy to use digital filing cabinet.  Each month it “fetches” your documents and loads onto your computer.

 

Shoeboxed

Remove paper clutter by scanning your receipts with the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker. Simply snap a photo of each receipt with your phone’s camera and it will be digitized and uploaded to your Shoeboxed account.  Let go of receipts once these are digitized.

 

GeniusScan

Genius Scan is a camera-based document scanner for the iPhone. It enables you to quickly scan documents on the go and email the scans as JPEG or PDF with multiple pages.   Easy way to share documents with your colleagues, team members or other parents.

 

DocScan

Scan a picture with your smartphone camera. Export your documents to Dropbox, Evernote, Box.net, SkyDrive, WebDAV, and Google Docs to save them.

 

Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Upload this tool to your  computer and use it to save photos, files and folders.  Share information with colleagues, friends,  and family by sending a link. Share documents between your laptop and your desktop too.

If you have ever lost important files because of a hard drive failure or if you have forgotten an important presentation file because you couldn’t find your thumb drive, you know the importance of backups. Dropbox provides file-backup services for your desktop to deal with these scenarios by automatically backing up your files. It also grants online access to your files when you are away from your desktop.Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8261020_upload-dropbox.html
If you have ever lost important files because of a hard drive failure or if you have forgotten an important presentation file because you couldn’t find your thumb drive, you know the importance of backups. Dropbox provides file-backup services for your desktop to deal with these scenarios by automatically backing up your files. It also grants online access to your files when you are away from your desktop.Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8261020_upload-dropbox.html

 

Evernote

Create digital notebooks on your smartphone and computer.  Write notes to yourself, collect information from scraps of paper, or send notes to your clients.  Whatever paper you want to eliminate and whatever information you want to keep, Evernote can keep it for your digitally.

 

Google docs

Share files and information with your team. With Google Docs, a free service run through Gmail, you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet.  Create and share your work online and access your documents from anywhere. Manage documents, spreadsheets, presentations, surveys, and more all in one easy to use spot.  Google docs is great for virtual meetings and agendas too.

 

Neat Connect

NeatConnect scans paper into digital files and sends them straight to the cloud – without a computer. At home or at the office, NeatConnect uses the Neat Desk to scan receipts, tax documents, and other important papers.  Access these documents from wherever.

 

 

Choose one of these resources to help you get started going paperless! Not sure what to scan?  Check out this resource.

More ideas on paper management on my pinterest page Paper, Paper Everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tackle Your To Do List

To Do List

 

Is your To Do list endless? Do you have too much to do and not enough time? Tackling your To Do List doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are a few tips and tricks to knock out your list.

 

Start with a great way to make your list.

 

There is too much to remember to keep your list in your head. There are many ways to create your list. A small spiral notebook you can carry with you makes a great spot to record actions. You can use post it notes, writing one task on each note, and post them on a wall or window. Apps like Remember the Milk, ToodleDo and Wunderlist keep your list on your smart phone. Whatever your tool, writing and recording a list helps tackle your tasks.

 

Be specific on  your list.   Write in the one next step.  Like David Allen recommends, be sure your list includes actionable items. It’s the one next step that will move you forward on that project, rather than the project itself.

 

 

Prioritize what’s on your list.

 

Establish 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) each day. What’s most important may be a task with a deadline or the first step of a long term project. You may not be able to complete your entire list, but you have started on what’s vital.

 

 

Do the one most important task first.

 

Life is complicated and unreliable. Remember that quote about eating dessert first? The only thing you can count on conquering in a day is the task you do first. This also requires you to put aside email until after you have completed a task.

 

Stay focused with a timer.

 

Set your timer for 15 – 30 minutes and work on a single project at a time. Research shows multi -tasking diminishes our productivity. You will be surprised at how much you accomplish when working on a single task at a time. A timer can be used at home, at the office, with your family or on your own.

 

If you are feeling overwhelmed at home or at work, spend a few minutes making and prioritizing your To Do List. Starting your day with a plan makes all the difference in feeling effective and productive.

 

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Going Paperless: Eliminating paper

 

paperless

 

 

Have you decided that there is too much paper in your home or office?  Thinking about making a small change with paper in your home or office?

According to a survey by Esselte, “88% of those responding felt that technology has helped them get organized.”

Are you thinking about going paperless?  There are several small steps you can start.   Eliminating paper that comes into your home or office is a great first step.  Transitioning paper immediately into a digital format is a small step in eliminating paper too.

 

Eliminate catalogs with www.catalogchoice.org

  • Create a free account and select the catalogs you receive.
  • Manage unwanted mail, phone books, and more
  • Decline catalog mailings when you shop online

 

Eliminate manuals and instructions

  • Find information online by product name and appliance number
  • Check on youtube.com for a video
  • Scan instructions and save to Neat cloud (sponsored link)
  • Check out www.homezada.com for maintenance checklists

Eliminate paper with online accounts

  • Set up an account with your health care provider for online access to your explanation of benefits from your medical insurance.
  • Set up online banking for your checking, savings and investment accounts.  Save the PDF version in a Banking (by year) folder.

 

 Eliminate scraps of paper

  • Are there lots of post it notes, backs of envelopes and other bits of paper around?
  • Set up an Evernote account to record these.
  • You can even take a picture of the paper and tag it in Evernote.

 

Going paperless does not happen overnight. But with small, consistent strategies and tools you can have less and less paper!

 

 

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“It takes as much energy to wish as to plan”

organizing quotes

A Productive Day starts the Night before

productivity

 

As funny as it sounds, a productive day starts the night before. Why? Because mornings are crazy and people are cranky!  There’s no time when you accidentally get up late because you or your family hit snooze.  The key to productivity is setting yourself up for success the night before.

 

Make a list

What are essential tasks that need to be done for the next day?

  • Set out clothes
  • Pack drinks, snacks or lunch
  • Charge electronics

Make a check list for you and your family to be sure these are done at night.  Post the list where each person can see it, such as a bathroom mirror.  Your list can include a spot for check marks too so you are sure you completed each step.

 

Get ready early

Getting a great night’s rest starts by getting ready early.

  • Start your kids’ off at an earlier bath, story and bedtime and you will enjoy a few minutes of extra solitude.
  • Get in your jammies way ahead of time or no later than an hour before bed.
  • Plan on 7 – 8 hours of rest for everyone.

Set your alarm and you will be surprised at how great you feel the next day. Now is the time for you bedtime procrastinators to get great shut- eye.

 

Work as a team

Get buy in from your family with a family meeting. Talk about the value of a great night’s rest and working together to have a great day.

  • Kids can help pack lunches.
  • Have a laundry party to get everyone to take their clean clothes back to their rooms.
  • Make dinner super simple so there are no dishes.
  • No team? Use technology, automation and other delegation to help.  This can look like buying precut fruits and veggies, using reminders on your smart phone, or dropping your dry cleaning off each week on the same day.

 

Getting started the night before allows for the “oops” factor.  Some thing may go wrong in the morning. But you have it covered if you start the night before.

 

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