Experts estimate that around 80 percent of the paper that comes into your home is useless clutter. It builds up in stacks, eating away at your time, energy, and peace of mind.
In accordance with the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, the other 20 percent of paper that finds its way to you isn't just important — it's very important. These are the essential documents you too often can't seem to lay your hands on when you need them.
Scanning your documents can help, but not all digital organization systems are created equal. Here's you need to know about how to scan documents and keep them organized to tackle your paper clutter problems once and for all.
A Document Scanning Onlinerefers to a system that stores data digitally which can be tracked, managed and accessed online as well as offline. The primary purpose of this system is to make documentation digital and in terms of its secondary functions, it enables individuals to edit, delete and modify the scanned documents which would not be that easy if it was stored physically.
Many people do not understand the undertaking of getting your files scanned and converting them into a digital format. Here are some tips I will pass along to you and to think about.
- Know exactly how you want to be able to use your scanned documents.
- Always look into OCRing your documents.
- Research and analyze the cost of doing the scanning in-house versus outsourcing the job.
- Getting the file ready to be scanned, also known as prepping the file is something that should not be overlooked. It is very easy to miss a staple, sticky note, and other hindrances.
- Find the correct software to manage the documents that will be most cost-effective while being able to function to one’s needs.
- If you are scanning in-house, do not overlook the scanner. There are many out there, with multiple functions.
- Be as organized as you possibly can. It is very easy to lose one piece of paper if you are not being organized throughout the process.
- Always double-check the work of your employees and/or yourself.
- Index as many fields as you can for each scanned batch (PDF). This will only make it easier when you are searching for the file.
- Track what you have done. Write down who scanned what, who prepped the file, as well as where the file has gone.
Once you've narrowed your paper down to the things that have real value, you're ready to go digital. But digitizing without a plan is a recipe for disaster. To avoid turning paper clutter into digital clutter, follow these key rules.
1: Name Your Files the Same Way
Set up a simple method for naming your files and use it every time. There is no single right way to do this. What matters is that it works for you.
Consider including the year and keywords such as "receipt" or the name of the family member the document relates to. This will make it easy to retrieve your documents later.
2: Set up a Digital Filing System
As with file names, the important thing is that your system makes sense to you and that you follow it without exception. Create folders by year, for each family member, or by document category for ease of use.
3. Touch It Once
Let the popular "touch it once" rule save you time and energy. Scan and save your documents immediately upon opening them. If that isn't possible, schedule a time each week to batch-scan all the important paperwork you received that week.
This prevents documents from getting lost or damaged. It also ensures they are digitally accessible when you need them.
4. Save Safely
Save your documents to the cloud. If you must use non-cloud options, make sure that you have a backup system in place. Use appropriate password protection when necessary to keep your private documents safe.