Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Paper Free Office

Well, I'm not paper free but I'm well on my way. Its bothered me for a long time that my drawers fill up with paperwork, they're not very secure (we have a lot of animals so there are always people with access to the house) and I have no easy way of finding the papers and even with a reasonable paper filing system its a pain to manage. So I looked around for a while and eventually found the answer -- the Fujitsu ScanSnap 510M  Mac version, there's one for the PC too).

The 510M is fast, scans double sided, and does it in color. It can save to PDF (my preferred approach), do OCR (turn scans into text and does surprisingly well at it), print, email etc. So now when papers come in I drop them in the scanner (by the way its small and you can fill it with papers to scan) it scans them and I shred them. My family makes fun of my shredding. And now, with the scanner/shredder combination, I find my high power cross-cut shredder (yes I drool over the confetti ones, nut that I am) can't keep up -- thats right, I scan faster than I can shred.

So all paperwork with any potential value gets scanned (anything from business cards to tax returns) and then into the shredder it goes. If I need it back I print and it comes back in the full color glory it originally had. My drawers no longer fill and I have a nice tidy filing approach on my mac (in an encrypted disk image). 

So I no longer have to deal with the paper once I initially process it, its much more secure, and I can even get at my paperwork when i'm on the road (via ssh etc).

Now I think about the backlog. I must resist. Too much scanning/shredding. I must resist...