Going Paperless For The Win

Going Paperless For The Win

PNE PrizesIn the past week, I’ve had two instances where going paperless has come in very handy.

Neither of these are earth shattering in and of themselves, but they are examples of little things over time that can add up to make life easier when you can find what you need, when you need it.

“Did You Send In Your Registration?”

This year, we are putting my youngest son in a new preschool. His cousin previously went there, and his other cousin will be going with him this year. Also, my oldest son did a daycamp there, so we know the place somewhat well.

A week ago, my sister-in-law asked us if we’d be attending the open house on the weekend to meet the teachers, ease the kids in, etc. Our response was “what open house?”

I didn’t think too much about not receiving notification at the time, because we live in a townhouse complex and it is not unheard of for physical mail to be delivered to the wrong house. So on the weekend, we went to the school.

When we got there, one of the owners took me aside. “Umm, did you send in your registration forms? Did you send in post-dated checks or a pre-authorized payment form?”

It’s safe to say that “did you send in your registration forms?” is not a sentence you want to hear a week before school is supposed to start.

I started second-guessing myself. It was way back in February. Did we send it in? Did we give it to my sister-in-law or something? How did we pay?

I whipped out my iPhone and fired up the Dropbox app and typed in the name of the school in the search box. Sure enough, up came the signed registration forms that I had scanned in. The PDF was too large for the Dropbox app to handle properly, but I was able to open it in GoodReader.

I showed it to the school, and then they remembered receiving it. “Ohh right, you sent us an electronic copy. I thought it was so cool how you had filled out the PDF without having to write on it.” Thank you PDFPen for that.

I used the Dropbox app to create a link and re-send it to them there, and the problem was solved.

By the way, as far as I know, the Dropbox app only searches by filename, not file contents. This demonstrates the importance of naming your files well.

Saving Money With Evernote

Once a year, Vancouver has a big fair called the PNE, and yesterday evening we decided to head down there as a family. I was at home, my wife was at work, and the kids were at their grandparents’.

Like most of these types of events, tickets to get in are expensive, and being cheap I wanted to save money.

I was running late to pick up the kids, and just as I was heading out the door, I had this vague recollection that my son’s elementary school had some sort of discount.

I fired up Evernote, did a global search using the ^⌘E keyboard shortcut, and typed “PNE”. The first result that popped up was the last school newsletter of last year that I had scanned to Evernote, and sure enough, near the bottom was a discount code for the PNE. I punched it in, and saved $10. Yeah!

In this case, having the document searchable via OCR made finding information that I never would have put in the filename possible.

How About You?

So, those are two simple of examples that have happened to me over the last week of how useful it can be to have your documents scanned, named properly, and searchable. Do you have any similar stories? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

(Photo by www.metaphoricalplatypus.com)

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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