Reader Story: Connected And Synchronized

Reader Story: Connected And Synchronized


This post is part of the paperless stories feature at DocumentSnap. Some stories are from readers that have successfully gone paperless, some are still going through it. Would you like to share your story too?

Today’s featured DocumentSnap reader is John Kendrick.

Synchronize Everything

One of my long-time goals was to become paperless in my business and personal life. I spent a lot of time traveling and got tired of lugging papers and a laptop back and forth across the country. The purpose of having a PIM on my laptop and my mobile devices is to remain connected and synched 24/7. I never want to be without my personal or client information and my GTD task lists.

While my digital set-up is explained below, the real defining moment came last year when I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner and its related software, which is a wonderful capture device, and much better than my HP 3 in 1 printer/scanner/fax machine. The ScanSnap is the final link in my paperless chain. I scan all paper documents (invoices, checks, contracts, etc. for all my clients) to either Evernote, to my task list, or to a subdirectory on my laptop.

The ScanSnap scanner itself and the included software tools couldn’t be easier to use. I did purchase The Unofficial ScanSnap Guide and found the information contained in the book made my workflow even more efficient.

The following set up keeps me all synched up and ready to address practically anything anytime, and answer any question anytime. Further, these devices allow me to have a method to record (either typing or voice recording) tasks close at hand all the time (phone and/or iPad). As a result I have no need for paper and I only need a pen to sign the occasional check that I don’t send through electronic banking.

The table below shows what software I use on which device. The footnotes below the table explain a bit more about the software and synching.

ScanSnap Capture Workflow

  1. I use Toodledo to synch tasks and notes between the laptop, iPad and iPhone. I’ve used the Getting Things Done methodology for about 10 years now.
  2. Calendar and contacts are synched between the laptop, iPad and iPhone using the Apple tether/powercord using iTunes. iTunes does not synch tasks, so I must use Toodledo.
  3. Note Taker HD on the iPad/iPhone allows me to annotate PDF documents, which comes very handy in my line of work. This app also lets me take a quick note using my finger as a pen.
  4. I use SugarSync because once I upload a file (or a directory with files in it) to SugarSync, updates from any device are automatically saved to SugarSync and no further synching action is required on my part.
  5. I also back up locally using a portable hard drive.

The synching of Outlook to the mobile devices is not the handiest, although I’m sure someone will come up with a method to synch all of Outlook’s various functions in the cloud. The two step synching process aside, I have more trouble via iTunes synching than with Toodledo. But I never have to re-record anything from one device to another.

I purchased annual subscriptions to Toodledo and Evernote. SugarSync is free for now as I have not exceeded their 5 GB’s of free storage. The annual subscriptions were purchased as I want to be able to fully synchronize all data, and don’t want to be constrained by the limited features of free software.

I’ve been a long-time user of Adobe Acrobat and scan /assemble many documents using this software tool. Anything I get in paper, gets scanned almost immediately using my ScanSnap.

I have no selling or ownership interest in any of the hardware or software companies named above. My goal is to throw away paper, pens, and pencils. For the first time ever, these devices and the related software finally get me virtually there.

Thanks John, I love how you have all the pieces of the puzzle working together. Very cool.

If you have questions for John, leave a comment and I will try to get them answered.

(Photo by seier+seier)

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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