In this current age, things are gradually going paperless, whether you like it or not. While going paperless is a hassle but that doesn’t mean it is hard, especially if you know the tools that will help you through it. There’re many tools out there that would make your work life easier, but there’re at least five essential tools to make it work.
For instance, think about the reasons why you’re still sticking to paper. Perhaps you’re still checking your to-do-list in a paper notebook. Or maybe you’re still relying on paper on running your business (brick & mortar). Generally, there are five types of tools, methods and services that we think are essential to drop paper which are:
- scanning tools,
- file-syncing services,
- e-signature tools,
- to-do apps and
- document delivery services.
We’ve provided an overview on each tool and why they’re necessary, as well as some recommendations for specific products you can get your hands on.
1. Scanning Tools
Scanning tools or apps are basically mobile apps that utilizes your phone’s camera by turning it into a scanner. The best scanning apps have the ability to automatically distinguish whether you’re scanning document pages or business cards or even images. Cropping tools are included like many photo editors. If the document you’re scanning have a few pages, they all will be saved into one file and if text are detected, the app will automatically scan a version which will make text more readable.
We recommend that Evernote Scannable app. But there’re plenty of good scanning apps as well, such as the Microsoft OneNote, which is an app built for taking notes and app synchronization, bundled with a scanning functionality as well.
2. File-Syncing Services
Arguably the most necessary tool to drop paper of all, file-syncing services makes documents available to you, regardless of devices you have. A few of the best file-syncing services also include document delivery options (explained later below).
Here’s a scenario where file-syncing services proved to be useful when going paperless. I was at a mall recently and am approached by a sales agent, whom asked me for my work address which I’ve faint memories off. I didn’t have any physical documents as proof. Then I remembered that I’d scanned a copy of my work address with my phone. I looked it up on my device and passed it on to the agent and he was satisfied.
The benefit of having a file-syncing program is that it allows you to save offline copies of your documents to your devices. So, it is always useful that you have a scanned copy of necessary documents in your devices, you never know when you would need them. Excellent examples of file-syncing services are popular ones like Dropbox and Google Drive.
3. E-signature Tools
Nowadays, digital version of documents are fast becoming mainstream as companies are moving towards the paperless method. Generally, companies that approach you through email will attach a digital copy of a document, like a PDF which requires your signature. However, you don’t have to print it out, fill in the details, sign it and scan it back to them, you can digitally sign it. Before you can digitally sign documents, you’ll have to create your signature first, which is most often the toughest part as normal people tend to have poor penmanship with a mouse, a finger on a touchscreen and even sometimes with a stylus. To overcome that, there’re some e-signature tools that only requires you to snap a picture of your signature and upload it. Once you create your signature, you can then proceed to sign digital documents.
Some popular examples of e-signature tools are Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat.
4. To-Do Apps
Forget about your to-do list notebook. Thinking about it, carrying it around is actually pretty troublesome and using a digital to-do apps in your device is so much more efficient, and you can even do things a physical notebook can’t. You can’t do complicated things, like rearranging the order or erasing it. But with a digital to-do list, you can do the impossible, erase your data without the need of a new page.
If you have multiple devices, don’t worry as digital to-do lists sync across all devices and can be shared to others. Generally, to-do lists have all the tools to help you organize and better manage your time. You can also get reminders and alerts when you use a to-do app on your device, never worry about forgetting your anniversary that night again.
A few favorites and recommended to-do lists we would recommend to you are Any.do, Todoist and Wunderlist. Usually, to-do apps have free versions, but if you like it, they offer paid premium ones as well. You have to pay a little to get all the features you desired, but free normal versions are always better than your notebook.
5. Document Delivery Services
As mentioned above, file-syncing programs include document delivery options too, and now we’re gonna talk about it. While many people deliver digital documents copies by email attachments, it isn’t necessary the best way to do it. The thing is, by sending files through email, you hardly get the chance to know when or if the recipient got them and you’re also limited with size limitations or your document copies would have a downgraded quality as emails downgrades the quality of your documents from the original.
Many file-syncing services and cloud storage programs offer you a better way in handling file sharing. Most often, you drag the files you want on the syncing program and click to get a shareable link and send it to your desired recipients. Once your recipients receive the link, then have the option of View only, Edit only or both depending on your actions. Depending on the program you chose, and whether it’s the free or paid version, you could have the option to know whether the person have accessed the file or even downloaded it. Dropbox and Google Drive, two popular services as mentioned above, have a load of these features.
Go Paperless Now
One final advice, start today and look forward to the benefit that you could have when you go paperless. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not asking you ditch paper completely, but you should digitize whatever backlog of paper you have for easier transaction and interactions. You should also opt for apps that will benefit your business or your everyday purpose in the long run. (P.S. Apps available on both iOS & Android devices)
What are you waiting for? Take your first step in going paperless with these wireless devices and take a stop close towards your paper-free office!
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