My paperless home - Software support

Almost three weeks ago I blogged about My paperless home for the first time. I start with a little review about the hardware and then start with the basics of My paperless home.

Lexmark X6570 All-In-One printer

I told about my reasons for buying the Lexmark X6570 in my previous post. After I got the package I started installing the software just by following the instructions. The device also supports faxing, but as dump as I was, I didn't install the software part for faxing. So after setting everything up it was time to scan for the first time. The scan went well, and very fast also. But then I tried to export the scan to PDF, I clicked the appropriate button, and waited, no response. I tried a lot of things and was very disappointed. After an hour of trying a thought about reinstalling the software, this time the full package. After this I found out about the installation of ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint was being installed. I know about ABBYY FineReader as an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software package. And yes the reinstallation did it. I know was able to scan and export to PDF.

After scanning a lot pages I got trouble with the export to PDF button again. Closing the scan-software every once in a while helps.

Steps

I follow the following steps towards My paperless home.

  • Archive a set of documents, for each document do:
    • Scan or trash?
      • Scan the document to Inbox.
      • Or trash it.
    • Needs to be archived on paper?
      • Archive.
      • Or trash it.
    • Next
  • At a later time organize all the newly scanned documents using custom software into directory structure.

Directory / File structure

I have found out the following file structure to be probably best for my situation.

  • Base directory
    • Category - Subcategory
      • yyyy
        • yyyyMMdd - Organization - Subject.pdf

Besides this directory structure I already have a working version of Google Desktop. The PDF files generated are searchable (image on text) so I can very easily find the documents I need. Just by pressing CTRL two times and start typing some search text to find the document.

Custom software

imageI built a custom software program to support my own process of organizing the scanned documents. I just have to drop a file from my Scan Inbox, set some fields and click organize. I also have the ability to Preview a file, which automatically closes after Organizing. The categories and organizations can be typed manually but all categories and organizations in the archive are put in the lists also.

I build this using .NET 3.5, and besides a very handy piece of software I also applied some technologies to get to know them better. I applied things like: Extension Methods, LINQ and Dependency Injection using Unity.

Backup

titan-logo Off course it is very important to back up the scanned documents. Even though I keep some documents on paper as well. For backing up I found out about a very interesting software package called Titan Backup. This is a very nice solution, I made sure every time I shut down my machine my administration gets backed up.

I already scanned about 250 documents so I guess my scanning process works very well. More about My paperless home later.

My paperless home - Device support

Just store for reference later!

I've tried it before, years ago, it was when I got my first Scanner, a Canon flatbed scanner. I tried to become paperless. I scanned about 40 pages, but after this, I stopped. Why did I stop? It's not doable, every page needs to be scanned by hand, just too much work.

But what about now? I've looked into some devices lately. A lot of devices are now multifunctional printers, this does sound interesting. But still when looking into the different devices I found out, most of them are still equipped with a flatbed scanner. But looking into other more expensive devices I found there are some multifunctional printers that are equipped with a automated document feeder for multipage scanning.

In the end I found out about the Lexmark X6570 All-In-One printer. I just ordered it today. A few reasons to buy this device:

  • The price: Just around € 150,-
  • Multi-functional
  • Automated document feeder for 25 pages
  • Wifi support, wireless scanning and printing

Lexmark X6570 - All-In-One

I hope this Lexmark will help my family getting paperless. More about my paperless home after I received the device.

Getting Things Done: Learn from David Allen

Getting things done is extremely popular. But what's better than learning form David Allen himself.

What's the video, I really like it:

David Allen also has his own Weblog on The Huffington Post. Read his posts:

Getting Things Done: Organize

This article is going to be about the next core princple "Organize".

I've writen about the first two principles already, and after this principle we still have two more to do:

So what is organizing about? It's about the ability to use different lists for the things you have to do. It's a lot liking grouping the things to do by different things, like:

Next Actions: For every item in your todo list you need to decide what is the next task to take action on. Those are preferably organized by the context in which they can be done, like: at home, at the phone.

Projects:  Everything that has more than one task and belong together can be grouped in a project. I for example have a project 'Blog', this is an ongoing project, and everytime I think about a possible article I write it in my things to do list, file under 'Blog'.

By date: Most of your things to do will have a due date, or if it hasn't this is also a way of filing. For example most of my 'things to do for project blog' haven't got a due date. Just once in a while I look at them and pick one.

Waiting for: In your business life it is very well possible you have to wait for someone or something before you can start with your task. This could also be part of your organizing system.

I mostly organize my todo items by context, projects and date. I've never organized things by Waiting For. I think I might do this in the near future.

It's not only about productivity

Most of the time we want to be more productive. But it's not only about productivity. Sometimes we just have to realize what we do with our time. Did you ever realize how much time you are surfing on the net? And even did you realize how much of it is actually wasted? A few days ago read a post from Scott H Young about reclaiming 75%  of wasted net time.

Scott talks about his own solution. By creating an internet ritual he compressed his internet usage from two hours a day to thirty minutes. Just eliminated 75% of wasted internet time. I want to eliminate my wasted internet time also, so I try to create a ritual myself. The following steps are adviced by Scott.

1 - Make it daily

Find a specific time of the day you will leave for internet time.

2 - Prioritize

Write down your top ten sites you want to visit, and prioritize those.

3 - Queue it up

Queue this sites up in your browser toolbar. You now those sites at your fingertips.

4 - Set a time limit

Set yourself a time limit for browsing.

5 - Group all internet activity into one point

Try to group all the internet activity into one point. Just one hour to visit all sites is better, than 6 times 5 minutes to visit a few sites.

6 - Make it a habit

Try this ritual for thirty days to make it habit. 

So I do not only need to work more productive, I also need to watch on what I spend my time. Lesson learned, but now trying to make really use of this lesson.