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Planning a Paperless Office (with David Sparks' Paperless)

I’ve thrown myself into setting up a full-on paperless office. My impetus was , of course, David Sparks’ book Paperless and, to put a completely nerd-related point on it, I plan on putting together a workflow using iThoughts HD tonight.

David’s book finally got me moving on this whole idea it because it provides clear examples and some good tactics for dealing with the issues that have always nagged at me:

  • What is the best format to store documents for longevity’s sake? Will I be able to open all of the documents I spent time scanning 10 years from now? Will I even want to bother?
  • What is the best scanner? Creating a frictionless setup is key to using something long term, so getting a scanner that fulfils the requirement of “easiest device ever” is something I’ve done a lot of research on. Macsparky had some good ideas there.
  • How should I store, process, name and backup my documents? These are very well handled in Paperless and were worth the price of the book alone.

What I’ve come up with will end up being an amalgam of ideas. Some of them are concepts I’ve been storing in OmniFocus over the last few months in a project called “Go Paperless” (which has been “on hold” since the day I created it) but many were derived or enforced by my reading of Paperless.

Some of the alternate ideas I will likely incorporate in my setup are things I’ll likely describe in an upcoming post, once everything is working well. Things like using Knox from Agilebits, creating a naming taxonomy that is similar to David’s but builds on many of the things I’ve talked about in other posts, integrating an online backup tools to augment my Time Capsule and others might provide some use for people who are still teetering on the edge of creating their own paperless solution.

Paperless was a quick read (it just took me an evening) but it had lots of well-done screencasts and lots of photography which enhances every chapter. Go check it out, reduce the amount of clutter in your life and look for a post on this site for some extensions to David’s concepts and alternate solutions which may fit more into your workflow.