The Elu­sive Pa­per­less Of­fice

Best Apps for Elim­i­nat­ing Pa­per Waste

iPhone Life Magazine - - Productivity - By Daniel W. Ras­mus

Be­fore the days of iPhone and iPads, the pa­per­less of­fice was noth­ing more than a myth­i­cal fan­tasy—an idea that was great in the­ory, but im­pos­si­ble in prac­tice. But with the help of a grow­ing num­ber of iOS apps, to­day, re­duc­ing pa­per waste is a much more fea­si­ble en­deavor.

While you may not suc­ceed at get­ting rid of all of your pa­per, if you keep at it, you will find less mess clut­ter­ing your workspace, and per­haps more clar­ity in the process.

Cap­tur­ing & Record­ing

Tra­di­tional note-tak­ing re­quires pa­per, mean­ing you can lose your notes far too eas­ily. Re­gard­less of plat­form, Ever­note (free, $5/month for Pre­mium) is the ul­ti­mate place to store your stuff, from re­search for your next novel to col­lec­tions of recipes and fa­vorite blogs. Many of the apps I've listed here de­liver their con­tent ef­fort­lessly to Ever­note. This use­ful app also lets you cap­ture and search busi­ness cards so you can stop bring­ing them home from meet­ings and con­fer­ences. Ever­note also lets you clip and or­ga­nize in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cles, or you can try In­stapa­per (free).

Dig­i­tize Your Pa­per Trail

If you want to ex­pe­ri­ence a truly mag­i­cal app, look no fur­ther than Pos­tit Plus (free) by 3M. It cap­tures white­boards and flip charts filled with Post-it Notes, cre­ates ed­itable ver­sions on your iOS de­vice, and it ex­ports to Drop­box or Ever­note.

An­other way to turn your good old­fash­ioned notes into dig­i­tal records is with a Live­scribe 3 smart­pen (start­ing at $149.95), which mag­i­cally trans­fers

your writ­ten words to the Live­scribe + app (free), so you can cap­ture notes, then re­cy­cle the pa­per. Live­scribe pens also work with NoteShelf ($5.99), a one-stop app that turns hand­writ­ten notes and PDFs into can­vases for an­no­ta­tion and markup.

Task Man­age­ment

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, the best way to avoid pa­per is to pick one dig­i­tal task manager and stick with it—oth­er­wise you may re­lapse into writ­ing notes by hand. Ap­ple in­cludes Re­minders in iOS, but I use Om­niFo­cus 2 for iPhone ($19.99), which in­te­grates bidi­rec­tion­ally with the cal­en­dar (for more on Om­niFo­cus, see pg. 54). The key fea­ture for me is con­text, which lets me know what projects and tasks I should work on based on my lo­ca­tion and meet­ing sched­ule.

Read­ing: Mag­a­zines, Books, and News

One ob­vi­ous way to go pa­per­less is to move your read­ing into the dig­i­tal realm. While I still pre­fer hold­ing a good novel in my hands, I can't say the same for the busi­ness book de jour or the ephemeral mag­a­zine.

I pre­fer to read busi­ness books via the Kin­dle app (free) and mag­a­zines on Zinio (free). Comic book afi­ciona­dos will also find Comics (free) by Comixol­ogy to be an es­sen­tial.

Flip­Board (free) takes popular news and so­cial me­dia feeds and trans­forms them into im­age-heavy dig­i­tal mag­a­zines, while LinkedIn Pulse (free) of­fers a more brows­able en­vi­ron­ment fea­tur­ing con­tent from ma­jor pub­li­ca­tions.

Sub­scribe to the news­pa­per just for the tech­nol­ogy ads? Down­load flipp (free) and get dig­i­tal copies of weekly deals with­out the rest of the pa­per.

Bank­ing & Ac­count­ing

I use my First Tech app (free) to make de­posits, track bal­ances, and make trans­fers. If you sell things, con­sider Square Reg­is­ter (free) to turn your de­vice into a pa­per­less point-of­sale ter­mi­nal, and PayPal (free) to keep track of what you sold.

Writ­ing down pass­words is a waste of pa­per and isn't se­cure. I haven't done that for years be­cause of eWal­let ($9.99). Sure, your web browser now keeps most pass­words handy, but they may not cap­ture items like fre­quent flyer num­bers and membership cards. eWal­let brings it all to­gether in an en­crypted file that also syn­chro­nizes with Macs, PCs, and iCloud.

Pa­per­less Travel

TripIt (free) or­ga­nizes all of my travel records in one place so I don't have to fum­ble for the car reser­va­tion af­ter ar­riv­ing at the air­port. Tick­ets are also a thing of the past, thanks to apps from air­lines such as Alaska, Amer­i­can, Al­le­giant, and Delta (all free), com­bined with Ap­ple's Pass­port, which al­lows in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers to sim­ply show their phones at se­cu­rity and board­ing.

If you typ­i­cally write out long lists be­fore a trip, down­load Pack­ing Pro ($2.99), which pro­vides a cus­tom­iz­a­ble list that will re­mind you of essen­tials you wouldn't have thought to pack.

Cre­at­ing PDFs

I use scan­ning apps at con­fer­ences to cap­ture sales lit­er­a­ture and pro­gram guides. ABBYY Fine Scan­ner (free) does a great job of cap­tur­ing con­tent and in­te­grat­ing it with var­i­ous file sys­tems. Its big brother on the Mac helps when you want to take pa­per­less to the next level.

Post-It Plus pro­cesses your notes into a vir­tual board that you can edit

and amend.

In­stapa­per lets you clip your fa­vorite web pages, elim­i­nat­ing the need to print ar­ti­cles. In­voke In­stapa­per from the Sa­fari Share menu to

in­stantly save.

ABBYY Fine Scan­ner cap­tures doc­u­ments with your iPhone's cam­era and sup­ports a va­ri­ety of post-cap­ture edit­ing tools to en­sure an

ap­pro­pri­ate look.

Email your travel con­fir­ma­tions to plans@tripit,com and Tripit will store

all of your travel plans in one place

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