I am always looking for ways to optimize the use of my time, and recently I’ve hit on a process that helps speed up getting papers scanned into Evernote. I call it my “Scan Now, Organize Later” method. And yes, it is as simple as it sounds. It works like this:
- Each evening, after I pick up the mail, I scan what paper I need into Evernote.
- If there is any other paper in my pile, in front of my scanner, I scan that in, too.
- Later, at some point in the future when I have time, I organize the scans, using a Saved Search to find the unprocessed scans that still need to be organized.
That’s it. If it sounds a little counter-intuitive, let me explain in a little more detail.
I am still using my trusty Fujitsu ScanSnap s1300i for all of my scanning at home. For this process of mine to work, I have made some changes to the defaults for how my scans get into Evernote. The first thing I did was change the file name format for the incoming scan in the ScanSnap manager:
Instead of using a date-based format, I use a counter-based format. And my format (as you can see from the screenshots above and below) preface the counter with “Scanned_”:
These settings make it easy for me to identify notes that I’ve scanned into Evernote and haven’t yet processed. They all go into my Inbox notebooks, of course, but a lot of stuff goes into my Inbox notebook for processing. Because the title of the scanned notes all start with “Scanned_” it makes them easy to find.
Finding the scanned notes
Usually, when I am scanning in the day’s paper (if there is any–often these days, there is none), I just want to get it scanned in and move on. I’ll organize it later. But to be able to organize it, I need to be able to find these notes in the clutter of all of my other notes. To do this, I’ve created a Saved Search called “Scanned Inbox.” My search looks like this:
What the search does is look for any notes in my Inbox notebook whose title begins with the word “Scanned.” The asterisk at the end of the search is what tells the search I’m looking for the word at the beginning of the title. Of course, this search will pick up any notes that have been titled Scanned_001, Scanned_002, etc. In other words, it identifies only those notes that I have scanned in. Now I have a way of easily finding those scanned documents that still need to be organized.