As I wrote here, I have moved on to a new role which has my working environment much more fluid. Being an iPad “fan” I had hoped to use my new iPad 2 as my main means of getting stuff done while away from my desk. Yes, I struggled with CloudOn and other like-apps, but I figured for most things the iPad should suffice until I take the step of investing in a new Mac Air. Well, after a month in the new role I have some updates to report.
In starting a new job I have been given the opportunity to build a new filing system from scratch. For the past few years I have slowly transitioning away from a paper-based filing system to an electronic one with Evernote. This transition has resulted in a physical filing cabinet staying static in size now for over a year while my Evernote database has grown to over 3000 notes! Fortunately for my replacement Evernote has a great export/import utility that allowed me to export all the notebooks related to my old job so that my replacement could import all of them into his own Evernote database. This is great for him as he can now browse and search without having to waste time flipping through a bunch of file folders. The other cool thing is that I was able to leave about 90% of my old files in my old office and move to my new one with about 1/2 of one drawer of stuff. So, in my new office I now have two large filing cabinets housing 1/2 of 1 drawer of files with the rest of the space dedicated to all the office clutter I could not part with.
So, how am I going to maintain this re-boot bliss with my iPad? Well, that is where the experient truly lies. I have written over the past few months about some cool ways to turn paper into electronic files. Check out this post about Genius Scan if you have not read it. But, to be honest I have relied more on the big Xerox multi-function printer/copier/scanner by my new office to transform whatever paper appears in my hands into notes in Evernote. The Xerox has a direct connection to our network and does not need me to log in like the HP by my old office. Now I just need to scan and email in 1 step…faster than Genius Scan and definitely faster than the HP. Once in email as a PDF I click on the Evernote button in Outlook and file appropriately in Evernote.
The left pile is now ready for recycling whereas the right pile is one HR-related document I don’t want to scan and a bound notebook from a conference I attended. Notice the paper-clip and binder detritus left over from my 5 minute scanning session. Now, all of this information is available on my iPad wherever I am, specifically in meetings or on the road.
Here is another great example of where my iPad is keeping my life simple and my briefcase empty. I am participating in a large development project that is very complex with a lot of moving parts. A co-worker has tamed this complexity by creating a giant binder to organize project materials. Would you rather refer to this giant notebook to find information or would you rather search in iPad via an Evernote Notebook and tags?
That’s the good…now, what have I learned? The reality is that even though I am quite good at typing on the iPad I still long for a real keyboard. As a result I am in the market for a good keyboard to use for heavy email sessions and document work. Check out this post here, specifically the comments for some of my thoughts as well as some great reader feedback. Check this out as well on Kickstarter, yet another interesting keyboard.
Even though I have used Evernote since I got my first iPad I still have lots to learn. It is great to scan and add everything into this virtual filing system it is quite another to find stuff when you really need it. Yes, a note should be easily findable via search, notebook and/or tag but the reality is that sometimes things are just difficult to find. I am considering picking up this eBook to bump up my Evernote skills…stay tuned for a future review.
I need a better way to manage multiple projects and tasks. I have toyed with different Evenote notebooks and different task lists in Outlook but so far I have not been successful in creating a truly trusted system…maybe the above eBook will help. A few online tools like Backpack come to mind but I am not comfortable putting many of my projects online. So, the search continues for a better process and tool.
In summary, my experiment into a paperless system with my iPad is a success. I feel that I can be instantly productive I wherever I am with my iPad now that everything I work in is electronically available. Now, I just need to perfect my processes…and I need a keyboard!
How is your iPad productivity process going?