Who would have thought in 1987 that within 30 years every game at the arcade could be encapsulated into a single handheld device? Or in 1997 that the movie Titanic could one day be viewed without needing to switch videotapes midway through? Even in 2007, when the first iPhone made its debut and wowed the world, humanity had no idea what technology would come up with within the next decade. AI robots! Self-driving cars! Hoverboards! Technology moves so fast that it’s impossible to keep up with each change. While the brains at the top work on making new gadgets and software, let’s take a moment and appreciate what we have today — and that includes a lifetime habit of printing all of your documents. Break the cycle. Embrace the reality that iCloud has revolutionized the way that we store our data and get all of your documents uploaded and out of the drawer.
Where to Begin
It’s a long process to start uploading all of your documents to the Cloud, but it is the way of the world. Ever since 2011 when iCloud storage became part of owning an Apple device, documents have been transferred electronically through document management software, making ease of access much more user-friendly and easy.
The first step in going digital? Organize all your paper documents. Yes, all of them. Start going through any and all files that you have and sort them into categories. Some examples could be:
- Health and insurance
- Finances and taxes
- Services to the house and/or vehicles
- You and your partner’s jobs
Now comes the long, tedious process of scanning your documents onto your computer. There is no simplified way to do this, unfortunately; manually feeding your paper into your scanner is going to take a lot of time. Thankfully, scanners today are much faster and efficient than they were even five years ago, so at least you don’t have to wait as it loads pixel by pixel anymore!
- Turn on your favorite music and brew a pot of coffee. If you and your partner can tackle this mountain together it will be much more bearable.
- Have a trash bag handy for tossing all of your unneeded paperwork into, but do not throw your paper into the garbage can. There are many places right there in your community that will provide shredding services and securely dispose of your documents.
- Note which folder your scans are going into and keep track of them, sorting them as you go. The computer will generate a random string of letters and numbers as a save name by default, so unless you manually go through and sort the files yourself, you will have a jumbled mess in your folder.
- Upload your documents into your data management software of choice.
Managing Your Data in the Cloud
If you’re familiar with the Microsoft Windows setup of having different tabs, windows and menus to help keep you organized, then you’re in luck. Most big-name data storage follows the same standards, helping you to easily navigate in an environment that looks familiar.
Imagine the cloud as a digital filing cabinet. The way that you grouped and organized your paper files can be implemented the same way but in a much more Earth-friendly alternative. Much like you grouped your physical files into categories as you were sorting through them, do the same while you’re organizing digitally. If you’re worried about prying eyes sneaking a peek at your files, don’t be; certain software allows for different levels of protection. You can grant everyone accesses to certain files, give permission to selected users or only allow yourself to have permission.
Long-Term Benefits of Going Digital
Though paper copies have been the way of the United States since 1776, the reality is that paper is not bulletproof by any means. It can get damaged, lost or stolen. There was no alternative in the past, but digital paperwork makes life so much easier in so many ways.
- Copies made from digital documents are logged within the software, meaning that nobody can access yours without you knowing about it.
- If you can’t find a document, no problem; search functionalities sift through all of your folders to quickly find what you’re looking for.
- Clutter becomes less and less when you don’t have as much paper taking up space. An entire binder of documentation can fit into a single program with room to spare, instantly tidying up your office area.
- If, God forbid, anything should ever happen to you, your loved ones have one place they need to go in order to find all your paperwork. Not only is it all in one place, but it is also sorted and can be easily navigated through.
- Backups are simple and take so little time. If something were to ever go wrong with your computer, your documents are not forced to go down with the ship. The beauty of cloud services is that they are not linked to any one device, but are able to be accessed online instead.
The world can thank iCloud for setting industry standards in the way of data storage. Paper documents are going by the wayside and fewer physical documents are being used by many businesses and corporations. Let go of your habit of keeping a printed copy of everything and turn to cloud-based storage solutions for your paperwork and documentation