At the start of my postdoc I decided that I would try going paperless – this was mainly due to the amount of paper I threw out after finishing my PhD – never mind the amount of paper I went through during.

So far it’s going really well – I have not printed a single paper to read and I’m down to 2 notebooks (that are flexible enough to recycle & amend as necessary – I use Arc notebook by Staples).

So how did I do it and what kit do you need if you want to try and reduce the paper in your office – it might surprise you.

I use an iPad Air 32GB, stylus, Logitech Keys-to-go & 2 apps.

For my reading I use EndNote for iPad – which is great as it lets you read, annotate and sort your pdfs and it will sync everything to the web and the EndNote desktop version. This is where the stylus comes in really handy to highlight sections very easily. After reading & highlighting papers I then copy my notes to OneNote – I have a special reading folder where I keep a section for each paper so I can add ideas and comments.

I have to say OneNote is the main factor in keeping me organised and paperless – instead of paper notebooks (I used to have notebooks for meetings, training records, reading, notes and so on) – with OneNote I can keep an electronic version instead that is stored in a cloud and can be synced to my desktop.

For bigger meetings or conferences I take my iPad and the keyboard to type notes as the meeting goes on – for this to work you need be somewhat fast in typing & spend some time afterwards to go through the document to even out spelling mistakes. Here is where OneNote has a feature I really like – it lets you draw, hand write notes or highlight on top of typed text. A feature I feel has been missing from Evernote.

For one-to-one meetings where it might be awkward to sit and type I take one of my paper notebooks – however afterwards I also copy the notes into OneNote using the OfficeLens app – this lets you take a snapshot of your handwritten notes and adds them to a OneNote notebook – this way I have them handy with everything else.

I have to say I like that I can now carry my reading & writing with me and work pretty much anywhere – for syncing I need wifi but this is widely available so not really an issue. I’m surprised and amazed how easy it was to switch – probably due to being at the start of a new project rather than converting half way through – either way I now have a much less cluttered desk and I don’t end up at home missing the one paper I really need to finish a bit of work.

Let me know if you tried a paperless office and how you got one or any tips & tricks you want to share.

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