Evernote UI

Going Paperless with Evernote

My office was a total mess.  I had two file cabinets full of papers that I may or may not ever need one day.  I’m not a pack rat when it comes to documents, but if there’s a chance I might need it, it got filed.  Filing papers takes a few minutes, so it was not uncommon for me to toss a stack of incoming mail on my desk.  You know, I’ll get back to it later in the day or the following day.  Instead, I toss another stack on top of it.  This only makes it harder to sit down and work through the queued mail. Read more

Evernote Import Folders

Creating an Import Folder for Evernote

Import folders are a perfect way to easily drag and drop documents from a computer into your Evernote account.  Follow these instructions to set up an import folder:

First, open your Evernote application (the Evernote program, not the web site) and click on Tools and then Import Folders.

Accessing the Import Folders settings in Evernote

This will open the Import Folders setting dialog box.  Below are the settings I use and recommend.  The Subfolders setting will allow you to drag and drop a folder of documents into the Import Folder rather than having to drop the documents themselves.  I recommend creating a dedicated Evernote Notebook for incoming scanned documents, which is indicated in the settings as well.  Finally, you can decide whether you want Evernote to delete documents after they’ve been imported so that you don’t have to periodically do it.

Evernote import folder settings dialog box

One last note about the Source/Delete setting.  There are several things that will cause Evernote to not load your PDF:

  • The PDF contains more than 100 pages
  • The PDF file is more than 25MB
  • The PDF does not contain at least one “scanned” page, defined as:
    • A “scanned” page contains at least 1025 pixels of image data
    • A “scanned” page contains no more than 512 characters of regular, searchable text (e.g. this is enough for a text-based fax header or similar). PDF files that have already been processed by a separate OCR system will not satisfy this condition and will be rejected.
  • The PDF contains more than one non-scanned page. (I.e. the doc may have one “cover” page without any image data, but if there’s more than one, than it’s not a real scan and we reject it.)
  • The analysis crashes or fails for some technical reason, typically due to a malformed PDF from some crazy source, or if the PDF is password protected (encrypted).
  • This analysis process takes more than 30 seconds to complete.

If any of these exist and you have the Source option set to “Delete”, you may lose a document that you need to archive.  If you can’t load it to Evernote, you can always keep a local copy of it… but not if Evernote deletes it first.

Need Evernote?  You can get it for free here.

Paperless GTD System

GTD and Analog Journaling

I’ve been managing my work life, and to a large extent my home life as well, using a GTD system since reading David Allen‘s Book Getting Things Done in 2006.  Frankly, it’s the only way I can stay sane — trying to juggle all the things in my head that go on with work, school, running my own side business, training for marathons or triathlons, and keeping up with my genealogy hobby is just too much without some proven method of organization.

I recently started using a MacBook Pro.  I bought one when the new Retina models were released in August 2012 and I’ve honestly made a conscious effort to use it regularly.  The fact remains that I’m very efficient with the Windows operating system — I know most of the keyboard shortcuts in Windows and the Office applications — and this makes me feel really slow and ineffective when using Mac OS X.  Using Windows on my desktops at home and at work only make the matter worse, so I decided a couple of months ago to use my MacBook Pro at work and as much as possible at home. Read more

SPHR Exam Results

SPHR Certification

I passed my certification exam!  I took a group study course in early 2010 when I finally decided to sit for this exam, and managed to pass a year later after studying for only two weekends.  Maybe that wasn’t the best approach, but whatever.

The Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) exam is a three-hour 200-question exam for HR professionals with at least seven years in the industry who:

  • designs and plans, rather than implements, HR policy
  • focuses on the “big picture”
  • has ultimate accountability in the HR department
  • typically has six to eight years of progressive and increasingly complicated HR experience
  • has breadth and depth of knowledge in all HR disciplines
  • uses judgment gained with time and knowledge application
  • understands the business beyond the HR function and influences the overall organization

The SPHR exam is divided into six functional areas:

  1. Business Management and Strategy (30%)
  2. Workforce Planning and Employment (17%)
  3. Human Resource Development (19%)
  4. Compensation and Benefits (13%)
  5. Employee and Labor Relations (14%)
  6. Risk Management (7%)