Unsung benefits of a paperless workflow

paperless
#21

Is it easier to use a name in the filename? Or did you teach Hazel where to find the date on a particular statement?

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#22

For my statement processing Hazel rules, I have one rule for each statement. I started with one and then used the Duplicate option to create a copy of the rule and make any changes needed for the next statement.

When downloading the PDF from the company site, the filenames are all over the place; some have no useful information in the file name. Also, I don’t always download them right when they come out; sometimes a month or two later so can’t go by file creation date.

Part of each Hazel rule is a check for key identifiers (e.g. Contents contain and/or ). There is also a “Contents contain match” rule that has a date match string (e.g. "Bill Issue Date: ") that is set up to match the format shown in the statement.

I then rename the file using the date detected above but rewritten to YYYY-MM-DD format along with the type of statement it is.

This does require occasional updates as the companies change statement formats but that doesn’t happen all that often.

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#23

As above - and don’t forget that you most likely will loose access to the old company’s archive when you change provider.

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#24

I remember spending one summer while on uni holidays going paperless, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (possibly slight hyperbole):

  • Makes moving house an absolute breeze.
  • So easy to find anything.

I’ve found @mikeschmitz’s advice incredibly helpful regarding how to structure files. It’s much quicker to search than to navigate through folder structures. Consequently, use a shallow folder structure with as few folders as possible. For example, in my Dropbox, I have:

  • 0in
  • 1journals
  • 2projects
  • 3learn
  • 4reference
  • 5someday
  • (Shared folders)

And then at most one more level of subfolders inside to describe categories. E.g. project names, reference categories.

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#25

When I download statements I have Hazel add a “current” tag to utilities, credit cards, etc. so I don’t have to go hunting for them on payday. When an item is paid I just clear that tag.

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#26

I think that depends on how you think of things. I don’t have a deep structure of folders but I do have lots of them at the same level to separate stuff. It’s faster for me to go into my “Filing_Cabinet” folder and scroll down to “Sprint” and open the folder than it is for me to type what I am looking for. It’s all in there in date order so easy to find. Search takes more keystrokes and also finds the copies in all my attached backup drives so is far less useful

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#27

Just saw your question. Verizon bills USE-TO-be on file with Verizon for quite a bit of time, but no more. They fall off of the site pretty quickly.

To answer the other about keeping ooooooold bills. I can assure you it saved my finical butt one time! The company that will stay unnamed, (I don’t believe In shaming), said that I hadn’t paid a bill SIX YEARS ago. I hit my digital files while we were on the phone and produced not only the bill in question, but the canceled check too. Yes, it IS worth downing your statements EVERY single month.

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#28

Guess I am still old fashioned. I download statements as I pay bills. Many years ago I went through all my paper files and digitized old bills. Been useful to have them a few times. Totally digital now. I am also an organizational freak so I have endless file structure and logical file naming that helps me find things quickly.

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