I hate paper mail. Even when I filter out the spam, the credit card offers, and the endless stream of catalogues from places where I once bought a pencil sharpener, it’s still bad. Because what’s left is usually somewhat important. Bills, receipts, or documents that should otherwise probably be filed properly some where.

For me, that somewhere was always The Pile. A bottom-less pit of guilt that would build up over a few weeks until I would rip through it and find that I was two days over due on paying $14.59 to People’s Gas.

Enter the tag team of organization: The Fujitsu ScanSnap document scanner, a shredder, and a solo Highrise account.

The beauty of the ScanSnap is its utterly brain-dead simple mode of use. You feed it a document, click the scan button on the device itself, and a PDF lands on your desktop. No continuous configuration, just one-click-straight-to-PDF goodness.

After the document is PDF’ed, it goes straight to the shredder. No clutter, no pile, just the pleasurable sound of paper I don’t have to worry about any more.

The final step is upload to Highrise. I have contacts for all the major bills I pay. So one for AT&T, one for People’s Gas, and so on. They’re all aggregated by the bills tag, which with the new tag streams allow me to see everything going through. I also have accounts for all the major service providers I use. There’s one for the lawyer, one for the mechanic, one for the doctor.

With the rhythm of “document goes in, follow-up task is set, and paper is gone” I’ve finally been able to beat The Pile and achieve the same level of inbox-zero zen that I have for Mail.app.