Labels: Hints, Tips, Best-Practice, DO-NOTs?

using Paperwork on Linux for some weeks now.
Might be my live-saver, cause I suffer from/live with ADHD, and loose or forget nearly all documents that reach me. Living in Germany, we are still trapped in everything-per-letter-anachronistic routines.
One advice for ADHD people to survive this is, to scan and store EVERYTHING that falls into your hands (before it it falls out again and slips between the desk and wall or get eaten by the dog)

My problem:
How should I label documents?
How do others do it?
Did you start out with trial-and-error and things developed successfully by themselves?
Or had you ppl a list of categories already in your mind before you started?
Does it make sense to work with categories and kind of sub-categories?
Are there experiences about a useful maximum amount of different labels for the “automation” to successfully kick in?
Can anyone lead me to useful resources about this the labelling topic in general?

As an ADHD person, I have a hard hard time structuring things, plus a gnawing feeling of uncertainty how to structure thing and not do everything wrong. So I am already caught in thinking about this stuff for days, walking in circles.

Have a heart with the handicapped, and please share your experiences with me :wink:



In my case, a bit of thinking first and then mostly trial-and-error.

I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all rules/guidelines/advises/hints. In my opinion, there is eventually only one real test to know if your sorting works: “are you able to find your documents back quickly when you need them ?”. You have been able to find them back quickly using dates and/or keywords only, without using any labels at all ? Well it’s perfect then :slight_smile:

Anyway in case it can help you, here is my take on this problem:

  • First and foremost: do not bother planning your labels ahead of time. Due to a limitation of Paperwork current design, it will forget labels that are on no documents as soon as you close it.
  • I suggest keeping the labels quite “wide”: categories for which you know you will have a bunch of documents (not just 2 or 3 documents in your lifetime).
  • Don’t be afraid of not having labels for unimportant documents. If you actually need them, it’s actually likely you will be able to find them back by dates or keywords. For instance, I recently got a letter regarding the national French census. I’m pretty sure it’s useless but I wanted to keep a copy. I have no labels that would match, but it doesn’t matter. Also if the OCR has failed or if the document doesn’t have enough content to find it back, keep in mind there is a field “additional keywords” below the labels for that specific situation.
  • Keep in mind you can have many labels on one document. Which means if the sets of documents covered by each label overlap, it’s fine. IMO, it’s even a good thing. It means less labels to manage. And I also think that it shows that your labels are meaningful (unless you overdo it and have all your labels on all your documents, of course :slight_smile:). I give a few examples below.
  • Don’t overthink it. Mistakes will always happen anyway, and it’s fine. You can still fix them afterwards. For instance, I had a label “car” and a label “bike”. Recently I decided to take the bus more often … :slight_smile: . So I’ve merged them into a single label “transportation”.
  • I suggest avoiding labels that won’t last over time. For instance, I think that your employer name will make a poor label. You will eventually change job someday (or retire). And usually you can find all the documents related to your employer simply by searching their name.

Below are the labels I use currently:

  • “accident”: because when things go wrong, you usually end up with a bunch of papers quickly
  • “animal”: cats, dogs, etc
  • “bank”
  • “<my wife name>”
  • “non-profit work”
  • “for-profit work”
  • “store” / “business”: I use it to keep contact infos and details from restaurants, tradesperson, etc
  • “contract”: I mean it in a really wide sense. It’s about my work contracts, later additional clauses, various terms of use, etc. Overall anything for which I had to give my agreement, explicitly or implicitly.
  • “quotation”
  • “payment schedule”
  • “bill”
  • “payslip”: This one may seem redundant with “for-profit work”, but those documents are the most often requested, so this label is quite handy.
  • “identity”: Everything used to identify me in some way (ID card, passwords, etc) or my stuff (car/bike registration, etc).
  • “taxes”
  • “housing”
  • “user manual”: for most objects I buy, I actually find it simpler to scan the user manuals and then throw them away. Otherwise I eventually end up with a pile of obsolete user manuals for stuff I don’t even have anymore.
  • “Paperwork” (I guess this one is actually a bad example: those documents should probably go in “non-profit work”)
  • “pure awesome”
  • “retirement”: not used that much yet.
  • “health”
  • “scholarship” / “training”: because you should never stop learning :slight_smile:
  • “transportation”: my bike, our cars, bus things, etc
  • “TESTING VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY LONG LABEL”: I have this one only to test the GUI. Because it looks like a lot of German people like Paperwork, and based on the bug reports I got over time, it seems German implies using very long labels :smiley:

Note that I’m French. I’m not sure if my labels are all relevant in other countries.

With my labels, I get some interesting combinations:

  • “accident” + “transport”: every times I crash into someone or someone crashes into me …
  • “accident” + “housing”: bad times …
  • “bank” + “identity”: quick way to get my passcode grid to access my accounts on the website of my bank.
  • “non-profit work” + “taxes”: in France, you get tax breaks if you give to non-profits that are recognized by the state. This combination gives me all the tax break attestations those non-profits sent me. Very handy when I have to fill in my taxes.
  • “scholarship” + “pure awesome”: all my diplomas

Hope it helps.

1 Like

Hi Bernd,

I’ve just started using PW very recently and I might not give you any hints about the automated labelling.

However, the labels I’ve created reflect the physical folders I have been using for years now, but since I get more and more e-documents, I decided to switch my system and scan also every paper I get.
The physical folders I have are

  1. Invoice
  2. Bank
  3. Insurance
  4. Health insurance
  5. Work
  6. Taxes
  7. House

The good thing about PW is that you can use several labels, what was not possible before. For example I used to put the house insurance documents in “House” in a section called “Insurances”, same for Invoices. I probably will create new labels as I go, but these numbered labels are my basis. I hope that helps.

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Hey ho,
sorry for the late response and many thanks for your examples.
So, did I understand correctly, the additional keywords mainly circumvent eventual problems with the OCR? So they are not connected to the “auto labeling” or sth?

Anyway, looking forward to see some magic happen :wink:

Happy paperworking!

Are you that accident prone, Jerome? :laughing: