How Can I Start to Go Paperless?
Many wonder how we can start to cut down on paper with all the faxes, manuals, receipts, invoices, memos, and post-its floating around our offices and homes. Granted, it’s incredibly difficult to remove every speck of paper, but there is a way to reduce your usage enough that the recycling bin will start to feel a little neglected.
1. PDF don’t print
Scan documents into PDF. Sometimes the beginning of a paper reduction process does not necessarily mean you will stop tossing out paper. In fact, it will probably be a time of heavy shredding and recycling when you kickstart the process. One of the first ways is scanning your documents to be saved as files on your computer. We guarantee there’s a lot more room in your hard drive than your filing cabinet, and it’s easy to share and duplicate, but word of warning, back up everything!
2. Opt out of Mailing Lists
There are services out there that will help you remove your name from the lists of those pesky senders of junk mail and catalogues. We would tell you to stop having all your bills sent by mail as well, but you are already doing all of that online aren’t you? (and if not, you should!)
3. Get an Electronic Signature
One of the difficulties of going paperless is that a lot of documents require a signature. But if you’re playing a game of fax tag to sign a dotted line from a remote location, you’re printing more copies of the document than you need. Creating an electronic signature will eliminate the need to print any copies and send the signed document back faster than it would have taken the old fashioned way. Here’s a link to get you started.
4. Get in the habit of taking full advantage of your devices
Despite the smartphones, tablets, netbooks and lightweight laptops, many still carry around that college-ruled notebook and ballpoint for taking notes. It’s a small suggestion, but many still insist on using paper. Starting to electronically organize and file notes under categories might show the benefit of taking digital notes, and there are so many apps and programs for this very task. Not to mention, the introduction of cloud services allow us to access these notes from any device.
Once offices start to use document management services, this process will be painless and efficient. But on an individual basis, it is important to consider slowly phasing paper out of our lives for good.
Photo Courtesy of RLHyde