Mastering a More Paperless Life

I could spend a lot of time saying why aiming for a more paperless life is a good thing but instead I’m going to assume a high level of intellect here and just launch into some practical steps every home and business can take.

Our technology addicted society has paved the way here which at least is one upside of having all the latest gadgets available.

Before you begin it is helpful to ask yourself a few questions about your paper documents and what happens to it now. Jot down a flowchart of say an invoice or bill arriving in the mail. Where does it arrive to, where does it get put? What happens to it then? Once paid, what happens to it?

Do the same with receipts, newsletters, advertising flyers, magazines, letters, business cards, quotes, proposals/project paperwork, etc.

Presumably you have an inbox, a filing system, and an archiving system.

These days it is becoming more acceptable, and in fact presumable, that businesses are happy to send and deal with things electronically online.

All of these systems can be created and stored online. Anything that is received in paper form can be scanned if it must be kept, into these online programs. They can be shared across an intranet or the internet and be accessible to staff or clients when appropriate from anywhere, any time.

The better programs have built in back ups and protection so you don’t need to worry about vulnerability. Some people still like to keep both paper and online duplication systems, but really this is duplicating work unnecessarily.

Once you’ve established a habit, you can go back and scan in old paper for historical purposes. When that happens you increase the amount of office space available for actual work space instead of just storage. It is well worth considering investing time and money now (pay a student to scan for a day!) to free up such space permanently.

Now that I’ve got you thinking about these possibilities, next time we’ll take a look at what is available out there to help you go paperless.