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    Paperless: Reducing the Stream

    Sunday, September 26th, 2010 at 11:02 AM | Business, Declutter, Paperless, Productivity, Simplification

    1. Paperless: Reducing the Stream
    2. Paperless: Getting Started
    3. Paperless: Managing the Digital Files
    4. Paperless: Organizing/Backup/Sync
    5. Paperless: Other Creative Ideas

    Benefits of Paperless

    • More Secure – Files are secured and can be remotely wiped if a machine is compromised. If our house, car and office burnt to the ground, we’d have full versioned copies of all our files.
    • Less Money – Bottom line paper gets expensive to buy, print on, and store. Also if you need less square footage to store your file cabinets, you can lease a smaller office.
    • Quicker Access – If you want a file the traditional way this means you need to get up, and locate where it is in a file drawer, folder etc. In a paperless office, I (or employees with access) can do a quick search and view all files. Windows Vista and up have a built-in search that makes this a breeze.
    • Mobile/Backed Up – Do you work from home? Or on the road? Access your files anywhere, even on your droid or iphone.
    • Better for the Environment – Of course, less paper means less resources and less clearcut forests. Read more reducing your footprint.
    • Takes up Less Space – I am sure you can think of a few things that would enrich your life more than a file cabinet. Sell your file cabinets and buy a nice chair, pocket the money or add to your replacement fund
    • Grant Partial or Limited Access – We have employees and others that need access to documents and files. Using the methods discussed, this is as simple as a few clicks. Of course everything is backed-up and versioned so if they delete something, no problem we still have it.

    Read more on the Case for Paperless in this series overview.

    Drawbacks

    • Needs power to access – Chances are if you don’t have power, you won’t be getting much of anything done anyway. Backup power supplies are not terribly expensive for emergencies.
    • Requires internet access for backup and mobility – If you want to reap all the benefits you will need a decent internet connection.

    Can you imagine a life without paper? No stacks, no pockets of receipts, no office file cabinets, no stack of unopened mail. Here is the first step towards the goal of paperless.

    1. Reduce the Incoming Stream of Paper

    Evaluate all the mail you receive (yes all of it). Take a look at your inbox. Are there other ways you can get this information? We check the mail once a week and even that isn’t needed. If you want to stop the flood, you have to find another place for the water to go. This is the first step.

    Most all bills you receive can probability be delivered in another format.

    2. Choose to Save rather than Print

    Installing a PDF converter allows you digitally “print” things such as receipts or other documents. I use adobe acrobat professional, but there are free ones also, such as PrimoPDF.

    Now that you can save your online receipts, you no longer need to print them! Every time you go to hit that print button, think about it. You may be able to save as PDF, send to a friend, email to your self or just save for future use, rather than printing, storing and organizing.

    3. Credit Card Offers/Application

    Do you get a dozen credit card offers a month? There are ways to stop this. Next time you get an offer, open it up and read it. Near the bottom of the offer, there should be a opt out phone number. Call this number and you will be prompted to verify you information. This will opt you out for a short time frame. This call also triggers you being sent a opt out questionaire (yes in the mail, ironically). If you fill out this questionaire, you will be officially opted out. I belive the term is 2 years for the mailed document.

    There are many other ways to reduce the stream, but start with these and you will be surprised on how much less paper you have. Start looking at every piece of paper in life and ask the question: “How can I avoid this?”

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