The problem with the use of paper is not only the ecological damage it means, but also the challenge it represents for our organization and productivity . An office overloaded with papers is usually a place where we waste a lot of time trying to find exactly what we are looking for.
Excessive paper consumption is not only negative for the environment, but for your budget. The associated costs (costs of printing, copying, storage, and ultimately the paper itself) can represent thousands of dollars a year in an average office, especially if we consider that printer ink is the most expensive liquid in the office. world.
In recent years there is a current to reduce or eliminate the consumption of paper. In English it is called «to go paperless» , which directly translated sounds quite radical: completely eliminate the role of our lives can be a perspective a bit extreme for many of us, that we still need to have in physical support and in original sealed at least the documents of property of the house.
However, with a little dedication and will, and the use of the right tools, it is possible to reduce your paper consumption and adopt more efficient systems, where our information is safe, accessible and easy to locate.
SIX WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR PAPER CONSUMPTION
Pay your bills online
Most companies that provide services (electricity, Internet, cable TV) offer a way to pay bills online. Apart from avoiding unnecessary transfers and queues, one of the ways in which we usually accumulate paper is through invoices and transaction receipts. Also, ask your bank to send you the account statements by email, and if your service providers have the option to send you the invoice in this way too, opt for it.
Print to PDF
Very often (for example, when making the payments from the previous paragraph) we feel that we need to have that voucher, exactly as it appears on the screen, and in those cases what usually happens is that we print it and keep it “in case we need it. » It is amazing how much paper is accumulated in this way when it would be so easy to save it in PDF and print it only in case it is necessary. Linux has the option to print directly to a PDF from any browser, and it is also easy to do from Google Docs, but in case your operating system does not support it natively, there are tools like DoPDF that create a PDF printer to be used from any application.
Scan old documents
While some documents can not be replaced by a digital version (think of the documents of ownership of your home or your car), there are many others that we save to have support if needed, and that it would really be easy to find online or use a digital version (for example, the manuals for the use of our appliances). Scanning these documents and getting rid of the originals may be the best solution. And if we scan these documents to Evernote, we can search the text of these images when we need it. What more can you ask?
Adopt notes tools and digital task lists
Maybe I’m not the right person to recommend this, because my task lists are analogue (after having tried tons of tools), but everyone has to find what works for them. If you can make it work for you, the possibility of having your lists and notes sorted, backed up, accessible from anywhere and within reach of a search is incredibly powerful. Evernote is still the best app to take notes, and there are countless applications to create to-do lists (I think the best one is Wunderlist)
It uses tools for electronic signature. Digitize your signature
If you have to sign contracts frequently, the best thing you can do is to adopt an electronic signature service for documents, such as EchoSign. It is also very useful to sign a blank sheet of paper, digitize it and have it handy for all those frustrating occasions of “print this, sign it and return it scanned”.
Finally, I can not emphasize enough the importance of having a backup of all our information, especially if we are going to choose to preserve digital versions of our documents. Services like Dropbox, which allow you to make automatic backups of the information that resides on your hard drive, are ideal. Personally, I use Copy, which has clients for Windows, Ubuntu and Mac, as well as the most important mobile platforms, but there are countless services that provide similar functions: the important thing is that you take the necessary precautions.