There are numerous reasons people are choosing to go paperless. It could be to lead a less cluttered life, in a bid to be more environmentally friendly or to increase productivity in the office. In some ways it’s hard to understand why we aren’t all paperless already, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. So, here’s a quick guide as to how you can move towards a paper-free life.
In the Home
Back in 2014, the Marie Kondo book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, told us all to keep only the items which “spark joy”. Followed by her own Netflix show in 2019, it had people across the world emptying their homes by the sack full.
One of the specific categories she suggests working on is papers. The papers that seem to accumulate, from bills to bank statements, receipts to insurance certificates — even when properly filed — are rarely considered as bundles of joy.
So, what can you do about these important and not-so-important piles? Well, with today’s technology, quite a bit!
- Digitize the important documents and choose a storage service to file them to. Shred or recycle all the old paperwork you no longer need.
- Sign up to paperless billing and e-statements and pay bills online to stop that paperwork pile reappearing.
- Use your cellphone to make lists, take notes and add appointments to your calendar.
- Opt out of mailing lists to reduce the amount of mail you have coming in.
In the office
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker generates approximately two pounds of paper products each day. That’s a lot of trees and a whole lot of filing.
For businesses, going paperless, or at least reducing the use of paper, can save money, achieve better green credentials, and improve productivity. There are some relatively quick and easy fixes to get the ball rolling:
- Solutions such as TruQC’s business digitization efficiently gathers and moves data, eliminating the time spent trawling through filing cabinets for the right report and making all your documents accessible to the right people, whether in the office or out.
- Switching to email invoicing gets you paid quicker and using the right software can help you track and chase unpaid invoices more easily.
- Register with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System to streamlines your tax payments and easily access your payment history.
Young people are focusing on environmental matters more than ever, and as 40% of the waste in the U.S. is paper, it makes sense for educational establishments to focus on paper reduction to improve their carbon footprint.
Here’s a few suggestions on how to do it.
- Change the default settings on all copiers and printers to double-sided.
- Use e-mail to send materials home and go online for submitting homework.
- Replace towel dispensers in bathrooms with hand dryers.
Going paperless is a worthwhile goal, bringing with it many benefits, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing and you don’t have to remove every sheet of paper from your home and business to be making a positive change. Choose one thing at a time to reduce your paper consumption and you’ll be moving in the right direction.