With modern technology, there is really no need for paper files anymore. Between online storage, virtual signature applications, and email – there is often very little need to hold onto an actual piece of paper. Here are tips on going (almost) paperless if you haven’t already made the transition.
Benefits of Going Paperless
Good for the Planet
Of course, we all know that the less paper we use, the less waste we produce, the better our carbon footprint, right? Recycling our paper certainly helps but eliminating our need for paper is ideal.
Want to increase distractions and cause stress and anxiety? Allow clutter to reign in your home or office. Paper is one of the biggest clutter culprits. Even the most organized person is losing precious space to file cabinets, boxes, and storage systems to hang on to paper that could be digitized and recycled.
A digital filing system for your important documents means that anything you need is simply a few clicks away. Whether it’s your calendar, your address book, your contracts or your bills – everything can be scanned in and stored on your computer (and then backed up via the cloud or an external hard drive). No more searching through papers for hours to find what you need.
Sometimes the most complicated part of going paperless is convincing your co-workers, team, or family members to participate. Old habits die hard and people get comfortable in their routines. If you want to truly go paperless, you’ll have to convince any other impacted persons that removing paper will make things easier, more organized, and better for the home and work environment.
How to Go Paperless This Month
Select a method for storing all your important documents virtually. Whether it is a cloud application or a hard drive backup, you’ll want a plan in place that ensures your files are secure and easy to access.
If your family or team members need access to any particular documents, you’ll need to select a file sharing platform. Dropbox and Google Drive are two of the most popular options but certainly aren’t the only ones available. For more information on using cloud services, read this article on transitioning from paper to digital filing in the cloud.
Online Bill Pay
Check with your bank about online bill pay. This convenient service allows you to pay your bills through your bank, securely and without a physical paper trail. You’ll still receive email receipts for documentation and you never have to write a check again.
A lot of the mail we get today are bill notifications and receipts. Most companies are happy to have you sign up for paperless statements instead. It saves them time and money to simply email you the information and you no longer have to store all that paper.
Whatever papers you currently possess, that you just can’t seem to let go of and recycle, scan those documents in and store them somewhere safe. There is no longer any need to collect and save the physical paper.
Your email is a powerful documentation tool. Instead of having paperwork sent to your home or office, your email is a great way to receive, save, organize and categorize all your documents. Plus, your email makes it easy to search through your documents by keyword to help you find something specific quickly.
Got a regular meeting agenda you want to share with your team? Email it. Have them bring in their laptops or iPads to take notes and follow along. Company memo? Email it. Need a signature? Use an app like DocuSign or PandaDoc so that nothing ever needs to be printed.