I have to admit, it took me a long time to let go of my books. My actual paper books that rasped ever so slightly as I turned a page, smelled of “book” and took up a lot of space in my home. The romance of the old is still there, but I realize what once took up a whole wing in my house now fits snugly in a device that weighs less than a pound and fits in my pocket. Going paperless is tough, but it can be done. As society gets further away from paper and moves closer to a digital platform, it may be time to adjust how you look at going paperless. Here are a few ways you can begin to make the transition and start reducing your reliance on all things paper.
- Get Digital Statements More and more companies are trying to go to all digital statements because it cuts down on costs for envelopes, postage and manpower to send out each month. Digital statements either come attached to an email each month, or a reminder arrives in your inbox so you can download a PDF version.
- Scan Everything into a Digital Format This sounds harder than it actually is. Investing in a good flatbed scanner or an app on your smartphone, like Scanner Pro, will allow you to quickly scan receipts and other important documents into a PDF so you can discard the original. Once scanned, just make sure you back those documents up online with a service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
- Use Digital Signatures Digital signatures are now just as good as an original in most cases. Instead of printing off documents just to get them signed in wet ink, you can sign a PDF digitally and cut down on paper.
- Opt Out of Junk Mail Junk mail is always arriving at our doorsteps. The amount of paper wasted on junk mail is astronomical. Just make sure when given the chance, you opt out of any form of junk mail that may come to you.
- Stop Printing, Scan to PDF use Google Chrome as a web browser now. One perk of using Google Chrome is I do not need to use a printer and waste valuable ink and paper. I can now click a button and print as a PDF. Anytime a receipt comes in my email, or something I need to save for the business, I can print as a PDF and have a ready-made digital copy saved for my records.
- Pay Bills Online
- Cutting down on writing checks to pay bills and mailing them is another good way to go paperless. Web banking or even paying your bills directly through a company website will cut down on mailings and the need for a checkbook. It will save you time and remove the worry of whether your payment was received or not.
- Cloud-Based Word Processing, Spreadsheets, etc.
There used to be a time when I had to use a typewriter to write term papers. The process took forever because I would type, make changes and have to retype. It wasted paper and time. Now with online document management like Google Docs and iCloud, we can create, share and edit documents directly on the web without having to print off and physically give it to a coworker to review. We simply need to share the document and collaborate at the same time via the internet.