Monday, July 9, 2012

Reflections on a year of no paper

It's been a full year since I decided to go paper-free.  To be fair, I haven't gone 100% paper-free as that's likely impossible.  To describe my lifestyle is kind of like a reduced-fat cookie.  I'm 90% fat-free but still have a little bit of the good stuff.

Here are some of the thoughts I have about becoming paper-free and how the transition has gone

1.  You need to go cold-turkey.  It's sort of like learning a new language.  You're better off immersing yourself in the desired new behavior as opposed to easing into it.  I just stopped carrying a pen and paper.  Don't worry - someone will have a pen in the meeting you're going to if you actually need it.  Just be polite and borrow it if there's a sign-in sheet or something similar.

2.  Don't expect your friends and co-workers to go paper-free.  It's just not realistic to convert an office or organization into paper-free.  As a result, you need a personal scanner.  I like the Scansnap s1500 but know that Canon has an impressive device now as well.  Just take their paper they give to you and scan it.

3.  You need a document management service.  I prefer Evernote but there are others.  You need a place to put all of the information you need access to.

4.  Continue to evolve.  Carrying an iPad 3 is much easier than using an iPad 2 in terms of documents.  You can take a photo of a document with an iPad 3 and it will be close to the original.  The iPad 2 camera is simply garbage.  Sorry for those of you with an iPad 2.  It does most everything else just as well.  However, the camera doesn't work well.

5.  Use a tablet.  I prefer the iPad but everyone needs something to read with.  It is really up to you and your budget in deciding what you want to get.  The tablet is simply easier to read from than a laptop/desktop.  The tablet is not a replacement for a laptop - just simply a better reading device.  I always say that a tablet fits between your smart phone and your laptop.

6.  Moving is much easier when you're paper free.  I still have a lot of books I needed to move to Ohio University but in terms of paper files, I've cut that stack down by about 75%.  The only file folders I have are those that I haven't had a chance to scan yet.

I'll probably add to this list at a later date but this is at least a start.

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