By Monika Kristofferson Office Efficiency
There have been predictions for a long time that we will become a paperless society. Take a look around your office to see if you’re paperless yet. Probably not so much. We have come a long way thanks to the wonders of modern technology such as iPads, Kindles, smartphones and the ease of research on the Internet. But we still have a long way to go considering the No. 1 issue I help clients with is paper management.
If you’re currently thinking about going paperless, I have two questions I’d like you to answer.
First, “Can you drop this document into a file folder quickly or is it faster to scan?” I’d like you to consider the time, energy and effort it will take you to scan your paperwork into digital folders versus using a well-organized paper filing system in your file cabinet. Some people actually prefer hard copy to digital. I personally have a very organized paper system and can find anything that I need in 30 seconds or less so it works for me. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Second, “Do you need to access your documents from the cloud?” If you or someone you work with will need to access documents from any location, then it’s well worth your time to scan to a cloud-based system.
If you’ve decided that you’re ready to create a paperless office environment, keep in mind that you will most likely always have a percentage of hard copy files along with digital files. But you can certainly strive to keep the paper to a minimum.
Follow these seven guidelines for scanning and reducing paper.
1. Get your paper piles under control first. You will have to wade through your current paper piles to eliminate what you no longer need. Why spend the time scanning paper that you’ll discard?
3. Create well-organized computer files. Whether you use digital files or a paper filing system, folders must be organized and clearly labeled so you can find what you need when you need it.
4. Make sure you have a good back-up system. If you are scanning to your computer versus the cloud, you must have a good online back-up system in place such as Carbonite. Can you imagine losing all of your documents?
7. Reduce incoming paper. Wouldn’t it be great to eliminate incoming paper altogether so you don’t even have to deal with it? These sites will help you do just that.
- DMAchoice.org will help you reduce junk mail. You can remove yourself from four types of direct mail. You have the option of eliminating a whole category or removing yourself from specific company mailing lists.
- Catalogchoice.com will help you reduce unwanted catalogs. Keep in mind, it can take up to 12 weeks to be removed and you may be added back onto a mailing list if you place an order with a company.
- Manilla.com will allow you to manage your bill paying from one website with one password. Have you ever lost track of a Groupon or LivingSocial online coupon with an expiration date? Manilla will keep track of the expiration dates for you.
You will save yourself time, energy and effort when you deal with less paper, which will allow you to focus on bigger and better things.
Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer, productivity consultant and trainer who owns Efficient Organization in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or www.EfficientOrganizationNW.com.