Monday 15 August 2016

Going Paperless

For anybody in the modern age going paperless is something we should all aspire to. The amount of paper that is used in the world is both a burden on the world's resources plus each of us personally. How many times have you spent a good hour or so hunting for a important document? Do you find you knock over piles of paper far too often or can't shut drawers? I can't deny I do love my paper notebooks but in many other areas I've cut out paper entirely. If you want to take back your life from the reams of paper have a look at some of my tips.

Financial – Banks are extremely happy for their customers to stop having paper statements. If you have an online account you'll be able to search through your accounts and transactions quite easily. If you need a paper version of your statement your bank should still be able to provide you with one. I also have some accounts which are completely online so all the correspondence is sent to me via email. It also means I don't receive any other unwanted paper mail such as personal loan and credit card offers.

Domestic – Quite often it can pay to do paperless with your energy company. As I have an online rate I am on a better tariff for my gas and electric than if they sent me my bills and statements by post. One of the terms of the tariff is that I send in my own meter readings online but I get sent email reminders so I never forget to do it.

Scan what you can – There are always going to be documents which you will have in paper form. Sometimes it is because companies will insist on sending you paperwork but others could be certificates. Invest in an image scanner so you can access the documents easily and send the originals to storage.

Travel and Leisure – Have you ever been in a panic about forgetting vital tickets? Whether it's a flight abroad or day out at the zoo if you have pre-booked tickets think about have them coming as e-tickets. If you're worried about getting an internet signal in order to look at the e-ticket on your email take a screenshot which you can access off-line.

Study and research – I do a lot of research for the posts I write on this blog and other projects I am involved in. To keep all the information together I use various online storage programmes and organisers. For more specialised research such as for scientific data think about investing in an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN). You'll be able to analyse, collate and search data in a far more efficient manner.

Books – Many books people read are read once and then languish on shelves or in piles around the house. Unless you have a favourite author whose books you know you will read again and again try using an e-reader. If your bookcases are full try swapping, selling or donating books.

Shopping – Online shopping means online confirmation and receipts. If you prefer to go into actual shops think about refusing receipts if you don't need one or agree for it to be emailed to you.

Do you have too much paper in your house or office? Have you tried to go paperless?

This is a collaborative post.

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