How to Go Paperless: Bury the Paper Before it Buries You Alive

I am a huge fan of reducing waste in the office, particularly in the form of paper. My entire Web site operates virtually paper-free, and my natural health clinic, The Optimal Wellness Center, also uses electronic records as much as possible. And, I am building a brand new clinic that I hope to move into in the spring. It will be the first “green” LEED certified building in the suburbs (it also houses the national headquarters of Sears).  

I am planning to have most of the electricity in our new office produced by nano solar panels that will provide electricity at less than 90 percent of current prices.

Getting back to paper though, this Lifehack article has excellent tips for anyone looking to make their office or personal life “paperless.” Here are several of my favorites:
  • Decide on a date for a switch from paper-based to paperless for everything going forward. Choose a date far enough ahead that everyone can work toward.
  • Retain a paper file as the primary record for anything before the switch and the electronic record as the primary record for anything after the switch date.
  • Place a filename on every document worth keeping, whether it’s paper or electronic.
  • Inform your clients and suppliers of your paperless orientation.
  • Keep your technology and systems simple and compatible with what most people use.
As an aside, a paperless work environment may also be better for your health in that it reduces your exposure to carbonless (self-copying) paper and photocopiers. Exposure to self-copying paper may trigger headaches, eye problems, or respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and acute bronchitis in workers, while photocopying has been linked to nasal irritation.

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