Going paper-free means using technology to streamline and improve your life. It means getting rid of excess physical junk and using digital resources to organize your home or workplace. But what’s the big deal? What advantages are there to moving to a paper-free way of life? In short, why be paper-free?
Following are a few reasons you should switch to a paperless system and why, if you don’t, you are wasting your time, living space and our planet’s wonderful resources.
De-clutter Your Life
Are you overwhelmed with file cabinets full of statements, letters or other paper documents? Or maybe you aren’t even that organized—maybe your desktop is your document storage center (I have seen my share of these). The first apartment my wife and I lived in was under 300 square feet, causing us to look for creative ways to store our paper documents. We learned that instead of looking for ways to store them, if we got rid of them and found digital alternatives, then the paper documents wouldn’t clutter our living space at all.
Archive and Access Your Records Intelligently
Remember the Dewey decimal system? It was the cabinet full of cards in the library that told you where to find books on shelves—so last century. What is your system for organizing and searching through your paper documents?
Whatever it is, it’s probably not even close to the efficiency level of the Dewey decimal system.
And the Dewey decimal system is like a three-legged dog in a race compared to digital storage and retrieval. In fact, archiving and searching of digital documents is lightning fast and laser accurate. Using (free) services such as Gmail and Google Docs you can archive documents and search for them at millisecond speed.
Reduce Your Consumption of Trees
From the website PayItGreen.org:
The PayItGreen Alliance is a coalition of financial services companies…committed to educating consumers and businesses about the positive environmental impact of choosing electronic payments, bills, and statements instead of paper.
PayItGreen has lots of great facts about the environmental impact of going paperless, here is one that I love: by switching to online financial statements, one household can save 6.6 pounds of paper per year.
The pessimists and naysayers will counter by saying that 6.6 pounds of paper per year isn’t that much of a savings. They’ll say that your puny efforts are meaningless.
They are partly correct.
One single household saving 6.6 pounds of paper isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. But imagine what could happen if 100 people did it? Or 1,000? Or even 10,000?
Making a real difference in this world is all about catching the vision and helping others join in.
That’s the problem with naysayers: they are too busy disputing to catch the vision. Be proactive, be optimistic, catch the vision!
Keep Your Sensitive Information More Secure
According to Wells Fargo, nearly 85% of identity theft cases originate from paper statements such as bank statements or bills. Nearly eighty-five percent! By switching your sensitive data to online sources (e.g. bank statements), it is protected by layers of passwords, encryption, and other forms of security.
In this digital age, with Hollywood and the media glamorizing hackers and other cyber-criminals, one can get the skewed impression that digital methods are the weapon of choice for identity thieves. Don’t get me wrong, identity theft does happen online, but dumpster diving is still one of the simplest and most prevalent forms of identity theft.
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