So now that I am attempting to go paperless how do I make it a reality in my day to day life?
For business purposes I am using a solution developed by my company called E-sign Dashboard alongside a Tablet computer (which handles all of my computing needs). There is no need to print paper I can review documents, get signatures, mark-up documents, share those documents through our online vault (permission based access), and fax and email documents (from within E-sign Dashboard). This is a very powerful combination!
Just this morning I had to get insurance for a new car I bought over the weekend (the VW Jetta love it!). The insurance carrier needed some documents signed so I had them fax to my Dashboard, I signed the documents right on my tablet and faxed them back (right from Dashboard no fax machine needed thank you very much). Took less than 5 minutes! The old way of doing this very simple process would have required mailing (or emailing) the document, printing out the document, signing the document, and then faxing or mailing the document back to the Insurance carrier. In a nutshell, I have saved time, money, and the environment!
In my personal life the idea of not using paper is ironically more difficult than in business. Personal use really has to do with how I use paper in my day to day life. Like writing notes and reminders to myself on a notepad, receiving and paying bills, going to the grocery store and using paper or plastic… using paper is really more of a personal choice.
I am getting in the habit of writing notes on my tablet or using a service called reQall (when I don’t have my tablet I can leave reminders on my phone which are emailed), using online banking, using reusable grocery bags, telling check-out clerks that I don’t need a receipt… anything to take paper out of the equation.
Taking my paperless life to the next level is the challenge. What about mail? Books and Magazines? Receipts for tax purposes? There are services available today to avoid using paper in these situations. For instance there is a service where you can send all of your receipts and they return as PDF files to your email. But there is still the paper receipt in the first place… uggh! But I don’t need to save all receipts only particular receipts for tax purposes. Most magazine have a digital delivery option and you can buy almost any book in digital format (and read on a netbook or other hardware solution which are only getting lighter and smaller) And most companies like insurance, banks, car payments offer paperless billing which I absolutely love! It is pretty simple to set-up automatic payment online so you never have to remember all due dates and there is no paper (and you can track payments and access payment history with the click of the mouse).
I have come to the conclusion that going paperless is more of a conversion process… something that is limited by the technology that is available to make it a reality. But there are so many great solutions available today to eliminate the need for paper. And less paper means less clutter, better efficiencies, and a cleaner planet (with more trees).
So like anything else it takes practice and commitment to change (which is by no means easy). Decide why you want to eliminate paper and you don’t have to do it for “the environment”… although that is a great reason. My personal choice is driven by efficiency first, environment second. Until I can avoid driving a car I can ‘t really pretend to be “saving the world” with one aspect of my life. But again this is a conversion process and it takes time. And if more people could experiment with a paperless life I believe they would find that solutions available today will mark positive changes in their lives.
See ya out there soon! We are presenting at the Arcadia Real Estate Convention on April 21st, 2009.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email or check out our website www.gopaperless.com