Paperless Dreams

I’ve had a long standing desire to be as paperless as possible. With today’s technology there are very few reasons why there is a need to actually keep paper — yet we still have an abundance of it arriving in the mail each day, or being dragged home from the office.

Years ago, I read David Allen’sGetting Things Done” (GTD) and “Ready for Anything” books. The basic concept was handling paper (and all things that relate to paper) in the most efficient process as possible. While the premise of GTD (in the books) is paper, there are components of GTD that lend itself to the technology-based world.

This is where I wanted to explore more, and over the years, I have used a product (which I LOVE) called Evernote (download it today). Evernote has pretty much made it so simple to capture pretty much everything. Here are some examples of how I use Evernote:

  • Capturing webs clippings (articles, pages, images)
  • Saving emails (even those with attachments)
  • Capturing all my SMS text messages (combined with IFTTT and mySMS)
  • Centralizing all my Foursquare Checkins
  • I wrote many of my school notes in college
  • Saving documents in one place (receipts, manuals, etc.)
  • Logging all the activities (and dates) we spend with our Little Brother

There are many more, and the options are endless. The one thing I’m working to get better at is transferring the paper that I get each day into digital versions. Here is where Jamie Rubin and his Going Paperless series has been really beneficial (Jamie appears to have completely digitized his life, and is the Evernote’s Paperless Living Ambassador).

Jamie provides a number of simple processes and ideas to help you see other options that might be available for handling paper (both electronic and “real”). Many of these I have incorporated into my life and I have to say that I’m seeing the difference. For some it will be a challenge, but the recommendation is to start small, and then see how you can expand it each day, week or month.

Remember, paper will continue to exist in life, but managing it and reducing it should be everyone’s goal.