Is it possible to freelance, run a business, be productive, and not use paper at all? Or at least reduce your paper consumption to a minimum? I think it’s possible, but it won’t happen just like that, you have to be organized and actually want to have a paperless office (some people don’t).
The Paperless Office Concept
The paperless office is now considered to be a philosophy to work with minimal paper and convert all forms of documentation to a digital form. The ideal is driven by a number of motivators including productivity gains, costs savings, space saving, the need to share information etc. – Wikipedia
There are many things you can do to reduce your paper consumption, and there are hundreds of tools that can help you achieve that.
Printer and Scanner
Of course a printer is useful, but do you really need one? Mine has been sitting on my desk for almost a year, and I never use it. I’m real fine with not having to buy paper, ink cartridges and all that stuff. My scanner, on the other hand, I wouldn’t get rid of it.
Even if you have the best intentions and really want to reduce your paper consumption, you’ll still receive a lot of paper in the mail. Invoices, promo stuff, notifications. Ask companies (cell phone, cable tv, ISP) to send you an invoice by e-mail or through their website (client area).
Office Organization and Design
If you use less paper (or no paper at all) chances are you won’t need that filling cabinet. You may have to rethink and analyze your needs. You might very well end up with a really minimalist office design/concept, meaning: desk, chair, computer and some accessories. Of course having a laptop or PDA really is a must for the freelancer “on the go“.
Online Office and Collaboration Tools
- HTML Slidy
- Presenter Net
- Instant Presenter
- Presentation Pro
- Presentation Engine
Slide Sharing and Screen-casts
- Invoice Machine – downloadable PDF (free)
- Freshbooks – Customers can view invoices online
- CashBoard – e-mail invoices (upgrade to paid membership for PDF files)
Check out this list of 14 web-based invoicing tools.
Mind-Mapping and Note-Taking
What Tools Do You Use?
I’m curious, what are the tools you use? Have you ever wondered how much paper you use in a day, a month, a year? (probably more than you really need) Do you have any tips and tricks on what could be done to reduce your paper consumption?
Oh, and make sure you back-up your data, or risk losing it all.
Thanks to Rebecca Camarena from Pump Up Your Book Promotion for suggesting we write this post. We’ll definitely write more about having a paperless business/office in the future.
This article was also included in the Working at Home Blog Carnival-Fiftieth Edition