For the last 2 years we have (more or less unintentionally!) cut out 99% of our paper use.
I say ‘unintentionally’ because it hasn’t been particularly deliberate. We’re both a bit geeky when it comes to our phones and technological ways to do things, and when we chose not to buy a printer, it pretty much forced us to cut down on paper a lot.
But deliberately or not, it can only be a good thing, right? Whilst the environmental benefits of ‘going paperless’ aren’t as clear cut as you may think, it’s certainly a benefit to our wellbeing as less paper clutter means less stress!
So here’s just a few things we use to cut down on paper use…
1. Docusign app
In my business, I have to sign contracts all the time, and generally in life it’s often needed! But in my eyes there’s nothing more wasteful (in terms of time and resources) than printing out an email just to sign it and scan it back into a computer. So I use a free online tool called Docusign where I record my signature once and then apply it to PDFs digitally quickly & easily!
2. Tiny Scan App & Dropbox
Speaking of scanning, if you’re looking to declutter your desk of all your papers, you can easily scan in your necessary documents without a printer using the Tinyscan app (free with limited use or paid), and save the digital files ‘in the cloud’. My favourite cloud storage is Dropbox and this keeps me from worrying about losing all my stuff as it acts as backup too.
3. Google Calendar
Instead of a calendar or paper diary, I prefer to use an online calendar – Google is my fave! The best thing about it is I can have it as an app on my phone and access my calendar from anywhere (and any computer/device!) in the world so I don’t need to worry if I forgot my diary etc. You can also share your calendar with your friends or a partner so you are both always synced and knowing what’s happening!
4. iPhone Reminders & Notes
I literally couldn’t survive without my phone notes and reminder alarms…I use it instead of a paper to do list or journal. I can set up recurring reminders and tell my phone to alert me when I have to do something, and I use this for work and my personal life. Also the reminders app makes a super useful food shopping list!
5. Digital bank statements
Both my banks (Halifax and HSBC) offer paperless bank statements and have allowed me to opt out of receiving mail in favour of email. For me this works perfectly as I am always on my emails anyway, so wouldn’t miss anything important, but I totally get that this might not work for some!
6. Flight & Train apps
Instead of printing out boarding passes, most airlines now have their own apps, where you can check in from home and simply download your boarding pass ready to show the QR code at the airport. It’s so simple, and no more having to worry about where your paper print outs are! The same goes with rail networks, most have their own app where you can download your tickets instead of getting them mailed to you or collecting them at the station.
7. Contactless tube payments
I’ve only discovered this in the last couple of months thanks to Nath! If you have a contactless card, did you know you can use it at tube stations instead of queuing to buy a ticket? Just swipe it straight on the ticket scanning pad! But wait there’s more…
If you have ‘Apple Pay’ on your iPhone set up, you can simply tap your phone on the tube scanners instead of even needing to get your wallet and card out!
8. Parking apps
Okay so there’s a lot of transport stuff in here I realise… but seriously this tip is my favourite! Many car parks have their own apps (Cornwall Council car parks use Phone&Pay app, but privatised car parks use other ones – they tell you at the Pay Station). This has sooo many benefits:
- No more random pieces of paper cluttering your car!
- No more getting stuck looking for the exact change or worse, not having any and realising too late!
- You don’t have to go back to the car once you’ve got out and typed in the location code into the app; it’s all done on your phone so it saves you a minute or two as well (a small benefit, but still a good one!)
- The best bit – you can top up your parking from your phone without having to return to the car park! No more panicking about getting a parking ticket :)
For more detailed project and task management than what the Reminders app on my phone can offer, I use Trello. Seriously, I bang on about this tool all time and have even written several posts about using it to organise my life and as a blog editorial calendar on my business blog!
10. Digital billing
Like with my banks, all of our utilities companies allow you to opt-out of paper bills and statements in favour of email and account updates, which is great!
Of course, we’re not totally paperless and weren’t really aiming to be! We still get given receipts at shops sometimes (we try to take these home & recycle them) and we still store print outs of really important documents like mortgage and house deeds etc.
I also still need a notebook (see the pictures!) to use for sketching designs for work and taking quick notes at meetings, but I use it for pretty much everything and try not to have more than one on the go to save on clutter.
Could you go ‘paperless’? Would you want to try more digital options instead?
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