Where is the paperless society we were promised? Perhaps, echoing the memorable words of Mahatma Gandhi, we have to become the change that we wish to see in the world. Using the cloud, it’s easy to go paperless. You can use it for data backups, mobile workforces, document storage and retrieval, and many other things.
Although modern technology makes it easy to go paperless, the idea has not caught on in society. This is not because of the invalidity of the idea, but because of inertia. The idea of a paperless environment is rather similar to how the metric system has not been completely adopted despite its superiority to earlier measuring systems. Although, the metric system is the system of choice in science and it is a standard in Europe because it is a much more exact system than measuring things in inches and weighing them in ounces, it has not caught on in the United States
One reason for the lack of enthusiasm in going paperless, perhaps, is that people have just not noticed how much paper is being used for almost all their written communication. In fact, as a society, we are drowning in the stuff. It is the number one source of clutter in homes and offices. There is so much paper that it often takes up huge filing cabinets, fills up drawers, and spills over on to desks, tables, and counters.
Here, then, are four suggestions on how to go paperless on the cloud.
- Use Google Drive to store all your written stuff.
If you have lots of written notes, journals, scripts, and other paper documents, you probably don’t just want to throw them away. However, what you need is the information and not the medium on which is stored. If, for example, you’re a writer with reams of notes for your novel, you can store it on the cloud with Google Drive. Simply scan it and store it there.
But what if you have reams and reams of paper—everything from your emerging doctoral thesis to all your receipts, contracts, DVD instructions, and so on. Again, the answer is simple. Hire out the work to a document scanning company. This way, you don’t have to spend days running everything through a scanner yourself. One company, Scantronix, includes OCR conversion and e-document storage in their list of considerations.
Naturally, if you don’t like Google Docs, there are plenty of other cloud-based services out there to use. For instance, you can use Dropbox.
The basic idea is that you need a service that offers a clean, uncluttered interface, rather than one that has so many features; it’s like piloting a plane.
- Use Evernote to avoid reams of notes.
Instead of using paper to store all your written notes use an application like Evernote to store all diary notes, memos, to-do lists and journal entries. If you are someone who likes to use paper to track what you’re doing or what you’ve done, then Evernote makes it easy. You can even keep a daily almanac on it if you like to keep meticulous records of how well you’re doing with any particular self-improvement plan or business development project.
- Use Flickr to organize all your pictures. You can convert your paper-based pictures into digital images to store on Flickr. You can, of course, also use Google Drive for this. What’s more, they will be organized and easy to find when you need them.
- Use Crashplan or Bulldog to backup your data.If you want to backup your digital data, you don’t have to print out endless reams of paper on all your projects as a safeguard. Instead, you can simply use a data protection plan. Again, there are many services that do this for you. You could use something like Crashplan or Bulldog to do it. Once you have it all setup, it can be done automatically. Often people waste lots of ink printing out copies of all the important documents they generated on their computer. With data backup solutions, its not necessary to waste time and money on this antiquated method. What’s more with 2 factor authentication, SSL, and easy access from any computing device, your stuff is probably safer on the cloud than if it is lying around your home or office.
Although it may seem like it would be hard to do, going paperless is no more difficult than housecleaning on your day off. There are so many services to help you do the job well that it’s amazing that so few people stop to think about it. Imagine, a clutter-free environment where you can find any document, image, or other piece of important information in a few minutes instead of ransacking through file cabinets or digging through drawers.