My Paper-less Challenge: Taking Care of Business in 2011
2011 arrived, and with it my annual business plan -- successful strategies to be continued and expanded; new elements to add to the business; outdated, wasteful practices to be eliminated.
One of those wasteful habits that needed changing has to do with paper -- mountains of paper -- file drawers stuffed with paper -- boxes under my desk encroaching on my foot space. The time had come to make some serious changes, and the plan was laid:
- I've changed the way I prepare files for my clients. In 2010, I told my clients I could give them a disk containing all contract documents, reports, disclosures on it instead of a paper file. Now I've changed the way I present that option; I presume that they'd prefer to receive a disk. I now only prepare paper file for those I know don't use a computer. About 90% of my files are now delivered on disk.
- I've cut down the size of my listing presentation material. While my listing presentation is still delivered in paper form, I no longer toss in extraneous pages. A fat folder is not a better folder. Lean and meaty is what people want and appreciate. Save a tree - save time.
- More of my newsletters are delivered electronically. While many of my newsletter recipients, especially those on my Senior database, prefer paper (they save the newsletters for many months, share the jokes with grandchildren, keep the household tips handy) others with less free time appreciate the email format--they can scan & toss, but my name is still reaching them every month. I'm converting more to the electronic format as I talk with people.
- I use paper more efficiently. I think twice before printing--maybe I should "print" it as a .pdf, then discard when finished. When I do need/want to print out something for my own use, I take the extra moment and print it on the back side of once-used paper.
- I have an efax. Near the end of 2010, I got an efax number. Documents are clearer to read, ready to be forwarded as appropriate with the click of the button.
- I've purchased DocuSign. I'll be using DocuSign to get signatures electronically just as soon as I have time to figure it out!
- I've sent boxes of old files out to be shredded. I'm keeping only the last 4 years of client files here--the older ones are history, and my feet and legs are happy to have a place to go when I'm at my desk!
- And still waiting to be implemented --- I plan to have all financial reports delivered to me electronically instead of on paper!
While the paperless office still is an unreachable goal, the paper-less office is very achievable. By using our resources more wisely, we can also save ourselves time and money, and create a more pleasant and efficient work space. Sounds pretty good to me!
This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain & Kodak Paper-less Challenge contest. I have the chance to win the high speed KODAK SCANMATE i1120 Scanner, great for helping real estate professionals reduce their stacks of paper by scanning contracts, photos and business cards in seconds.