In case you couldn’t tell by the title, this is a
story rant about why I hate paper and believe paper is a waste of space. Hate may be too strong of a word… nope. Hate is the perfect word to describe my feeling toward paper. In my opinion, paper is a waste of time. I can’t stand having paper on my desk, or getting paper in the mail. I prefer audiobooks over paperback. Did I mention paper cuts or the large boxes of paper I still need to securely shred?
Yet some industries (e.g. – government, financial services, and medical) insist we print a document, sign it, scan it, then email it, or mail it, or sometimes physically take the paper in person to an office.
Why can’t they except a digital signature? Why can’t I renew my driver’s license online? Do they hate trees?
It’s like certain industries want to punish the world for moving on without them. I imagine their employees thinking, “If I have to sort a bunch of paper in a filing cabinet in a musty basement, then I’m going to make sure our customers have to print a document, buy an envelope, and mail it back to us. Or better yet, I’ll make them come to this musty basement so they can experience the smells first hand. Take that technologically advanced industries!”
Printers Have a Special Place in Hell
One of the most frustrating things in office life is dealing with printers. They run out of ink, they jam, they don’t connect to WiFi, they print blank pages, and they leave streaks across your documents. But worst of all, they require you to buy paper and use paper.
With all the technological advances we’ve had the last 20 years, you’d think by now someone could have designed a printer that simply works – at least 78% of the time! Nope. Instead, having to print something is the last thing any of us want to do with the limited time in our day.
Back to Paper
As you can see, I hate working with paper. Typing is so much quicker than handwriting. Digital files are so much easier to edit, share, and store. I never have to see them on my desk or keep them together with sharp metal.
I use my phone or computer to take notes. I sign documents with my computer. I store files digitally with tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Flash Storage Drives. Though, come to think of it… flash storage drives are most often used to take files I have to print to Kinkos (*sigh*).
The point is, I save a ton of time not dealing with paper. Instead, I use digital files.
Speaking of digital files. One of my favorite digital tools is this 2-column google sheet I use for meeting agendas and to-do lists. Check it out and feel free to steal it.
Why Paper is Amazing
Yet, I still use paper. I know, I’m a hypocrite, but it’s true. I use paper. Not often, but I do use it. When, and why? I’m glad you asked.
There are times when my to-do list and calendar and inbox are all so cluttered and jam-packed that glancing at them for 10 seconds makes my head hurt. During moments like this, I’ll grab one small piece of paper or post-it note, set it next to my computer, and jot down a bullet list of what I need to get done that day.
In other words, I use paper when I’m overwhelmed.
I use paper when I am stuck.
I use paper to help me get back to being productive.
So yeah, paper and printers are terrible, but don’t burn all your paper just yet.
Are you tired of paper too? Do you want an easy digital tool for keeping track of your to-do list? You can get a FREE copy of my to-do list template here. It’s simple, but very effective, and no paper is required. 😉