Paperless office? Ha! How about a paperless life?
Is it possible to make everything digital? Is it desirable?
Computerworld - The invention of the PC was supposed to usher in the "paperless office," a completely digital workplace without paper memos, forms, files or records. But that vision was ruined by another invention -- the printer. Now offices have more paper than ever.
So you can forget about ever working in a paperless office. But what about a paperless life?
Just three years ago, achieving a completely paperless personal life was very difficult to do. But since then, a wide range of products and services has become available that makes it much easier and much better. I'm going to tell you about those in a minute.
As a kind of "lifestyle experiment," I've been trying to completely eliminate paper as a data storage medium for the past six months. I've gotten rid of most check-based bill paying, moved most of my reading to digital forms, nearly stopped paper mail from coming to my house, eliminated paper records and nearly purged all paper-based files. I've gotten into the habit of literally photographing anything with words on it that I might want to remember later, and uploading them on a service I'm going to tell you about.
I'm now ready to declare my experiment a success.
The biggest upside to going paperless is that finding information is more like a Google search and less like a scavenger hunt. But I'm also a lot more productive and waste a lot less time, and my life is a lot less cluttered.
Another benefit -- also hard to quantify -- is that I can get all my information from anywhere. So regardless of whether I'm at home, at a local restaurant or traveling in Thailand, I can get access to all my records as long as I have Internet access or a cell phone.
Some aspects of going paperless cost more. But I've found these offset by savings elsewhere. For example, getting all postal mail delivered electronically isn't cheap. But getting books, newspapers and magazines electronically has saved me hundreds of dollars per year. On balance, going paperless saves me a little money, but not a lot.
I've also found that, despite my Utopian goals, going completely paperless isn't possible, at least for me. Paying my city for services like trash pickup and water absolutely requires paper checks sent by mail or delivered in person. Some books simply are not available in digital form yet. And, of course, there are documents like passports that have to be physical. Police officers aren't impressed when you show them a picture of your driver's license on a cell phone, for example.
Despite all this, going as paperless as possible is worth doing -- the less paper, the better.
The biggest objection many have is that online records may be less secure. But that's only true sometimes and potentially. Paper records aren't all that secure, either. If you're like most people, you rely on a single paper copy of, say, receipts for taxes. Those are potentially vulnerable to theft, loss, fire and other hazards. If you're careful about encryption and good password management, and retain redundant copies of your records electronically, you can maximize security with all-digital records.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more