Save a Tree While Saving Time: Tech and Tips for Using Less Paper and Being More Productive

The promise of the “paperless office” has been called up in advertisements for office automation products ever since the 80s. While the computers of the time did go some way towards making things paperless and efficient, they couldn’t do anything for the convenience that people needed taking documents home, sharing them with people and so on. So, those computers came with printers attached, and those devices only doubled the amount of paper floating around the office.

Now that everyone carries a large, Internet-enabled smartphone or tablet around, it’s beginning to make the paperless office seem more of a possibility. You do need the right apps and services, however.

If the idea of going paperless seems interesting, consider the following apps.

JotForm

This service lets you create PDF forms that replace paper forms. The software makes creating all new forms as easy as dragging and dropping templates and widgets, and there are special tools to help you create surveys, rating systems, and payment options. You don’t need to mess around with printers and paper forms anymore.

EchoSign

This service by Adobe helps you get off having to print documents out in order to sign them. With EchoSign, you get to draw up your contracts, estimates, and other documents on a browser or other application, and send them to different parties to have them digitally signed. It’s fast and efficient.

eFax

If you still mess around with a fax machine, eFax helps you do it all with email and phone, with no actual thermal paper (which can give you cancer, by the way) or any other paper. While fax apps have been around for a while, they tend to come with file size limits and problems with compatibility when you need to work with Outlook or similar email systems. eFax, however, neatly addresses all these concerns.

Call Recorder for Me

If you like to work the traditional way, you probably note plenty of details down when you’re on the phone with business partners. You don’t have to do that anymore, however. Call Recorder for Me is a well-designed app for to help you record calls with. You get to revisit every call and retrieve whatever information you need.

Freshbooks

Whatever else you may use digital records for, it’s possible that when it comes to invoices, you still do prefer paper. Keeping track of those invoices is simply unnecessary work, however. A service like Freshbooks will let you generate all the online invoices that you want and also do a little basic bookkeeping. You don’t even need to install an app — it works right off your mobile browser.

Switching to a digital workflow is great not only for your workflow, efficiency and ease of retrieval, it’s also great for the planet. If nothing else, you should move to the digital way of doing these for appearances. People just don’t look good fussing with paper anymore.


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