how I work paperless

Working Paperless – Part 3 HOW

In Personal Development, Productivity, Time Management, Working Paperless, Working Smarter by hardorsmart2 Comments

Working Paperless in four parts

Glad you joined me for Part 3 of this series on working paperless! As we move on in this series, we’re getting closer to what makes it possible for me to work paperless.

This week’s Blog Post is Part 3 in a series of 4 Blog Posts on Working Paperless.

  1. The first part is about how it all started
  2. The second part covers Why I work paperless
  3. Part three tells you How I work paperless (that’s today)
  4. The last part is all about the tools that I use

In today’s Blog Post I will tell you some more about How I do it.

Where I started from

When I wrote this Blog Post, I realized that it’s hard to remember all the things that I encountered when I started working without paper. What is important for you to know is where I started from five years ago.

– I used email a lot
– Every text I wrote I already wrote on a PC or iMac
– The calendar that I used was already a digital calendar
– Devices that I used: an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, an iMac and a PC Laptop Computer

What to replace?

After digging deep these are probably the most important things I had to replace with another solution:

Meeting papers.
This category was by far the biggest. For some meetings, I carried around more than a hundred pages. After being printed, they had an average life span of one day. Can you imagine, one day from printer to trashcan!

Printouts of what I had written
When I printed my texts, this was mainly to be able to read them at home or some place quiet and make annotations with a pen.

Printed emails
I don’t know exactly when I stopped printing emails. It’s possible that I did this a little earlier than five years ago. Bu what matters is that I used to have a system in place where I would print important emails that needed my action. I used to keep them in a dedicated plastic folder.

I never used a lot of Post-Its, but I did when there was this one thing to remember, and I didn’t know how to remind myself. In those cases, I mostly put a Post-It note on the side of the screen of my laptop computer.

The invention of the iPad

The most important change for me was the invention of the iPad. At that moment I saw the possibilities to have a device with me that was easy to carry around but still gave me the opportunity to enter text reasonably fast. So when the iPad came out, I bought one (that was in July 2010 in the Netherlands, where I live.) Still, it took me a little more than a year to see that this device was the key for working paperless. That probably had a lot to do with all the new software that came out during that first year.

It wasn’t until the end of 2011 that I introduced the iPad to my working process. And that was also the start of me working paperless.


When you want to work paperless then these are essential elements to consider:

– make everything digital as soon as possible
– scan
– take photos
– replace incoming paper mail by email
– never hand others something on paper
– write everything on a device
– use dictation

In today’s video I tell you some more so please take three minutes to watch it. And stay tuned for the next episode. In that episode, I will talk about tools and apps.

See you on the next one!


  1. Pingback: Working Paperless - Part 1 Origins - Hard or Smart

  2. Pingback: Working Paperless - Part 2 WHY - Hard or Smart

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