Journey to Paperless

I aspire to a more paperless life, at least when it comes to my personal information. To achieve this, all I need to do is be able to record more of the information I care about in something like my mobile phone.This is not motivated just by a desire to be more environmentally friendly. I have many reasons for wanting to reduce my paper footprint, but the top five are

1. More ways to capture information more quickly enhances quality

With my mobile phone, not only can I type text, but I can also take a picture and record audio or video. Now, instead of having to write down all the information for a wine I like (vineyard, vintage, varietal, etc.), I can simply take a picture of the label and, in one or two seconds, have all the information that would have taken me a lot longer to write down. Or, while driving, I can record an audio clip of some genius idea I had which, if I had to write down on paper later, probably would never have gotten captured.

2. Data consolidation enables better decisions

Having all my information together in one location means I am able to take actions that are smarter. Now I can have a bookmark for the web site for that great seafood restaurant I like but whose name I can never remember. That would allow me to see if the restaurant is open for dinner next Monday and, if not, make a reservation at a different place.

3. Data consolidation allows for faster decisions

Having all my information in one place means I have access to different things that are related, even if I didn’t previously know they were related. Because I don’t have to hunt around for multiple things that are related, I can reach conclusions much more quickly. Where were the last three places I had lunch with my business partner so I can make sure I suggest some place different?

4. Keeping the information on my mobile phone makes it more secure

The number of times I’ve lost a slip of paper with some important note on it? Countless. The number of times I’ve lost my mobile phone? Zero. […as I nervously tap on wood…] My mobile phone is always with me, and it holds more data than I could carry if it were written down on paper. My mobile phone is configured with a passcode so only I can look at the data on it. And, I backup the device all the time to protect me against data loss.

5. Better insight through searchability

Given one or two key words, I can let my mobile phone search through my appointments, reminders, notes, lists, and most of the other data I gather in order to find things I can’t seem to remember. Today, that may not work for audio and video clips, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before that’s possible too.

Obviously, all of those really boil down to making me more productive. I’m busy, I’ve got a lot going on in my life, and anything that helps me do more things, more quickly, with less effort makes a very positive impact on my quality of life. And, I get to sleep better at night knowing a few trees are breathing a bit easier.