There's still a couple of days left before the start of the new year, and thus very little time to prepare for a resolution to start the year out paperless. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you ready yourself and your workflows for this new endeavor.
1. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Going paperless is a process that will take some time. Don't expect to just flip the switch on January 1 and become paperless. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
2. Define your motivation. Why are you going paperless? Environmentalism? Mobility? Search-ability? Scaleability? Any of these are great reasons. What's yours? You needn't pick only one.
3. Evaluate your hardware needs. Are you starting with only new inputs into your system or do you plan to go back and digitize old documents? What format(s) do you need to store documents in? Where will you be when you receive new documents? How will you be accessing stored documents? You will have a plethora of choices when picking scanners, storage, laptops, tablets, phones, etc. Is staying in one ecosystem (such as iOS, Android or Windows) important to you or are you willing to mix them?
4. Ask for digital. Don't be afraid to ask others to start sending you information in digital formats. Make clear your choice to avoid paper whenever possible.
5. Don't be afraid to fail. This is a process that will require time. Be prepared to stumble. You will meet resistance from external sources. You will fall back into old habits of printing. That's okay. Pick yourself back up and objectively evaluate the issue(s). Move in the paths of least resistance first.
Going paperless is a rewarding journey, one that will keep you constantly challenging yourself and motives. There are many gains to be made but it may take some time before you first start to realize them. Relax, enjoy the ride, and know you're not alone on the road.