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The Paper Chase

October 25, 2011

I’m all for getting rid of waste and eliminating unnecessary steps in any process. We owe it to ourselves and our organizations to toss out the busy work tasks that serve no purpose and drain us of our energy and enthusiasm. 

One of the outcomes of an out-of-control process is an overabundance of paper.  Forms, checklists, paper, paper, paper.  Collectively we fight the good fight; we adopt technology and cool tools so that we can store information online, capture electronic signatures and relegate our file cabinets to the trash heap.

But I don’t know.  I seem to have as many stacks of paper and file folders on my desk as I did 15 years ago.

So how do we tackle this mess?  I say we come to some agreements:

  • Don’t give me a printed agenda at a meeting.  I don’t need it, want it, nor do I retain it.  Send me the agenda with the calendar appointment so I know what’s going to be discussed, but don’t kill any trees so that we all have a piece of paper at our place around the conference room table.
  • Don’t print emails and file them in your desk drawer.  Please.  Stop it right now.
  • Don’t send me catalogs, postcards, circular advertisements, neighborhood newsletters or phone books.  While I appreciate these industries employ hard-working Americans and may be the only thing keeping the USPS afloat, I’ve had enough.
  • Don’t capture my signature on 6 pieces of paper as an acknowledgment when one will do.  Seriously – guy at the bank, receptionist at the doctor’s office and nice HR lady – streamline your process.

So let’s wage the good fight and stop chasing paper.

Oh heck, but go ahead and print out a copy of this blog post if you want to save it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. HRBR permalink
    October 25, 2011 8:45 am

    Great idea! And proves the point that old habits die hard. We have so much technology, yet we still have so much paper! I feel ya on that one!

  2. Laura Wolfe - Cultivate Coaching and Consulting permalink
    October 25, 2011 11:07 am

    Robin – I absolutely agree and have been working toward a paperless office. It’s a slow process but every time I scan something in or opt for eDelivery or I’m one step closer.

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