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Cutting Out The Dead Wood

Use these methods to reduce the amount of paper you use in your office.

This story appears in the June 2000 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

While many home office professionals are taking steps to eliminate or at least reduce the endless streams of paper flowing in and out of their offices, others still face piles of paper, stacks of mail and file cabinets too stuffed to open. By making a few changes in the way you handle information-whether paper-based or electronic-you can reduce the amount of paper in your office.

  • When a piece of paper crosses your desk, make a decision about it immediately, rather than stack it on top of or alongside other papers. Before you decide to keep a piece of paper, make sure it's information you need to keep for future reference rather than something that you need "just in case." If you keep something, yet can't find it, it's of no value to you.
  • Scan documents into your computer, then toss the paper versions. But be careful not to keep so much extraneous information on your hard drive that you get bogged down searching for the documents you need. It's easier to store scanned reference information (documents you may need at a later date) on disks or other types of external tape drives. Make it easy to find these documents later by storing them by category. For example, store all publicity documents on one Zip disk and marketing information on another.

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