What does “going green” mean to you?
According to www.yourdictionary.com, “going green” is defined as making more environmentally friendly decisions, such as to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” In business, “going green” means going paperless.
Paper is our friend so going paperless is not always a welcomed opportunity. However, it can be done with the help of technology and other resources around us.
Going green with technology
I have a lot of accountant friends. Going green without paper is not an embraced task because they have created habits through the years with paper.
Seasoned accountants have learned how to use beautiful green bar worksheets to crunch numbers. They also have mastered how to use the iconic adding machine to create long streams of paper falling off their desk, showing all the many calculations.
An easy way to begin reducing the amount of paper and breaking old habits is to install multiple computer monitors at your desk. Instead of printing reports, open the files on the computer and share a different page to each monitor. You can view the data online, use the computer’s calculator or spreadsheet program to crunch the numbers, and type your answers into the report.
Another way to reduce the use of paper with technology is to scan your signature as a JPG or PNG. (This is assuming you do not have access to any document signing program.) In many PDF programs, you can create a “stamp” of your signature. Or you can insert your signature image into a document.
When you receive an email with a contract or a report that needs your approval, you no longer need to print it to sign it. Instead, open the file, paste your signature appropriately, reply to the email, attach your signed document and return the email to the sender.
This process is much quicker. By adapting technology in little steps, you will become greener and more efficient.
Going green without technology
Sometimes technology is not the answer. The basics of paper and pencil are more effective. If your technology solution is not working and you keep forgetting to use the tool, then maybe a post-it note will be more effective.
Handwritten notes are a recommended habit when you are learning.
When you are listening to learn you tend to take fewer notes in your notebook because you only write down what you need. If you are at a conference or listening to a training session, you will naturally write down the content that you do not yet comprehend. If you are taking notes on our computer, you tend to type everything you hear. During a presentation you are not listening to learn, you are listening to transcribe.
Another way to be “green” without using technology is to use your physical resources for tracking.
Recently I was working out with my son. We were doing a 10x10x10x10 workout routine — 10 reps of three exercises for 10 sets. We completed squats, crunches and push-ups 10 times for 10 sets.
That did not seem too tough to remember until I completed set four and my muscles were fatigued. When my muscles are tired, so is my brain. I do not want to forget which set I am on because I do not want to do 11 sets.
Since my memory was failing me, I considered finding my post-it notes and pen. My son was using an app to track the sets but that seemed like a time waster when he had to reactivate his phone after every set. My friend Beth had the creative solution that I now use. She uses her DVDs to track her sets.
What do DVDs have to do with exercising? Their proximity. Her DVDs were close to her exercise equipment. Before her workout, she grabbed five DVDs and placed them on the left side of her table. After one set, she moved one DVD to the right. After five sets, when all DVDs were moved to the right, now she is half done. After the sixth set, she moves one DVD to the left. When they all move to the left, then her workout is complete.
What a genius solution. No more forgetting which set you are on and no time wasted manually noting the set. Efficient and effective.
Slowly change your habits. Before you know it, you will no longer need green bar paper or adding machines. Enjoy your new habits and systems. Be empowered to go green with and without technology.