Once I get into a groove, it’s hard for me to shift gears and try something new. But when I do, I’m generally very glad I did. Take Google Docs, for example. A few years ago, I was slogging away with Microsoft products, but I forced myself to use Google because I could easily share my documents with others. It was a transition, but I don’t regret it in the least.

I’m pretty good about doing everything digitally, but realize not all business owners are. If your desk is still covered with paper, here are some ways you can eliminate that waste and become a digital native.

Stack of books and electronic book reader on the white background

1. Receipts

If you’ve got boxes upon boxes of receipts stacked in storage, ask yourself why. With so many receipt scanning platforms out there (Neat makes a…well, “neat” one),  there’s absolutely no need for the paper versions.

Make it a habit to immediately scan receipts after business dinners or travel. Keep a file folder on your computer for these scanned receipts, and back them up to your cloud storage as well.

2. Schedules

If you’re still writing out your schedules on paper, you’re wasting not only trees but also time. Employee scheduling software like ScheduleBase lets you set schedules online or on your phone and instantly email or text them to your staff. You get all vacation requests through the platform, so you don’t have to go back and juggle the schedule if someone wants off.

Switch to digital scheduling and see how much time you save yourself. Then go get a massage with that time.

3. Books

I admit, I was a bit resistant when Kindles came out. I’m a tactical person, and I like the feel of a solid book. But there’s something to be said about being able to carry dozens of books on vacation without the weight. So whether you’re reading the latest issue of Inc. or Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book, ditch the paper version.

And here’s a handy hint: I don’t even own a Kindle, but I do own an iPad. You can get the Kindle app for any tablet and access all your Amazon Kindle purchases there.

4. Banking Transactions

Can I tell you how rarely I go inside a bank? I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check. As a business owner, you might spend a lot of unnecessary time schlepping to the bank to deposit checks.Many banks like Chase have mobile apps that will take a photo of your check and deposit it for you virtually. Cool, right?

You can also use your bill pay feature to send checks and save the stamp.

5. Contracts

Contracts and agreements are another thing you don’t need the paper versions of. You can either scan the original signed document and recycle it, or use a service like EchoSign to easily get your clients’ signatures without them having to print and mail a physical document back to you.

6. Direct Mail

I’m not a huge fan of this category anyway, but if you are still using mass mail postcards or flyers to reach customers, try something else. Use email or social media and compare your ROI. You might be surprised how much return you can get without physically mailing a thing!

Photo: PhotoSpin