Why I Can’t Go Entirely Paperless

Why I Can’t Go Entirely Paperless

In 2018 I started on a massive mission to decrease my paper use.

You can read more about it here The Struggle to Be Paperless.

I have gotten rid of a lot of paper and I am still getting rid of more. I’m even reading and selling my books, not all of them, but a lot of them.

I’ve stopped using paper towels and plastic bags. I am trying to lower my environmental footprint.

But I am now accepting that I cannot be entirely digital.

Recently I posted a video on IGTV about my lack of self-expression and creative action. Balance is hard for everyone and sometimes the solution isn’t exactly what you were originally aiming for.

I wanted to find ways to do EVERYTHING on my laptop, tablet or phone to be entirely paperless and have less impact on the environment.

Sadly, this just isn’t possible for me.

It’s not just a lack of self-expression that I’m suffering from, it’s an inability to disconnect.

This has stifled my creativity.

In the online world there is information, entertainment, and opportunities to connect everywhere. As you know, this is overwhelming.

The bombardment of “stuff” is everywhere, and we can’t escape…unless we disconnect.

Everyone else’s business and life in our faces causes us to compare, become jealous, get off track, and lose our originality.

There are a ton of people out there on social media who openly take breaks to disconnect and escape in order to move forward in their business and life.

Disconnection opens us up to self-discovery, clarity, and brings us back to who we truly are without the noise of other people’s lives to confuse us.

What Does This Mean for Paper?

This means that we may need to go back to writing things by hand. *gasp*

I have always wanted to learn how to draw. For this I need paper.

Does this make me irresponsible and destructive?

Not if I make wise choices.

  1. Buy recycled paper (and other) products.
  2. Recycled paper is usually labelled as such and you can find many dedicated companies/makers who sell recycled products.

    Green Line Paper is one as well as ten thousand villages and some makers on etsy.

  3. Only print what’s necessary and use the tablet or phone to view prompts for reflection instead of printing them out.
  4. Just don’t get distracted and use the device for anything but reading what you need.

    I have even started to only get a new book if it’s an ebook and use my tablet to read it, instead of adding more paper to consumer demands and my life.

    If you use Adobe Reader for PDFs or a dedicated reader like Kindle you can highlight and bookmark without worrying about bended corners or messed up pages too.

    When it’s necessary to print something will be totally up to you and your life. But be sure to have criteria and think twice before going from digital to print.

  5. Shred (when needed) and recycle paper when done with it. Scan your written papers into Evernote to be able to find them with keyword searches.
  6. Evernote has been awesome for me to scan things like pages from magazines that I want to keep and writing that I want to easily find and reference.

    For important documents or documents with your or other people’s personal information you should shred them after scanning. There are places that handle sensitive information documents by scanning and securely removing them. Or if you’re not paranoid you can just recycled the shreds.

    Otherwise, once something is scanned in, I toss it in recycling.

  7. Use all the space on the page instead of starting a new page for every thought. Why not use doodles as dividers between content?!
  8. I used to be soooo bad at starting new thoughts and ideas on new pages. But then I wasn’t typing them up after.
    Now that I am, I might just put a line in between them. As I’m learning to doodle, I may now try something a bit fancier and more therapeutic.

    I know that some people absolutely love their post it notes but think about how many you need versus a piece of paper and perhaps you could skip the sticky little sheets in favour of a tree saving recycled piece of plain printer paper with squares to separate notes instead.

  9. Use what you already have before buying anything new. Don’t be a hoarder!
  10. There is never a shortage of recycled paper products or office supplies.


    There is an abundance of these things.

    There is no need for you to buy 10 at once and have them sit around collecting dust until you get around to using them. Unless you are going to use them within the month.

    I get the allure of sales. Honest.

    But I also know what it’s like to have a bad mould allergy that sits in dust and to have family who had their home filled with smoke and now has to clean up every.single.little.thing.

    So, buy recycled paper products just as you need them and not by the case to sit around waiting for you.

Balance is everything.

Just like I need to balance my time between devices and self-expression/creative times, I also need to balance my use of paper and other not-so-environmentally-friendly products.

All things in moderation and be mindful of what you buy and how you impact the planet, not just the people in your every day life.

It wasn’t too hard of a pill to swallow when I realized that I couldn’t be entirely paperless.

I have a lot of unused paper products here still and I simply knew that it meant being more conscious of how, when, and why I used and bought paper products.

Being a conscious consumer is something to be proud of.

Are you on a journey to lessen your environmental footprint?

New Year, New You, Has all new meaning to me for 2019.

New Year, New You, Has all new meaning to me for 2019.

Every year, just like other entrepreneurs, I set my goals and figure out how I will accomplish them.

This year, again, I set my goals, but this year things are very different.

After 9.5 years my best friend, Bo, has passed on at the age of 13.5.

Now, Bo was an awesome dog. He knew when someone was sad, and he comforted them. He would give paw for yes and no paw for no. He would raise his eyebrow at me when I was laughing at myself.

But along with his awesomeness were challenges.

He went for 3 walks a day and was allergic to a lot of food (including all meats) so I had to cook his food for him. He ate 3 times a day and demanded a snack at noon.

I was out there with him no matter the weather, rain, snow, high humidity, we were out there.

There was also stress.

Bo was afraid of other dogs as he’d been bitten and bullied a few times.

Bo was also a half American Pit Bull Terrier which led to some ignorant experiences.

We had a machete pulled, death threats yelled, warnings given unnecessarily, a bike and a cane used at weapons against him for simply walking by.

My loving, friendly dog was discriminated against for the way he looked.

I only ever wanted everyone to see the love that made him who he was. It ran so deep through all of his being.

But now….now, he’s gone.

He got old and after years of keeping him safe and working on keeping him healthy, I couldn’t stop time.

9.5 years ago.

When I was given Bo, he was named Jimbo and we walked home an hour in pouring rain.

I had never had a dog before, sure I had walked a neighbour’s dog and seen my father and grandfather’s dogs but having my own was entirely different.

I felt awkward.

But soon we grew a bond that everyone could see as we walked.

While I got sicker and sicker, he gave me a reason to get out of bed.

While I was staying in my grandma’s spare bedroom, he gave me the strength to keep going.

Bo was the one who got me out talking to people despite my anxiety and depression.

He got me through a lot.

But over time I figured out my symptoms bit by bit, and even though I’m not entirely healthy yet, I’m in a very different place mentally and emotionally than I was 9.5 years ago.

So New Year, New Me has a whole new meaning coming into 2019.

This means finding a whole new normal for me.

I don’t have 3 walks a day, extra meals to cook, added stress, or that friend to laugh with or talk to.

I used to think that I was good alone, but it turns out that thanks to Bo, I was just good without people.

Now my world is entirely different.

I have less distractions from my work and myself.

I am now on a journey to find what is normal for me and really look at where I’m going and what I want.

I used to want a house because I wanted a yard for Bo. I sometimes thought of getting my license, so I could take Bo for car rides. And I used to say that if a guy didn’t greet Bo first, he wasn’t for me.

The question now is;

What do I want for me?
The answer to this is, I don’t know.

I have not experienced life enough to know what I want.

    I know what I don’t want.

  • I don’t want to be sick any more.
  • I don’t want to bend or break my boundaries any more.
  • I don’t want to keep playing small any more.
  • I don’t want to use others as my reasons any more.

So, I guess you can say, I want experiences.
I want to live big and true to me.
I want to find the magick of truly living and share that with others.
2019 Here I come!

Full of wonder and excitement while remaining humble with the loss of my best friend and thinking of him every step of the way.

The Struggle to Go Paperless

The Struggle to Go Paperless

Some links in this post are affiliate links. This means that I will make a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase via an affiliate link in my post.

Affiliate links are marked with an “(Affiliate link)” beside the link.

Going paperless is something I have thought about off and on for a few years.

The piles of printed training materials and handwritten notes just seem to grow and grow and grow.

A few months ago, I had a big turning point in my life and realized that I wanted to get rid of a lot of my stuff and prepare to have a freedom lifestyle.

I have been shredding and recycling, scanning, and typing ever since.

However, this isn’t an easy task.

The world has already lost 80% of its forests and we’re continually losing them at a rate of 375 km2 per day!

The World Counts

1. The Rules of going paper free

There are some things that you need to keep.

Taxes from the past 7 years, items of sentimental value, hard copies of things such as contracts, receipts for upcoming taxes, and so on.

Although sometimes things like photographs can be scanned and kept digitally anyways, that’s up to you.

Some people also scan their receipts and perhaps you could also scan the hard copies and taxes but that’s up to legal rules where you live and what you are comfortable with.

NOTE: Remember to shred anything you don’t need any more that has personal information – either yours or someone else’s.

At the current rate of deforestation, 5-10% of tropical forest species will become extinct every decade.

The World Counts

2. The tools

There are a few tools I use for going paper-free:

Evernote (affiliate link) is a popular tool for those going paper free. When I first started looking into this concept I found a ton of people who have already used Evernote to successfully complete the paper free goal.

You can find YouTube videos, articles, guides, and more all dedicated to going paperless with Evernote (affiliate link).

Here are some references:

I recommend upgrading to the business version of Evernote (affiliate link) instead of sticking with the free, so you can access it on all your devices and have greater capabilities.

Once you have the tools that you need you can get to sorting your papers.

NOTE: You should also consider a system backup option such as iDrive to ensure that even if your system crashes or a file doesn’t save properly in Evernote or your digital file system, that it isn’t lost.

Lessening of paper usage was predicted due to the electronic revolution. It didn’t happen. Demand for paper is expected to double before 2030.

The World Counts

3. The method

So how does it work?

Make piles.

I have a pile of notes to type up, a pile of stuff to scan and shred, and a pile of printed PDFs to see if I have them in my computer still then I can just recycle them.

Your piles will differ based on the type of papers you have around.

You will likely find that you have kept papers that can just go straight into recycling and that will feel awesome as you get rid of them.

I suggest that you pick the pile that’s easiest to complete first so you can clear out some stuff and feel great about it!

Others may choose to start with the hardest pile to get it over with.

The process will entirely depend on you.

In Evernote (affiliate link) you can tag and title your documents and find them via the search tool. Yes, even PDFs are searchable by the text that’s in them.

You can organize both in Evernote (affiliate link) and your digital file system (such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or your native file system but that’s not backed up) in much the same way on the surface.

You create a file for the type of documents you want to save, in Evernote (affiliate link), this would be a notebook.

Then you create subfolders but in Evernote (affiliate link), you just create notes in the notebook you created or notebooks within stacks and then notes in the notebooks.

In your digital file system, you can only search based on the title of the document whereas in Evernote (affiliate link) you can search based on text in the note as well as tags that you assign to the note.

I’m sure you can see how these systems each have their benefits.

You can find templates for Evernote (affiliate link) or files such as word documents to help make the process easier to continue using as well.

Why it’s so hard (for me)

Going paperless will be easier for some than others, naturally.

I tend to be more visual. I’ve even gone so far as to have a wall calendar.

I also prefer to write out notes and reminders by hand, so I can check them off or cross them out as I go. This does have challenges though, so I’ve taken to writing things out by hand then typing them up.

The switch to less paper really comes down to changing our habits above all else. The tools are there and constantly improving and often available for free.

What exceptions I make

I tried very hard to create a bullet journal in Evernote (affiliate link) and this is absolutely do-able, but not for me.

I really needed to write things down by hand, so I caved and went back to a physical bullet journal for to-do lists and reminders.

I do create a monthly calendar in my bullet journal but I’m also trying to use Google calendar more and more for reminders, particularly for things that are recurring like bills and birthdays (I’m so bad at remembering those!).

Can you go paperless?

You can go paperless but find the way that works for you.

We all learn and retain information in our own way so why would that be any different with your everyday life?!

If writing something by hand works best for you then look at using recycled or scrap paper and typing it up for easier reference in Evernote (affiliate link) once the paper is full.

If you prefer a tool like OneNote instead of Evernote, then find what works for you.

For to do lists you may prefer tools such as Trello (I love this for blog post ideas and processes), Asana (more business oriented), Wunderlist, or even a checklist in Evernote (affiliate link).

For a comparison of Evernote, Trello and Asana you can read my blog post Evernote, Trello, and Asana – which one is for you?

There are a lot of tools out there so if Evernote (affiliate link) doesn’t work for you, you will find something that does.

Think of how much lighter you will feel when you have less paper collecting dust and taking up space and all of your thoughts and information at your fingertips?!

Paper pollution is another effect of paper waste and it’s a serious problem. It is estimated that by 2020, paper mills will be producing 500,000,000 tons of paper and paperboard each year! We obviously need this product and a reduction of use is not in the horizon. Pulp and paper is the 3rd largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil. Chlorine-based bleaches are used during production which results in toxic materials being released into our water, air and soil. When paper rots, it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2.

The World Counts

Not convincing enough?

Every tree makes enough oxygen for 3 people to breath but to print the Sunday edition of the New York Times it takes 75,000 trees.

The demand for paper was expected to decrease with the rise of technology but unfortunately, it’s still growing.

If we can even reduce our daily paper usage a little bit then we can save a tree and slow deforestation.

Do you have a paperless tip? Let me know in the comments.

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The Cost of Traffic

The Cost of Traffic

One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the cost of traffic.

Recently it was brought to my attention that Etsy was increasing its fees again and some people were freaking out.

Organic traffic may not cost you per click or acquisition or lead but it is certainly a time investment to create posts, engage, schedule, research, experiment, and so on.

Paid traffic will cost you more than $0.20US per listing and 5% per transaction ($5 on a $100 order).

Etsy has already done the work to build up their platform’s incoming and returning traffic and they continue to do so both organically and through paid methods.

The sellers also help to bring in the traffic not just for themselves but for other sellers.

Instead of worrying about the fees, let’s consider asking ourselves about traffic to our own website.

Driving Traffic Organically

What are the organic methods of traffic for you to consider for your shop or website?


Facebook has made a lot of not-so-business-friendly changes recently, which means that organic reach is not as easily accessible for pages.

Before you suggest that you will just use a profile then, you should know that it’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use your personal profile as a business profile.

So, what is Facebook good for if not organic reach?


Facebook is still an awesome platform for organizing your audience into great, interactive groups. Funnel them into your newsletter then invite them into your groups for further interaction and connection.


Twitter can be great for reaching people if your market is on there.

Your tweets reach your audience and those searching for certain topics, so you can reach new people.
If your target market isn’t there, then you could be wasting time by making it a priority.


Instagram is growing in popularity and getting followers is easier than it is on Facebook.

However, you are only allowed 1 link, which is in your profile, until you hit 10,000 followers, at which point you gain access to adding links to individual Instagram Story posts.

Yet, Instagram has added buyable posts for those approved and using hashtags, location tags doing live videos, and now, starting your IGTV channel will get your content in front of new eyes and it’s all free.
Create a great strategy and work IG with devotion and you can see a great return.


I have found Pinterest to be an awesome way to drive traffic to my website and my client’s websites.

When I have put regular time into pinning on Pinterest, both other people’s content and my own, I have seen it being the top traffic driver for my website.

Pinterest is also a great way to make affiliate income and now also has buyable pins for US priced shops.

Online Listings and forums

You can do a search for online listings for your specific industry or problem you are solving and find quite a few I’m sure.

Many listing sites will allow you to list your business for free and others will want you to purchase membership.

In the case of organic traffic, you would be only listing in free sites and finding forums that are active on your topic to engage in.

This can help you get targeted traffic from the listings and build relationships that visit your site and grow into customers from your forum interactions.

Joint Ventures/Affiliations

While building relationships, either online or in person, you will find people who complement what you offer well.

This could lead to wonderful ideas of programs (like summits), presentations (webinars), guest posts, and other creative offerings that you could do together for each other’s audiences.

In turn, this would grow your audience and theirs by sharing each other’s talents and offerings.

The Low Down of Organic

While this all sounds great there’s a lot to consider.

You need to first create a strategy, figure out your branding, target market, offerings, message, etc….This is whether you use paid of organic methods.

Really though, organic is not free.

If you are doing all the work yourself at $30 an hour (obviously unpaid) and spending hours working on this then it’s still costing you in time.

If you hire someone you are looking at a rate of $50 an hour or more and will limit the time they can spend on your organic methods.

One way or another you still need to drive traffic, and everyone starts out with organic and spends hours of their time doing so.

Now for paid

Just as there are several ways to drive traffic to your website organically, there are also lots of ways to drive traffic using paid methods.

Paid methods may be more successful, but they can also break and waste the budget if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Paid Ads

According to a 2017 study by Ad Espresso the cost of a click via Facebook ads is around $1.

While according to Wordstream, a 2015 post pegs the cost of Adwords also around $1 per click.

Yet, according to the Google Analytics for my Etsy shop (which I don’t really do much with), I have had 5 shop visitors for the month of June.

This would have cost me $5 even though they didn’t purchase anything. Instead, with Etsy fees, it only cost me less than $2 (it was over $2 when converted to Canadian dollars).

Therefore, it saved me money which could have been spent on paid ads.

Some may argue that the paid ads on my part would have been more targeted but in the case of my Etsy example the people coming to Etsy are looking for specific types of things and are often looking to buy, whether now or in the future.

If they are just looking to Pin my products for later use they are then, in turn, giving me more free advertising.

Paid listings, membership sites, and affiliations (sponsorships)

This is quite the grouping, but I really don’t want to spend as much time here because the costs are so varied.

Just as I had mentioned that there are sites for listing your business there are also paid version. It will be up to you to read through the media kit and evaluate the value of the site before accepting its validity for your business.

This is the same for membership sites.

As for affiliations, this is a HUGE topic of its own.

This can come in paying to do a webinar for someone’s audience, paying for them to post about your business (money or product), paying for traffic (don’t do this!), paying for them to email their audience about you, and so on.

This range of cost is huge as each person sets their own rates and it will vary by so many factors.

Let’s Cash This Out

Whether you’re using a 3rd party platform for your shop such as Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, the fees are worth it when you factor in all it takes to drive traffic yourself.

This isn’t to say that you should stop driving traffic, but you could focus more on relationship building with organic methods rather than paying for ads as well.

As you make more money then you pay for ads to bring in yet more money.

By building relationships via organic methods you are building the audience to target your ads to and learning more about them along the way.

So, next time a platform increases their fees you should think about how much time and money it would take you to drive the same amount of traffic.

If you can bring more traffic and convert visitors to buyers more then add in the cost of hosting and branch out on your own to your own website such as Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce.

Otherwise, figure out all the tools the platform(s) you are using has to offer you and stop whining about the fees.

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9 Things I Learned in My 31st Year of Life

9 Things I Learned in My 31st Year of Life

I was going to write a full journal piece for my birthday as I have past years but this time I was drawn to a list of everything I had learned and experienced. So it turned in to something more that took me a bit longer to complete.

For me, my birthday is my new year so this will have some interesting lessons and be a bit personal.

1. Anxiety sucks but if you go to the right places problems are less likely to happen.

Social anxiety can be really hard to deal with. You want human interaction and connection but once you are gripped by fear your body will do things to stop you.

For example I will get fevers and nausea. Then I will cancel because I am sick. I also get motion sickness on the TTC which is another great excuse not to go out.

This past year though I was determined to start seriously working on my business and began pushing myself out the door to business events.

I have since come to the realization that there is less likely to be drama, scary weirdness or uncomfortable issues at business events. This doesn’t eliminate my anxiety but it does make it easier to push through the fear and get out to those events.

2. “It’s not about eliminating the fear but doing it despite the fear.”

I love seeing a counselor!! Some people think this means weakness or some bad stigma but honestly, who doesn’t need a neutral person to talk to from time to time?!

My awesome counselor, Marsha, has been a great comfort in getting to process my challenges over the past year and gave me the great line I quoted above. It may not be exactly what she said but you get the idea.

I was talking about getting rid of my fear in order to be able to get out there and move forward and she threw that line at me which caused deep thinking on my part.

How else do we eliminate fear if we don’t get out there and do it anyways to see that it isn’t that scary after all?

3. No one will ever love and devote themselves to your dreams (or business) as much as you will.

Some of you know that I tried to take on a business partner over the past year. I can honestly say that I learned sooooooo much from that experience! I can’t share all of it in this manner but I can say that as much as we want our ideas and dreams to be contagious to others it never will be on the same level.

We are the only ones that can wholeheartedly and truly see the future of our thoughts and actions and the purpose behind them.

We can put those in to words but we can’t share the feelings and images in our heads. We have to realize that it is our treasure to hold and cherish.

4. Ask lots of questions!!

This one covers so many areas of business and life.

From being an employee to talking to potential clients and of course mentors.

If you don’t know every thing you need to don’t wait for it to come to you, ask!

Don’t do something without knowing why, ask!

Don’t assume, ask!

I think you get the gist 😉

5. It’s not about selling, it’s about building relationships.

In the old days of hard core car and door to door sales selling was all the rage. The hard sell, the soft sell, just sell!

Now we have moved on to a relationship economy.

At first this was hard for me to swallow. I had been taking my cats and Bo to the vet often as all were sick and I was constantly pushing him to move forward with his online presence. I was frustrated each time he said not yet.

Finally when the time came I realized that over all the time I had been going there I had built up a relationship with him and his team. Which makes my work that much more rewarding and important to me.

I hadn’t really looked at it like relationship building though until I was parting ways with a client I wasn’t enjoying. Their new marketing director had taken to mentoring me and had pointed out this gem of a concept.

Now I realize that I won’t be happy with just any old job, it’s all about the relationship that comes with it.

Interestingly enough this was what I wanted from the time I seriously restarted my business. I just lost site of that.

6. Not having boundaries can be exhausting.

When you do jobs like social media management the world expects you to be available 24/7 for any client interactions.

This as you can imagine is exhausting.

It finally started to wear me down at the end of 2015 and the marketing director mentioned above pointed it out.

He advised me to create a schedule but I rejected that idea. I still do to a degree but I now take Saturdays off and turn the sound off on my phone. I also set project deadlines.

After just 4 Saturdays off I already feel much more rested and in control again. I highly recommend setting boundaries, even if you are just starting out!

7. “Everything is figureoutable” credit Marie Forleo.

I was only reminded of this one again last month but I am already planning on putting it up on my wall.

How many times do we hit a stressful situation and have the panic set in??

Yeah, too often!

It’s great to sit back and remember that there is a solution to everything. I wish I had this pasted to my forehead….ok maybe not, but it would have been helpful to remember throughout my life, not just this past year.

8. We are our greatest obstacle.

We hear this many times but how much do you actually let it sink in?

This past year I found it to be very, very true!!!

Are you afraid of success? Do you see money as evil? Do you have high expectations of others and even higher expectations of yourself?

How we feel about things like money, relationships, business and ourselves can really get in our way. We will build up subconscious barriers to moving forward and find anything to blame but ourselves.

This past year I have been working on getting out of my own way.

I have a long way to go but I would say I’ve come a great distance in the marathon!

9. Education is the best remedy to curiosity, ignorance, fear and more.

It can be so hard to make time to keep learning when we are starting a new business or rushing through life like we have a stop watch hanging around our necks.

As a pit bull advocate I have learned that education really can help so many problems. Not just breed ignorance but fear based aggression, hatred and blocks towards other challenging human issues.

Working in social media being on top of new trends, platform updates and customer interactions can be challenging but it’s a must if you are going to do your job well.

Education is also important to learning something new. We get bored with life if it’s always the same. So take the time to learn something new. Practice, try and even fail. Nothing will help you grow better than the experience of the learning curve!


I am certain I have learned a lot more over the past year and some of it will be saved for other posts.

What have you learned over the past year (2015?). Did you learn new things about business, life or your self?

I would love to hear what lessons you have learned that I can learn from also!!