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.
- Buy recycled paper (and other) products.
- Only print what’s necessary and use the tablet or phone to view prompts for reflection instead of printing them out.
- 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.
- Use all the space on the page instead of starting a new page for every thought. Why not use doodles as dividers between content?!
- Use what you already have before buying anything new. Don’t be a hoarder!
Recycled paper is usually labelled as such and you can find many dedicated companies/makers who sell recycled products.
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.
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.
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.
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.