Paperless Office

Ode to the Paperless Office

Here’s a peek of my current working space

In the last 30 days my living circumstances have been unexpectedly and dramatically changed forcing me to literally re think the way I have been running my business. 

Slowly but surely over the past 2 I have been making my way to becoming less dependent upon paper in my business. Gone are the files and notebooks filled with paper that I rarely touched! All I have now in my office is one basket of paper and I predict that in 6 months I’ll find a way to get rid of it too….

What's remaining of the mountains of paper in my office. What’s remaining of the mountains of paper in my office.

2013 saw me building systems and documentation to run my business using my Virtual Team to handle all repeating tasks for myself and my clients.  Doing this has freed up so much time and saved my clients both time and money.

Now I find myself faced with operating my business out of a space (or lack of) that I did not foresee.  Not that this is a bad thing mind you!  I like to look at change as a nudge from the universe to move in a new way rather than resisting change altogether.  When I was talking to my friend and mentor Tina Forsyth about my move, I told her that I was looking at this as an opportunity to not let my situation stop me but instead to inspire me.

In the past 5 years my family and I have gone from living in too much space (5000 sq ft) to smaller quarters (3000 sq ft) and now we are living in even smaller quarters (1500 sq ft).  When I was living in the too much space, I had a horrible place for an office (a dimly lit laundry room) and that is where I started to grow my office.  The next move saw me working in an open space, until I took over a dedicated space (a bedroom converted into an office) where my business began to really flourish.  Now we are in the smallest living space and I have been able to carve out a small private space for my business. I’m not daunted by the fact that I’m building my business and not in a office – it really doesn’t matter as I am looking it as a challenge not a hindrance.

What this has forced me to do is to become even more centralized and move to creating a paperless office.  I realized the necessity of this as I boxed up my office for the move – what was I going to do with the shelves of business books and notebooks of things I learned?  I was started to really think about how many times did I touch this stuff?  Especially the notebooks I have of notes from training and coaching sessions .  I asked myself…

Do I really need all of this paper?

The answer truthfully is no.  I took a hard look and realized that I only use about 5% or less of what I had on those shelves.  So I boxed it all up and moved into the smaller digs with only 2 boxes of paper.  When I unpacked those boxes I realized that of those two boxes, I really only needed one of them!  So I shuffled off the box to the back of my closet until I have time to get rid of what is in there.

Once, I made the change to a paperless office (or almost one), I realized that I am not the only one who is thinking and behaving this way.

I watched Marissa Murgatroyd’s 30 day challenge video this week and realized that her office is located in an apartment.  During the webcast her husband walked by in the background!  She also gave viewers a peek into her plan for 2014 and guess what?  She will only be in her home base for a fraction of 2014.  She is committed to running and growing her multi-6 figure business from the road, traveling around the world with her husband. What an inspiration…if she can do it then I can do it too!

So I challenge you (and myself) to take a hard look at what you really use and to make the transition to a paperless office.

Here are my steps to get started creating a paperless office

1.  Start by creating a dashboard for your coaching/consulting business – read about how to do this in this post right here:  Building your dashboard system

2.  Keep your notes in either Google docs or Evernote.

3.  Centralize and get things out of your desk and off your hard drive – this is especially important if you work with a virtual team.  I have all of my documents now in the cloud using dropbox so I can virtually work from anywhere!  Running your  growing business from paper

4.  Set up systems to run your business .   One of my favorite books about systems Work the System by Sam Carpenter.  This book changed my mindset about creating systems and has really freed me up to be able to help more people.

5.  Throw out anything that you haven’t touched in a year.  Go through your files both virtual and paper and get rid of the clutter and start to see how freeing that is.  It’s probably all outdated anyways!


Have fun creating your paperless office and let me know how it goes!

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