Eco Challenge – Ditch The Printer (For Work)

It’s my first day at work juggling the new job and my old job until I can officially hand off some of the work to my coworker. It’s going slightly better than expected which is what prompted today’s challenge. I’m suddenly being provided with dozens of pages of procedures and my first reaction is to print them all out and review in hardcopy. However, once I’ve read the material it’s unlikely that I’ll pull out the hardcopies again which seemed like a waste of paper.

Working remotely has many benefits, but for today’s challenge it’s main benefit is that I don’t deal with paperwork. My job can be done entirely online; although in the past I did make a habit of printing out several documents a week for review or to take notes on. Today I decided to stop working this way and find a resource online that would reduce my reliance on a printer. In fact my new method reduces the need for paper at all, even though I will likely keep a notebook handy to take notes on conference calls.

So my method of choice is Microsoft OneNote.

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Simply put, OneNote is an online notebook. I can set up separate notebooks for each project I work on and within each notebook set up separate chapters and sections. This is a screenshot of their sample notebook, my job does not revolve around camping or apple pie (though that would be cool!). I’ve been able to organize my notes, keep all my procedural docs visible within one click, and the screenshot feature means I can add snapshots from programs, presentations, and email to my notes in seconds.

Having all my notes in one place also means that I no longer have to open folder after folder, document after document looking for something. In OneNote I can access everything in the one notebook and scroll between sections with just a single click.

This is starting to sound a bit like an ad for OneNote, which was not my intention. Microsoft doesn’t have any clue who I am and I’m not being compensated in any way to talk about this. It’s simple something I’ve found useful. There are a lot of other tools out there that I could have used, but this was already loaded on my work computer and they don’t give us enhanced admin rights to download additional software without going through IT.

I’m also playing around with finding the best online To Do feature. I currently use the task list in Outlook, but I really don’t like it. I’m terrible at checking it and a week later I end of up having to filter through a list of missed tasks. I’ve also used the online program, Teux-Deux. I like this one a bit better, especially since I can leave the website up all day, front and center and it runs on a login which means I can access it on any computer if necessary.

FYI – making up tasks to include on a fake to do list is surprising difficult.

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Unfortunately I don’t have an iPhone and they don’t have an Android app yet so it won’t sync with my phone. However, this may work in my favor since I won’t be able to see my work ‘To Do’ list in off hours.

Between these two tools it should completely remove any need to print documents for my 9-5 job, saving me money on paper, ink, and even a tiny bit of electricity. I will still have a need to print a few things for my personal life but I hope to use these same tools at home to minimize any further printing.

What note taking or to do list tools do you use online? Any suggestions?

…or on a somewhat separate note…iPhone or Android? I need a new phone and I can’t decide.

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