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WHY REDUCE PAPER USE? Aside from being better for the environment, reducing paper also means lower expenses for your business. You'll obviously spend less on paper intake forms and business cards, but there are also fewer (or no) shredding fees for old files, lower furniture costs for not buying that second file cabinet, and less space needed for storage. Less Paper, Less Stress Also, less clutter and stuff feels good. We're big believers in eliminating clutter—especially paper clutter. Doing so opens up space and energy, and frees your mind to focus on more important things. And that's not just our opinion: A number of researchers have established a link between clutter and anxiety. In a 2016 article from Psych Central, Audrey Sherman, PhD, states, "The stress chemicals from disorganization eat up the good chemicals needed for mood stabilization. With that process in effect, you feel depressed and overwhelmed." 1 In a 2012 issue of Psychology Today, Sherrie Bourg Carter, PsyD, writes, "Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren't necessary or important." 2 Reducing paper can go a long way toward lowering stress and anxiety. Less Paper is Safer Storing information digitally is generally much safer than paper files. One flood or fire can destroy years of client charts. A lost appointment book is a logistical nightmare. But electronic charts stored in the cloud (which means they are online and accessible to you anywhere) are available from any computer at any time. Not sure about the cloud? Files stored on a computer and backed up regularly to an external hard drive are similarly safe from destruction and loss. And an online schedule is a lifesaver Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 19 for someone who doesn't want to lug around a calendar or tends to lose things. Less Paper is Easier Digital security is generally easier to maintain than physical security. To secure paper files, you need to make sure they are stored with physical barriers like lockboxes, alarm systems, and doors with acceptable locking mechanisms. Even with all these measures, it can be difficult to ensure the physical safety of paper documents. Assuming mainstream service providers are used (like Google or Dropbox), digital files are typically stored in large data centers with extreme security measures in place and 24-7 monitoring. The millions of dollars these cloud storage providers spend on security may be a safer bet than the $50 you spent on a lockbox. FACTORS TO CONSIDER Is There a Downside? There can be a downside to going paperless. Most methods require you to be dependent on electronic devices and the internet, and not every business owner is comfortable in those realms. Using paperless storage requires one to be vigilant about storage and backups. We think learning these skills will benefit you in your personal life too, so we're advocates of getting hip with digital storage, regardless of the paper decisions you make for your business. Aside from being better for the environment, reducing paper also means lower expenses for your business.

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