Can you go paperless with your office and household in the Philippines? It is something I am going to be trying!
Well, it is somewhat difficult and different from doing it in many other countries, but it is something I am trying right now.
Over the past 5 years or so, I have been thinking about trying to eliminate as much paper as possible from my home and office. I have moved that way during these years, but have not achieved the level that I want to achieve. For the most part my lack of the success that I want to achieve has come from losing interest, or general laziness on the project. I have been able to sustain the limited success that I have achieved, but I want to take it to the next level.
Why is it harder in the Philippines?
Well, it is more difficult to achieve here in the Philippines, because the Philippines is a very paper oriented society. There are little slips of paper for everything, and you will find that you need to keep those papers for a long, long time. If you don’t have the little paper that you received 5 years ago for some small transaction, it will come back and bit you, believe me.
For example, when you go get your driver’s license, you will (eventually) get your plastic license, and you will also get a small paper receipt for the license. In most places you will just throw the paper receipt away, but don’t do that here. I can assure you times will arise when showing your driver’s license is not good enough, you will be asked to show the receipt too! If you have gone paperless, and have a scan of that paper receipt on your phone, well, that won’t suffice, you need that piece of paper!
Another example is that in the USA and other countries, if you get an eTicket for your airline flight, a lot of people just show the eTicket on their cellphone and that is fine. Here, you better have a printed out copy or you probably won’t be boarding the plane!
Evernote is a key for me
A few years back, I started using Evernote for note taking. It is very convenient for me, and I can store important information that I can use anytime I need it. One of the great things about Evernote is that it is a cross-platform application. You can upload things on your cellphone application, and it will be on your PC, or your Tablet or wherever else you are using the application. I use Evernote pretty extensively, and using it to go paperless is just a natural step for me to take.
There is a kind of tech guru guy that I follow pretty closely. His name is Steve Dotto. Steve is Canadian, and used to have a Tech TV show in Canada, but now he does everything on his own website and on YouTube. I like Steve a lot. Steve is a real guru on Evernote, and I have taken some of his Evernote courses to learn the software. The thing that got me going about going paperless was that last week, Steve had a webinar featuring a guest named Brooks Duncan.
Brooks is a very smart guy and knows everything about going paperless, and I really felt inspired to do it when I watched the Webinar.
Steve being a big Evernote guru brought in using Evernote to go paperless, and that inspired me to do it with Evernote, since I use the software extensively anyway.
Not about the Environment
For me, going paperless is not about saving trees or helping the environment. That is a big motivator for many people, and I have no problem if that is how they feel, but it is not the motivation for me. My motivation is to clean up the clutter and not have to dig through papers all the time.
But, Can I do it in the Philippines?
Like I said earlier, in the Philippines, but I still feel that I can make headway on this. I can cut back on paper. I can also keep it better filed as paper, and still have everything available to me online, on my cellphone, in the cloud or wherever. In cases where I can use my digital copy, that makes things very easy. In cases where they demand the paper, if I have a digital copy I know there is also a hard copy, and hopefully my system will make it easy for me to find.
One part of my (hybrid) paperless system that I already have in place, and that I can see is going to be great, is Immigration things. I have all of my Official Receipts, all of my Annual Report paperwork and such in my paperless repository now. I have digital copies of my passport and all immigration records, also my ACR I-Card. Everything I could possibly ever need for the Bureau of Immigration is available on the Cloud, on my cellphone, and filed away on paper in case I need that.
I do think that in years to come, Philippine society will become more friendly toward paperless systems, and what I am setting up now will make me ready when/if that day does come.
Can I do it in the Philippines? I think that a modified/hybrid paperless system is possible.. and I’m going to try! Wish me luck!