I am a stationery hoarder. I love pens, paper, I love to discover new stuff at Michaels, and I get crazy with art supplies coupons. You know that lack of self-control when you don’t need something but you want it so you pretend you need it? We all need that brand new notebook to start, or we need a really nice pen. I made a huge mistake last year, I bought a Ban.do planner because I needed it (thank goodness I didn’t buy The Happy Planner–$80 wasted) and I was hyped about it . . . for the first 3 days.
But here’s the thing, on a daily basis, I use Asana (an online planner), every time, anywhere. So, who was I trying to be? I was being ridiculous. I gave up the paper planner in 3 days. I felt so guilty. I spent $14 on paper that I won’t use anymore (it was on sale). So, I made a promise to myself: no more paper planners, no more tryouts using the Bullet Journal method.
Are you struggling with these issues, too? Are you spending money on planners you don’t need and paper calendars and pens? Are you still performing all your tasks the old school way? Do you want to find a better, less time-consuming way to do your job?
Here are just a few ideas I’ve come up with to not just save energy and time (which we could always use more of), but inevitably make a difference in the world by moving in the direction of going completely paperless. I’m here to show you that all the things you think you need, you don’t actually need at all– like a paper calendar, a paper monthly calendar, magazine subscriptions, post-its, binders, file folders, stapler, three-hole punch, etc. You don’t need all this because the internet is here and it’s a beautiful thing, so let’s use it. Let’s clean up our workspaces of all the unnecessary stuff and be happier.
Consider online calendars and organizers
Here is my first piece of advice: If you don’t have a Gmail account yet, make one. It’s free (yay!) and you will get a bunch of services for free, too. Below is the list of everything you can remove from your busy life just by signing into a free Google account.
File Organizers/File Folders
Working on the go requires a light load; preferably just your laptop. Do you remember when we used to receive bills in the mail? Yeah, that’s all in the past now. You don’t need an organizer or file folders to keep track of when most of those bills and statements are coming in via email. Google makes it simple to organize. You can make filters on your email account, split the entire inbox by clients, bills, newsletters, and promotions. And guess what? You don’t have to print anything, it’s all saved on the cloud! Simple, right? No more file organizer cluttering your desk, no more annoying paper folders to lug around.
It isn’t just Google that can help you for free, either. There are so many free online services out there; it just takes some research and a determined mind to find them. One I use on a daily basis and that I have mentioned earlier in this post is Asana. Do you have meetings scheduled on that paper calendar? Not anymore. Need to share a task with someone else in the office? Done. Asana is just one of the helpful free tools available for a busy dental professional on the go.
I have 3 different calendars inside my main Google Calendar, two are shared with other people but it’s all inside one. I have never printed a page. I can see on my Android phone, my iPad and my computer, it’s responsive and there are different views (1 day, 4 days, a week, a month and agenda). I use an appointment system on my website, and every time someone books a meeting with me, I receive an email and the Google Calendar updates automatically. Seriously? How awesome is this?
If you like keeping post-its, but they are making a mess of your desk, your computer, and your life, this free app called Google Keep is all you need. You can even make tags for each post-it, organized by color.
Purchase a second monitor
Do you do a lot of your paperwork from home? If you do, I am obligated to tell you that life is too short to open and close windows on one screen all day. You don’t have to buy a brand new monitor, mine I got for $30 on Kijiji. It’s not even top-notch, it’s just an inexpensive assistant screen. Trust me, your life will change and you will have more space on the desktop to do more.
Look into a decent practice management software
If you are still using paper charts, paper calendars, and a paper filing system, it’s time to stop. All those menial tasks can be simplified with the right practice management software. Don’t believe me? Just look at some of the tasks Maxident Anywhere can do for you:
- Cloud backup with MaxiVault
- Hands-free charting with MaxiChart
- Eliminating charting errors
- Scheduling patients
- Creating and managing treatment plans
- Planning priorities effortlessly
- Can adapt to your style of dentistry and workflow to improve productivity and data accuracy
Whether you do a lot of your paperwork in an office at home or you perform those tasks on the go or at other locations, keep in mind that your life can be made a lot simpler if you just abandon the old ways and let technology work for you. Join the 21st century and you will find that you will save time, money, and especially the environment.