Printing on paper is a bad habit

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Why do we print things on 8.5-11? pieces of amalgamated fibers? It-s a valid question these days. We have trained ourselves over thousands of years to cling to something physical or tangible. I just call it stuff. The digital age has brought about new adaptation challenges and the bad habits that come with them. Printing on paper is just one of them.

What makes us convert that index-able, indefinitely achievable, extensible digital file to a physical, fragile and perishable paper format anyway? The first answers that come to mind is portability and well- just plain habit. We want to take that information with us; in the car, to a meeting, or for later use. It is convenient (for the most part) to print something in expectation of needing it in the future. It is so common to want to hold onto that physical representation of information, it has become habit. But think about it- is printing really the best solution. Maybe in isolated cases, but for the most part there are much better options. The Internet for one is extremely portable and convenient. Do yourself a favor, keep those digital files- they aren-t going anywhere (as long as you have a backup strategy). Your mobile phone or portable computer most likely can (or will very soon) allow you access to ALL your files.

Another reason printing it is a bad habit is the stress it causes. For me it has always been a nightmare. Before the affordable laser printer; dot-matrix and ink jet were the norm. Paper jams, head cleaning, calibration or just running out of ink where daily occurrences. I currently have a HP-1020 that for the most part has served me well (aside from the early vista driver issues). Most of what is printed is single use, never to be looked at again. The paper ends up in a stack and ultimately gets in you way. It takes tremendous amounts of time to sort papers. This is where the duplex scanner comes in, but why print on the paper it in the first place? If you really need to -print- it for an archive, try doPDF.

I am sure you have heard about the paperless movement. It-s just another reason to ditch the printer. It sounds great, but we are just on the edge of making it a reality. I am no-where near paperless, but like most of us, have already started the process. Most of my bills are now paperless. I recently changed my car insurance policy with Progressive, they even offered to plant a tree in a National forest if I went paperless! The incentives for businesses are huge. I think the individual/consumer has yet to see or feel the full value. Everyone wants less junk mail, but what about the other benefits. Getting rid of or reducing your printing is a big part of the equation and should be a motivator. It definitely is for me.

Next time you print something, ask yourself- -do I really need this on a piece of paper?- Do yourself and the world a favor- break the habit.

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