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Paperless, the preamble

I hate paper. I work in a radiology department that sees over 160 outpatients a day along with an additional 200 inpatients and Emergency Patients. My department is part of a very busy 200+ bed hospital led by excellent leadership. All of these patients and beds requires a whole lot of meetings and committees. All of these meetings and committees generate a whole lot of mail, emails, purchase requisitions, and other assorted scraps. And somehow, all of this paper ends up on my desk or clogging my inbox. What to do?

Over the years I have tried many different products and processes to get a handle on all of this paper and emails. The biggest progress I ever made towards simplification was when I jumped into GTD with both feet a few years ago. My journey began with the initial step of purging stuff I did not need and organizing the stuff I did in a logical filing system. I had attained a certain peach in my organization.

Along with this paper nirvana I attained a certain amount of email enlightenment utilizing very simple email folders like @file, @waiting, @someday and @thank you (for patient voice messages waiting to be shared with my staff). Utilizing these contexts/folders I have been able to very quickly process my inbox either at my desk or on my Blackberry (stay tuned for my next post on this topic).

So, in the days before the iPad I really was able to get a handle on the paper and email. The problem really was that the paper was stuck in my office and the email was stuck in Outlook. The other problem I had is all the paper generated from my hand-written notes taken at the various meetings I attend on a too regular basis. These notes are often critical to the work I do and the projects that I work on; I often need to refer back to notes at various times of the day in various contexts; whether I am sitting at my desk, another meeting or at home.

So, over the coming weeks I plan on writing several posts describing my journey from paper and pencil with the Blackberry to simply iPad and Blackberry. I am sure my process will not work for everyone, but I hope that some of my hacks and tweaks may be useful to some of you!

Stay tuned!

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