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7 Ways to Be Greener and More Productive with Your Printer

7 Ways to Be Greener and More Productive with Your Printer

Your printer is probably a utilitarian workhorse that you don’t think about until it’s broken. Why not spend a moment to consider the use of your printer so you can save some time and some paper too? Here are seven practical, easy-to-implement tips:

1. Keep supplies at the point of use. You can use Velcro (I like Industrial Strength) to stick frequently used supplies directly onto the side of your printer or the printer cart. This photo shows a rubber stamp that says “FAXED” that is attached with Velcro to the side of this printer/fax machine, for example.

fax stamp

    2. Print in “draft” mode to save ink. Using the draft printing mode of your printer’s settings can save you ink (and therefore money). When you need to print something formally, you can change the settings to normal.

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    scratch paper tray

      3. Keep a scratch paper tray. This photo at left shows paper trays located in the printer cart just beneath the printer, which have new, pristine paper in one tray and scratch paper in the other. When you print something that has only a few lines on it or otherwise can be used again, you can easily throw it in this tray.

      4. Make your printed documents come out in proper order. You can usually change your printer’s settings to print document pages in reverse order by default. The result? Papers come out already stacked in the right order, ready to staple. No more shuffling 36 pages of a document to reorder them! [EDITOR’S NOTE: Not all printers print backwards by default; test yours with a short document first.]

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      5. Use scratch paper by default, and print on new paper only when necessary. Before inserting a stack of scratch paper into your printer for use, put a sticky note on the back of the last page of the stack.

      scratch paper

        Then put that stack on top of some new paper. (See photo at right for illustration) When you’re ready to print on new paper, you can see the sticky note indicating the bottom of the scratch paper stack and pull it out quickly.

        6. Label your printer’s particularities. Are you (or your coworkers) forever asking, “Now which way does the paper go in? Face up or down?” Manufacturers often indicate this on the printer itself in some kind of international symbol language nobody seems to notice, but you can make it simple by just printing a label that says “FACE UP.” Here are a couple of examples.

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        face up label

           

          paper feed label

            7. Just don’t print. Of course, it’s better to not print at all if you can possibly do that. If you don’t already have software to make PDF documents, by all means, get that capability so you can print to PDF instead.  Try Adobe Acrobat or Cute PDF. Also try SnagIt (one of my personal favorites- see my previous article “A Professional Organizer’s Favorite Software” for more). SnagIt takes screenshots of regions of your screen or even scrolling web pages (saving the links!).

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            Appreciate your workhorse printer today! And if your printer is cranky, maybe implementing these tips will make it be nicer to you.

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            Last Updated on March 23, 2021

            Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

            Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

            One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

            The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

            You need more than time management. You need energy management

            1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

            How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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            I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

            I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

            2. Determine your “peak hours”

            Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

            Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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            My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

            In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

            Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

            3. Block those high-energy hours

            Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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            Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

            If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

            That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

            There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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            Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

            Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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