I’m a huge fan of productivity. I love reading books, listening to speakers, and running to podcasts that discuss new and old ideas on how to be more productive. I also love trying new and different things (that sometimes don’t work) on the road to reducing my time wasted. When I waste time (lying in bed all Saturday watching a Real Housewives marathon, for example), I want to know I’m wasting it, and want to be doing it on purpose.
One way I try to be more productive in life is that I regularly review some of the time sucks in my life to see if there is a way to reduce or eliminate these drains on energy and hours.
Today, I’m going to share one of the banes of my energy wasting existence.
It’s called a fax.
There are so many useless examples of faxes run amok in this world, but I’ll just take one particular case study for today’s diatribe.
Documents You Want Me to Hand-Sign
If you spend any time speaking at places (like I do), you know that event coordinators have important legal issues surrounding the speakers they bring in. I get this. If it was my event I would also want to protect myself and the hard-earned money I’ve put into running said shindig. What I do not get, however, is the incredible waste of time and effort that is printing, faxing, signing, scanning, sending faxes the world over. In 2011, no less.
Let’s say you have an event with 100 speakers (very reasonable number for an event with 4 keynotes, 2 breakout sessions, and 10 panels). For each speaker, you need them to receive, sign, fax back 2-3 forms (waivers, travel forms, standard agreements). Then, you likely need to counter-sign and counter-fax said scraps of paper back.
This is, in short, absurd.
On my end, it takes up likely 5 hours a month of my time that I have to plan well to coordinate with when on earth I’ll be near a fax (Delta has yet to install these in seat backs). Time that could be spent watching the Next Food Network Star or reading 100 books, I might add. I can only imagine how many people are hired to manage said faxing on the event side.
Let’s be clear.
No, I don’t think my life is so incredibly interesting that I am above faxes. But no, I don’t want to spend 5 hours a month doing it. And no, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that in this sparkly year of 2011 there isn’t a better solution.
Finally, no, I don’t have a better idea.
Do you do something smart to eliminate mind-numbing faxes from your life? Something that the other end (the people requesting such scraps of paper sent into the ether) actually accept?