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What is it that makes us strike ctrl+P time after time, even when we know it increases costs and decreases sustainability? Knowing what prompts us to print too much and print unnecessarily can help us curtail our printing habits and makes it easier to encourage our colleagues to do the same.


Reason #1:  Our eyes are tired.

Does this routine sound familiar?

  1. Wake up, scroll through news stories on your phone over your morning coffee.
  2. Go to work, spend eight hours staring at your computer screen.
  3. Come home and unwind in front of Netfiix or a video game.


Sometimes it feels good to give your eyes a break and get work done on paper instead of on screen. Our eyes aren’t meant to stare at screens all day—the contrast of the screen, the subtle flicker and glare make your eyes feel tired and crave looking at paper instead of the unnatural, weirdly blue-ish light stemming from your computer, phone, or TV.  

How to break the addiction: Adjust the light coming from your monitor.

We can’t argue with tired eyes. Nor with WebMD. But we can offer a couple suggestions. We’re huge fans of f.lux, a software that adjusts the hue of light produced by your computer monitor based on the time of day and the type of lighting you’re in. This automatic, gradual change helps to ease eye strain—and it just might help you resist the urge to print. If your eyes can’t take it any more and you must print, you can still keep costs down by remembering to print in black and white and double sided.

2. We focus and comprehend better on paper.

In a survey of college students, Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication, found that 90% of students are likely to multi-task when reading online, but only 1% of those students are likely to multi-task if reading a hard copy. Even non-digital-natives can understand these staggering results: It’s easier to get pulled into watching a cat video if you’re editing a document online than if you’re pouring over a print out on your desk.

In addition to being distracted while trying to complete an on-screen task, we’re also less likely to comprehend what we’re reading even if we’re focused on it.
Because we’re so used to skimming and scanning online information, it’s easy for us to translate this superficial reading habit to more in-depth on-screen reading when scanning can lead to missing crucial information.

How to break the addiction: Limit your online distractions.

If distractions seem to always get the better of you, before you print, give these distraction-eliminating online tools a try. These tools allow you to block the sites that distract you the most (maybe Facebook? Or Reddit?), for a specific period of time, giving you a distraction-free window of time to get stuff done, including saving your organization money. 

3. We are creatures of habit.

Old habits die hard: If you’ve been printing your notes before meetings your whole career, switching to all digital notes on a tablet is going to take some time. Part of the trouble of breaking the habit of printing is lack of knowledge of alternatives. Let’s take contract signing for example: Your employees may not know about e-signature tools and instead opt to print, sign, scan, and email or fax a document after signing it out of habit. (Psst! We like HelloSign).


How to break the addiction: Set print rules and alerts based on what employees are printing.

Very few people over-print maliciously—sometimes a pop-up reminder is all we need to nudge us into better printing habits. These pop-ups can include reminders to print in black and white instead of color and to print two-sided. You can even set them up to even show the cost of the print job an employee is sending to a printer. Many employees don’t have visibility into just how much printing costs their organization. Showing employees the costs of their print jobs can lead to more mindful printing and lower costs. If Karen from accounting sees that printing her presentation in slide view for the whole team is going to cost $42, she might think twice.

imageOne has a history of helping our partners secure their print—and save money at the same time. Find out how in our fact sheet, imageOne by the Numbers: 25 Years of Savings. Or, drop us a line to learn more about implementing print rules in your organization with software solutions from imageOne. 

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