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As we start 2012 — a year that sounded like science fiction to me when I was a kid, wondering when jetpacks and flying cats would arrive — it’s a good idea to reflect on whether we’re making the best use of available technology or if our offices are mired in obsolete gadgets that slow us down. After taking a survey of this office, here’s a list of no-brainer tools and tech that linger on for no good reason. Eliminating these could save time and money, as well as improve productivity:

The landline. This office still has a landline phone despite the presence of much better alternatives. Small and home businesses can easily ditch a landline for mobile phones only, while larger business can consider switching over to far more cost effective Voice Over IP communications.

Filing cabinets. This office used to have about a dozen filing cabinets; now we’re down to just two. Cliches aside, businesses really are going paperless, and these days there’s no need for paper storage at all. Everything of consequence can be stored online digitally, and there are evencloud storage systems available to automate and back up your virtual paperwork.

Business cards. Do you still print and distribute business cards? If so, you might be identifying yourself as someone mired in antiquity. Thanks to QR codes, LinkedIn, Web sites, and virtual business cards, there’s no reason to clog anyone’s pocket with paper anymore.

Fax machines. They’re simply… done. And have been for a decade. If the unthinkable happens and you actually need to send or receive a fax, don’t worry; there are online fax services ready to get the job done.

How does my list compare to yours? Sound off in the comments — do you agree with my list, or are any of these items still essential for your business? What did I forget that can easily be sent to the cornfield once and for all?

About The Author: Dave Johnson has written three dozen books, including the best-selling How to Do Everything with Your Digital Camera, and covered technology for a long list of magazines that include PC World and Wired.

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