My grandmother’s address book was one of her most valued possessions. I remember it as an old tattered book with scraps of envelopes and bits of paper hanging out of it. Over the years, as people moved or passed away, she would have to rewrite and organize, in alphabetical order, every one of her contacts into a new book. The loss of her address book would have been devastating and would have taken a great deal of effort to recreate. How valuable is your contact information to you?
In order to save time and reduce the chaos that comes from having ineffective systems for handling contact information, my recommendation is to use an email program, like Google’s gmail or Microsoft Outlook, to keep all your contacts. Keep the contacts somewhere in cyberspace so that you can log into it from almost anywhere to access your contacts. Keeping the contacts only in a spreadsheet is good until the hard drive crashes or a disaster strikes and you lose everything. Exception: you use a remote backup service. If you have a business with a need for a large and specialized capacity for customer management there are Software programs like ACT that can be used.
The benefits of using electronic programs for contact information:
- Easily track a variety of contact information, including birthdays, anniversaries, or notes on their likes or dislikes
- Contact information can easily be updated, added to or deleted
- Contact information can be easily sent to and shared with others
- Lists of contacts can be printed out and sorted by the specific information you want
- Can easily download contacts to a spreadsheet that can be edited and uploaded to another computer program
If you are like me, I like paper, but it isn’t practical any more to keep my contact information on paper now that we have computers. Keeping track of your contacts and their information is one of the many things that computers are much better at. It is time to make some changes and get your contacts organized!
How To Organize Your Contact Information:
First: Assess how organized is your contact information?
- Where do you keep your valuable contact information?
- Is the information safe from fire, flood, or theft?
- Can you easily add or delete more contacts?
- Can you easily find contact information when it is needed?
- How many places, paper and electronic, do you keep your contact information?
Second: Organize your contact information
- Decide what electronic program you want to use to contain all your contact information
- Gather all your paper contact information in one place
- Enter all the contact information in the electronic program (Note: keep the paper contact info for a short time in case of input errors)
- Merge all other electronic contact information into the program you chose
- Periodically spend time updating your contacts
Most important is to reduce the chaos by keeping all of your contact information in a centralized place!
If you would like assistance getting all your contact information into an electronic format, contact me to find out how I can help you with that.
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