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Day 29: Address Book
In this digital era, many of us rely on our Google contacts, iPhone and Facebook to maintain our address book. With a simple click of a button or search we can have access to all the information—it’s portable, it’s easy to update, and it’s right in our phones.
Unfortunately, unlike the paper address books of yesterday, having several contact lists mean that we often don’t have all of the information stored in the same place. Facebook might alert you to birthdays, but there are those who are not on Facebook or don’t share birthdays on social media. Google Contacts often maintains email addresses and updates, but may not have phone numbers. If you sync your contact list with your smart phone, you may then have some phone numbers, some email addresses, some birthdays and almost no one’s street address.
The joy of sending and receiving mail is a tradition that should not be undervalued or lost. Despite the admonition to cut back on paper, sending a birthday card, thank you note or other message in the mail is still a very thoughtful gesture. It is vital to have an address book in order to do so.
I personally prefer to store all my contacts and addresses in an Excel spreadsheet. My husband and I usually update it once a year, as we prepare to send out our Christmas cards. However, if you prefer a paper address book, take an afternoon to copy the information into the book, and update it just as frequently.
A well-maintained address book can literally be your lifeline when you need to reach out to someone. Just a little time to complete it can be extremely valuable in the long run. Don’t be afraid to declutter and eliminate old contacts from your address book as well. Focus on maintaining fewer acquaintances but more genuine friendships.
Objective: An updated and accessible address book that you maintain with complete contact information and birthdates.
Assess the current situation: Where do you currently keep all your contact information? What is your preferred and most easily accessed method? Do you regularly send Christmas cards or have a big event coming up that will require invitations?
1. Gather your contacts. Collect all of your current contact information from your various sources, such as Outlook, Google, Facebook, stacks of business cards, and paper address book.
2. Merge your lists. Transcribe or transfer all contact information to one source, such as an Excel spreadsheet, saving frequently.
3. Update. Make a list of addresses that need research or additional contact information that needs to be updated. Include birthdays, anniversaries and important milestones.
4. Reach out. Use this opportunity to reach out to some of those you’ve lost contact with and research their information.
5. Maintain. Commit to updating the information regularly.
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