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Speaker, Writer, and Author of GodSpace

Managing contacts

Okay, this week I finished the manuscript for my next book, and got Lawrice off to school. Whew! So now I am looking around a bit, asking myself, what’s next?

I have to prepare for a speaking gig next weekend in Pennsylvania. I’ve got a few other little tasks to complete. But for the first time in two years, I’m not under a writing deadline.  And I’m thinking–I really need to get at some organizational tasks that I’ve put off while writing two books in the last year and a half.

One huge gap in my system (if you could call it that) is the fact that, other than on my e-mail, I don’t have an address book. I have papers in folders, random lists, a pile of business cards in a drawer, a few names and numbers entered into a Palm Pilot I don’t use. And lots of scraps of paper on my desk and even in my purse, with numbers and e-mail addys scribbed on them.

My husband is the keeper of our christmas card list. One of his few December chores (he never wraps or cooks, and rarely shops) is to handle the address labels on the Christmas cards.

I feel a bit vulnerable confessing this to you. But I only do so to ask for your help. I’d like to hear from those of you who are organized, especially with your list of contacts, addresses, phone numbers.  I have Outlook software on my computer, I never have used it. It looks easy enough, and now I have a little time to input all those numbers. I am administratively challenged, so this will not be easy.

When I was a reporter (20 years ago) I had a great Rolodex on my desk. I’d just stick people’s business cards right in it, or write their name on the little cards. Any reporter is only as good as the contacts and sources she maintains.

I need help, I need a system. I’d like your opinion on which is easiest to use. I’ve heard of Plaxo and Constant contact.  How do you organize addresses, manage contacts, find the phone number you need when you need it?

I look forward to hearing your suggestions!!

6 Comments

  1. Hi Kerri,

    Since you mentioned you have outlook, I would suggest using that. It will do several things for you.
    1. you can use outlook for your email and have everyone’s full contact info in one place
    2. if you like a paper book, you can print it out and have a hard copy
    3. if you ever get a pda or smart phone that you use, you can sync them together and be able to carry it with you too.
    Just my thoughts
    Karin

  2. Sorry, Keri, I don’t have any nifty answers. I still use the old-fashioned address book. Since I am starting to go to writers conferences, I will be acquiring lots of business cards, I’m sure, and was hoping to see some ideas here when I clicked over to comment. Maybe more people will chime in yet. Do you not use a rolodex for business cards anymore? If not, was there a downside to it for some reason?

  3. Keri – Outlook is definitely the way to go! If you contact me directly, I would be happy to give you my phone number and walk you through it on the phone.

    God Bless!
    Denanne

  4. Hi Keri,

    I’m a huge fan of Plaxo because it’s as convenient as Facebook minus the distracting, non-business related extras (no one on Plaxo will be sending you something for your “Fun Wall”). When you update your contact information, all of your connections instantly have access to your new information! Same for anyone to whom you’re connected.

    There’s a reason they call it your “address book for life.” I sound like an advertisement, but I promise I’m not affiliated in any way. 🙂

    Best of luck in getting organized!

    Cheers,

    Kristen

  5. okay, now my question is, Plaxo vs. Outlook? can you copy your outlook data base into Plaxo?

  6. I live and die by my Palm and recently upgraded to a Treo. Before that I used a database management program called ACT! But, simple as it sounds have you thought of using Google Contacts? I was syncing Google Contacts with my Treo via GooSync but I didn’t like the “bugs” so I’m back to just using the Palm. Google Calendar, Google Contacts … all free, integrates with Outlook, lots of online references and support.

Share your thoughts. Please stay on topic and polite!

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