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I sometimes get mired down by ‘pushy paper’ – you know, those little notes,letters, ads and other things on your desk that you need to deal with, but somehow can’t find time to do. They end up getting pushed around from one corner of my desk to another.
Most of the things in my little stack are things that could taken care of very quickly, but I put them off, and I rationalize that since they’re such little things, I can get them done later.
I’ve made a conscious decision to set aside 30 minutes at least once a day to work through these items. For example, I had a stack of business cards sitting on my desk that I’ve collected on my runs around town -they’ve now been entered into my Outlook contacts list, with notes on who the person is and how I met them. I’ve also edited my list of categories in Outlook, so they’re more effective.
I also make notes in any appropriate fields in Outlook – if I only know that the business manager’s name is Jim, I enter that, sorting the contact to list it under only the business name, but I also add a task to find out a little more about Jim- last name, hobbies, etc. Then if I think he’ll make a good source of assistance to someone else, I list him in that category, too. If I can get several of his business cards, I’ll pass them along to folks who can use his help. I’ll make any notes I can in in the miscellaneous field.
I’m not trying to sell you on Outlook; I love it and use it as much as possible, even looking for new ways to use it. But you might have a different system that works for you. The point is to use it for all it’s worth.
Besides Outlook on my computers, I also use the Franklin Covey paper system (2 pages per day and sometimes that’s not enough!); my cell phone is a Palm Centro which syncs to Outlook and keeps as much information as possible on it.
One other suggestion- no matter what your system, make sure you keep it safe. If it’s a paper system, make sure you keep your planner with you; if you’re using a computer-based program, back it up often. I speak from experience: several years ago I bought an external hard drive that I keep all my documents and files on and it’s backed up onto another computer. However, I failed to back up my Outlook files, and when my system crashed, I lost all my emails, and even worse, my notes and contacts. Thankfully I had printed my contacts list to a pdf file, but the notes I had are gone. Some I could recreate, but not all.
Remember, if it’s important enough to you to save in the first place, make a back up!

Author: Beth R - Categories: time and money

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