May 2003 Issue
Management Strategies & Tips
By Jan Norton
The other day, someone asked me
something that I knew I couldn’t answer, but I was sure that I knew someone who
could. This colleague was amused by my ragged, eclectic, self-made phone book,
but hey – it works for me. If you’re in the mood for late spring cleaning, or if
you’re trying to organize yourself prior to a well-deserved summer break,
perhaps you would find my method (or madness) useful.
I keep a three-ring binder as my professional phone book. In one section, I have
twelve 8 ˝ by 11” plastic pages. Each page is divided into ten little pockets
big enough to hold a business card, and you can put cards on both sides of each
page, so a single page holds up to 20 cards. These sheets were not expensive,
and I’ve found it much easier to maintain than my old Rolodex-type of card
organizer. I keep the cards in alphabetical order with one letter per page until
the very end, where one page has both W and X, and another both Y and Z.
When I come back from meetings and conferences with business cards, I just add
them to my pages. Often the card has a request or question written on the back,
and so I take care of those before storing the card. If there’s no question or
request, I usually jot a note on the back about who the person is, why I wanted
to have his/her business card, and when/where we connected. These come in VERY
handy when I’m looking for someone to help me out with a question or task. When
I get a newer card for someone, I add it to or replace the old card.
The second section contains lists of participants from conferences. Not all
organizations provide such things, but if they do, this may be a way to make
them useful. I know that the participant lists from my regional CRLA group has
been helpful on many occasions. I just tear the lists out of the program or undo
the staple, punch ‘em, and pop the pages into the binder.
The third section is a little more miscellaneous. It contains the lists of
presenters at various conferences. There are pages from organization newsletters
with the contact information for national officers, special interest group
leaders, and other membership groupings. At one time, when I had more energy
and/or idealism, I kept the lists published in the local paper of the area
legislators with their addresses and phone numbers. At the very back, there’s a
pocket page where I can stash little scraps with names and numbers and notes
that may or may not ever see daylight again.
Perhaps reading this column has been a waste of time for you because you are
super organized, super connected, and super smart at using the Web to find the
kinds of information for which I still use paper. If so, I do apologize. But
perhaps I’m not alone in my ragged attempts to stay on top of paper that I want
to keep – somewhere, somehow – without letting it take over my office or hide in
mysteriously labeled files.
Questions or comments? Discuss this
article with the author or with other readers by