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The one minute mail Solution

Overwhelmed by paper?  Stop fearing your growing mail pile and start taking control.  My three step method will help you create simple processes with lasting results (works for email too!).

An Easy Solution to Desk Clutter 

An easy solution for the piles of business card clutter on your desk is to transfer the information to a searchable place. You know, a place where the details can be found quickly and used for good. 

Before you put the information from the business card into a system, the cards are just messy piles of paper clutter. The question is, can you find the information when you need it? 

Most of my clients still have piles of cards (heck, I do too) because they met some cool people at an event and they want to do something with them. To them, the cards represent opportunities; opportunities to help, or talk, or hire, or use. Once the card is on the desk though, the reality looks more like a missed opportunity. 

It’s all about findability. Do you look for the one you need by color, shape, or name? Would that be last name, first name or name of the business? 

Is it faster to just Google it or call the friend that introduced you to them in the first place? 

How do you recall where you met the person or the last thing you spoke to them about? 

And which one of the 4 cards for that person is the most up to date version? 

Surely there is an easier way to have access to all the information on the little pieces of card stock scattered all over your life, and much of it on your desk. 

Good news! There is an easier way. Here it is: 

Put the information in your computer address book or Contact Management System. If you are just keeping track of friends, family and household resources, an address book is all you need. If you are an entrepreneur or sales person something a little more robust will change your life for the better. 

It is such a time saver to have all your contacts in digital form – and not just a photo of the card – but a searchable database that you don’t have to remember how you filed it. A system that syncs to your phone will allow you to take it with you on the road. 

Most CMS’s these days do allow for a photo scan of the card and will populate the information for you. 

Think of it like creating your own yellow pages. Customized and personalized to your particular situation. 

First you need to enter the information from the cards. So, gather the cards. Alphabetize them and toss duplicates. Enter a few every day until it’s done or pay to have a service do it for you. It is a nice excuse to call people as you enter their card to verify their information and get their permission to put them on your mailing list. 

Keep them alphabetized so you have at least a chance of finding the right one quickly until they have all been entered. Always enter the new ones as you get them. Check and update information if it is the card of someone already in the system. Rip and recycle the cards as you enter them. 

Then you need to know why you need the information. Does it represent a business opportunity? A resource? Or is it your cousin’s new address? Come up with 3-6 categories of the typical types of cards you collect. Categorizing as you enter will help you use the information well later. 

By putting the information into a contact database you can group the contacts so that you can use them when you need them. Grouping by project, or category allows you to quickly gather your resources. 

I can look up who bought what and when, know what they expressed concern about last time we spoke and call or email them with just the right offer to solve their problem when it is available. 

So, by taking just a bit of time, you can have access to the actual opportunities piled on the desk and rubber banded in your desk drawers. Until you take action with the information you have gathered, it is just clutter and it is probably making you feel bad. 

Just think of the laugh you can have when you call and tell the person you have been meaning to call about that thing that you want to do and you tell them they have been excavated from the pile, so the timing must be right.