Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Address books

This is another one of those geeky organizing posts.  I've been reading lovely blogs about people organizing their kitchen cabinets and laundry rooms and desks, and I'm all for that.

Ah, but the address book.  Who spends an afternoon organizing the address book, taking before-and-after photos, and sharing THAT with friends?  Who else, but me?

Actually, I don't really have before-and-after photos, because this is an area of my life that I don't really let get messy.  I keep my information neat so I don't have to freak.  But it's easier for me to keep these lists neat because they are "compartmentalized", so to speak.

I carry frequently-used addresses and/or phone numbers around in my paper planner.  As always, I try to organize by how I use things, not by what they are -- in the case of my address lists, that means alphabet be damned.   This part of my planner is only a dozen pages long.  And here is the order those pages appear (some categories have more than one page):
  • Family, Immediate.  
  • Family, Removed.
  • Family, Out-Laws (they used to be In-Laws, but divorces happened).
  • My departmental colleagues.
  • Other mathematical colleagues.
  • Former Students.
  • Near Friends (Church).
  • Near Friends (Non-church).
  • Far Friends.
  • My Sons' Friends.
  • Local businesses I call regularly (pest control, library, dairy, etc).
  • Party list.
Some of these pages, I'll write out by hand -- I write the names in ink, but the addresses in pencil, so I can erase and update as needed.  Other pages, I have on my computer, so I can just print out a copy for myself or for others, as needed.  (For example, after Christmas, my daughter and step-daughters write thank you notes to their aunts and grandfather.  It's easy for me to send these gals the family addresses, because they're all in one e-document.)

I know, I know, I know that almost nobody cares about address lists the way I do.  Why on earth would I even write a blog post about this, boring people with all these byzantine details?  I guess because this gives an example of how someone can be a hyper-organized person even if she doesn't follow "the rules".  

With your address book -- or with any other part of your life -- you don't have to let some commercial product squeeze you into its mold.  You don't have to alphabetize, or have 26 pages, or link everything to an email address or a cell phone number, in order to have control over the information that you need, when you need it.  You just have to think about how you live your own life, and then organize that information so that it serves you.

1 comment:

  1. Organizing the things in the way more useful to you without respecting preexistent customs is a great point. I'm used to the alphabetical order but now I see how poorly useful order it can be.