Happy Tuesday! Last week was all about organizing and cataloging addresses, while the week before you collected all the dates of any event worth remembering throughout the year. Today we're going to bring it all together by putting those dates down in calendars and gadgets, and taking the most important step toward actually remembering to send out cards. Let's do this!
Because you've already organized all the dates you want to mail cards for here, it's going to be easy to input these into the places you're using as reminders. In the first couple weeks of this blog series I talked about tangible and tech tools you can use to keep track of all your events. Depending on what you're using, make those available to you now and pull up your Friends and Family Contact Information spreadsheet. I happen to use two different types of calendars: my wall calendar and my planner. The trick here is to find two tools you use regularly and are comfortable with, so if your phone reminder app and calendar are more your jam go for it!
Now you simply fill in your calendars with every occasion for the whole year. Once again, get comfy, put on tunes, sip some coffee, and go month by month writing down birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and other big life moments that get a card. I like to reorganize my spreadsheet by date so I don't have to jump around, flipping my calendar and planner all over the place like you do if your spreadsheet is organized alphabetically. You can do this in Google Spreadsheets by clicking on the date column, hitting Data, and selecting Sort sheet by column "X", A --> Z.
Here are a few other tips for getting everything synced up efficiently:
- Color code | Use different colors for different events. For example, I use purple for birthdays and gold for anniversaries. I use these two colors because I don't use them in any other day-to-day planning so they are sure to stand out on the page, reinforcing the likelihood that I won't miss a celebration.
- Be consistent | In whatever tool you're using, keep how you are logging the event consistent. Using the same words, format, and color means from month to month you'll start recognizing these entries as something with which you need to take action.
- Multiple locations | Not only do I put events on my wall calendar and planner, but I also double up in my planner. I write down birthdays not only on the monthly overview, but also in the weekly spread. By doubling up I'm sure to not miss an entry.
- Include extra information | When I transfer the dates to my calendar and planner I don't just write the name. Where applicable, I add extra details like "Joe's 4th Birthday" or "Mom and Dad's 33rd Anniversary."
- Add a reminder | If you're using a phone calendar go ahead an make a reminder in the program to alert you 5 days before the day of the event. This should give you enough time to pick out a card from your inventory, write a fun note, and get the card mailed! I'll talk more about setting up reminders next week, but this way you'll get a jump on a critical part of your card-sending goal!
To me, this is a really fun part of the process. I'm definitely a nerd when it comes to paper, planners, and calendars so filling out brand new ones each year is my idea of relaxing. However, if it's not your cup of tea, but you still want to meet all your snail mail goals this year, hang in there. I've broken down all the steps so the more tedious tasks are not all piled up at once. There is just one more step that will be as time consuming as gathering dates, saving addresses, and logging events in your calendar, but it is the step that will keep you not only on the ball, but ahead of it! All of that awesomeness is coming up next week, so I'll see you then!