Hello hello, we're back for week two and it's all about things...again! This week rather than the tangible tools I'm going to talk about apps, programs and websites that you can use to help stay on top of your greeting cards from month to month.
I tend to lean more heavily on my planner, wall calendar and other tools from last week, but I definitely have a few techy favorites from the following list. Like I said in week one, remembering to get cards in the mail on time is all about doing what works best for you and your life. Repetition is key so choose whatever platforms you work with more often and more comfortably and get cracking!
Phone Reminder App
Nothing fancy here, I simply use the reminders app that comes with my cell phone and it works great. I create a new reminder and title it "Check calendar for dates." Then I set it to remind me one of two ways: on a specific day or repeat monthly. The former would require you to make a new reminder for every month, but that would also allow you to be reminded a consistent number of days before start of the new month. The latter is much more simple, but sometimes you'll be reminded closer to the end of the month and some months you'll be given a bit more time. This can be a problem if there is a birthday or event on the first of the month, but play around with both options to see what works best for you. There are far more in depth reminder apps that include to-do options, different timers, note taking, and synchronization with your calendar, but for the purposes of being on top of your dates I think the straightforward reminder app is sufficient. PS at the end of this list is an easier way of being reminded on time each month...
Phone Calendar App
Full disclosure: I don't use the calendar app on my phone. It's on this list, however, because I know there are people that like to have everything in one place and prefer that place to be their phone, ipad or computer. You're probably already sick of me saying this, but it's all about what works best for you! So if you are a wiz on the phone calendar, more power to you. I know you can create events, reminders, repeat the event and loads more customization. This is perfect for not only reminding you to prep your greeting cards for the following month, but also for listing birthdays, graduations, retirement parties, baptisms, holiday parties, and on and on and on!
Or a to do and planning system that you prefer. I've been using Asana at work for almost 2 years and I love it. Instead of mixing personal and work on the platform, I prefer to use Asana solely for Cafe Notes + Company. It is a clean and user friendly system that makes it easy to create quick tasks or in-depth, multi stage projects. Even though I use it for work, if I have an important event that I need to remember I will put it on Asana under a general personal project as an extra reminder. If your business and personal life tend to mix, this type of a platform would be a perfect place to put your snail mail reminder every month.
I have several different pages from the United States Postal Service website bookmarked for easy access and it's a huge time saver when it comes to answering questions regarding holidays, postage and tracking. Remembering to get your cards out on time each month is all about setting yourself up for success from the beginning and planning ahead. If you are mailing a card internationally or have a tricky square card and don't know how many stamps to use, head here. If you can print your own shipping label or if you have a prepaid envelope or box, go here to schedule a pick up right from your house. Is someone's birthday around a holiday and you're unsure if it's federally acknowledged? Visit this page to find out when the post office is closed and mail services are suspended. There are a ton of other resources like tracking packages, changing your mailing address, putting a hold on your mail while you're on vacation, or purchasing stamps and other shipping supplies, just to name a few. Once you realize all you can do from their website, you'll dread going into the post office a little less because you'll be armed with all the information, labels, stamps and packing tape you need.
Excel or Google Spreadsheets
I use Excel to keep an updated list of addresses on my computer. You might think it's redundant to have both a hard copy and a digital copy, but if your computer has ever crashed and you've lost all your information you'll understand why I double up. (And yes, I back up my computer now. Don't judge my past irresponsible self!) Having a digital copy is also fantastic if you send out holiday cards, wedding invitations or have a large number of thank you cards to send en masse for a baby shower or house warming party. You can use a website like Minted or Shutterfly where you simply upload your spreadsheet of addresses and they do all the envelope addressing for you.
Monthly Events Reminder Newsletter
Yup, this email is the number one techy tool you need to get your cards out on time all year long! About a week before the end of the month, I shoot out a quick email reminding you to look ahead at the following month and get your snail mail organized, order cards, and check your inventory of stamps. I'll also be including helpful hints, giveaways, discount codes and sneak peeks at new merchandise that only newsletter subscribers will be privy to! It's a digital string around your finger plus a whole lot more.
A year round gift list is super helpful when it comes to crushing all your snail mail goals. You can use the notes app on your phone, a word doc on your computer, or use a secret Pinterest board like I do. All year long as I overhear someone say they like or need a product I'll save an image of it to my Pinterest Gift Ideas board then when the holidays or a birthday rolls around I already have a gift picked out. This has saved me a lot of time and money because I keep an eye out for sales on items that I know I'm going to purchase then just store it at my house until I'm ready to send it out. It has also significantly decreased my stress around the holidays which, with 18 nieces and nephews to buy for, I need all the help I can get!
Obviously I have given you a ton of tools, but you don't need all of them! Some of my ideas are a bit of a "duh" (cards, stamps, addresses), but the others are up to you to mix and match to form the perfect reminder system for yourself. I would suggest having at least 2 forms of a date tracking system (calendar and planner) and two forms of a reminder system (reminder app and my newsletter) to stay ahead of the game.
Okay I'll see you back here next Tuesday where we are talking all things stamps. Let me know in the comments below if you have any apps that you use and love!