Digital Address Book – How To: Tips for Personal Information Management

Learn how to keep your address book current and address this critical Personal Information Management – PIM technique, with the tips and tactics mentioned below.

Your address book is a critical hub within your Personal Information Management strategy. Keeping your address book current is a challenge. We have several ways to manage this category of information. The traditional hard copy address book, a digital version in the form of a spreadsheet, and digital tools like Microsoft Outlook, or ACT, or various Customer Relationship Management CRM tools. With the current state of technologies on our smart telephones, we are able to have our entire address book handy at all times.

Studies show that addresses change on a very regular basis. As many as 25% of all address change on a yearly basis. In many cases some subset of an individuals information may change multiple times per year.

When we consider all aspects, and all pieces of information that are generally included with personal communication, it is not surprising that the data is in a constant state of flux. Consider the various individual pieces of information that are included in a typical profile. Name, Address, Telephone numbers (Home, Work, Mobile), email address (Work, Personal), Instant Messaging, SMS, BLOG, Website URL, Skype, and any personal notes that may be associated with the individual (Birthday, Spouse, and Children).

When you consider the number of contacts that we all are involved with, it could be a full time activity to keep track of all of this information and keep it current. the average Facebook user has 175 connections.

TIP: Automate the task of keeping your address book current. Do this by adopting an electronic tool. Use this tool as a central repository of this kind of information. Supplement this central focal point with services that are complimentary and compatible with the tool you choose to use. Work at keeping the information as current as possible, by working in small increments.

For Example: I use the address book function of my iPhone. I synchronize and back up this data on my PC within iTunes. Microsoft Outlook synchronizes with the iTunes address book. When I plug my iPhone into my system, it automatically updates and synchronizes the iPhone and Outlook. I also use a web service called Plaxo. is a free service that allows you to build out an address book with contacts. I load my profile and contact data. Upload it to Plaxo. When ever I make a change to my profile information, it automatically updates and synchronizes my new information to everyone that I have a relationship with through the Plaxo service. There is a concept called a “V-Card”. It is a “Virtual Business Card”. Web based services like LinkedIn and others have a function that allow you to download a V-Card with a single click. When I hit the V-Card link, it opens my address book, usually Outlook, in my case, and automatically populates the fields within Outlook with the data that is embedded with the V-card. I simply save that information. Then the next time I sync my phone to my system… All the information is automatically transferred.

This sounds complicated. But it is not. Set it up once, OR have someone set it up for you, and the calibration and updates happen automatically.

TIP 2: ALWAYS use a security code on your Electronic devices!!!!! You do not want anyone to be able to access your personal information.

1.) Commit to a Digital address book. Pick the software and tools you will use. Decide on a central hub. Automate the process of downloading and backing up the information. You should have this information in at least two different places for disaster recovery purposes. Another backup copy in a safe place is always recommended!! Synchronize your data regularly.

What is the difference between a DISASTER and an INCONVENIENCE?
An INCONVENIENCE in when you have lost your phone with all of your contacts in it.
A DISASTER is when you have lost your phone with all of your contacts in it, AND you don’t have a back up copy in a safe place and you are not able to recover that information!!!

2.) Subscribe to this blog for more advice and tips from the Personal Information Management Coach – PIM Coach.

3.) Forward this blog post to all your friends family and associates that have a mobile phone.

Hope this helps.

Peter Gailey
The Personal Information Coach


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