May 10, 2010
Roughly every three or four months, I walk into my office and realize the clutter has gotten out of control. I'm one of those people whose office is most always a mess, but I always know exactly where everything is. Well, almost always.
As I surveyed my space this morning, the proliferation of sticky notes was overwhelming. On my computer screen, my printer, my corkboard, and all over my desk. Additionally, my notebooks were overflowing with scribbles and quickly jotted notes, most of which were undecipherable. I decided it was time to clean up.
Most of the stickies had names and phone numbers from voice-mails I've gotten over the past several months. Some were dead-end leads, and others were names I didn't even recognize. Of course, about one out of every ten were names and numbers I expected to use going forward. That's when I turn to Microsoft Outlook's Contacts feature. In less than 20 seconds, I can electronically store everything needed to touch base with these people in the future.
Once I could see the surface area of my desk again, I looked around the rest of my office. Yikes. Books, boxes, notebooks, and software littered the outlying areas. Do I really need all this stuff? Unfortunately, that answer is "yes". However, I'm adopting a new organizational policy.
From now on, all my notes and phone messages will be dated and entered into a sprial-bound notebook. At the end of each week, I will enter all necessary contact information into Outlook. I will also be much more specific about what my chicken scratches mean.
To give you a few examples, I have a sticky that says "Lisa", followed by a phone number. I know a couple Lisas, but none of them have the area code of the phone number written underneath the name. I have no idea who this person is.
On another sticky, I have the number 1401580009020 written down. Obviously, it's too long to be a phone number or a social security number, so I'm guessing it's a real estate parcel identification number. To what property? Why did I write it down? Was it important? Who knows?
Finally, I have a sticky with an e-mail address that gives no clue as to who it belongs to. In other words, the first part (before the @ sign) is "jumpshot41". Now, if I could just figure out who I've spoken to in the last several months that enjoys playing basketball...
The "paperless office" I've heard about for so many years is a pipedream. The biggest obstacle is trying to talk on the phone and type something into the computer. Try as I might, I cannot listen and type at the same time, which is a major disservice to the person on the other end of the line. I owe them my attention, and taking notes is simply more effective.
If you are currently receiving payments on a real estate note and are thinking about cashing out, give me a call. Or maybe you have a piece of property (REO) you just need to get out from under. I can promise you this: You won't end up in another "sticky situation" - my Post-It Notes days are over!
Make it a great week,
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