C is for Contacts
How useful is your Contacts list?
Do you have every person who you've ever called or emailed listed?
Do you have the numbers or information that you may need in an emergency?
When was the last time you truly evaluated your Contacts list?
Back in the days when I had a paper address book, messy scribbles over outdated information was the norm. Now it's much easier to digitally update phone numbers, emails, and addresses when people move with no messy black lines.
It's even simple to share Contact cards.
However, when I switched to using an iPhone, and syncing my Contacts through the Cloud, I also found myself easily transferring my data from one model iPhone to the next.
While there are some older contacts I would like to keep for potential future use, there are many contacts that I don't need anymore. I will never contact that person again, so importing that data into the next phone just creates digital clutter.
And some of that digital clutter gets creepy. I don't actually like it when social media scrapes my information and starts suggesting "friends" to me. I can decide who I want to be friends with on the Interwebs, thank you.
As a teacher, I keep a checklist of annual summer "to dos" that I'm pretty good at following. Thinning and updating my Contacts is one of my summer tasks.
Questions I ask myself to determine whether or not I should delete Contact information:
- Will I ever want to call/email this person again?
- Will I need to call/email this person?
- If I think I may need to call/email this person, for how long? Sometimes, I'll keep co-workers in my phone for a year after leaving a position. If I haven't contacted that person in a year, I'll delete the information.
- Do I have an alternate means of contacting this person (Google Search, Facebook, LinkedIn, mutual contact) if I do need them?
- How long has information been sitting in my phone? How likely is it that it's even correct/updated?
- Is this information for a business/office that I could easily look up on the off-chance I ever need to contact them again?
Contact information I update regularly:
- my in case of emergency person
- doctors, imaging facilities, lab facilities, urgent care, and hospitals for me, and any family members I may need to help
- pharmacy information, including fax numbers
- vet's office, including the 24/7 vet hospital of choice
- banking customer service number, including direct numbers for identity theft and stolen cards if different
- credit card company numbers, including direct numbers for identity theft and stolen cards
- insurance information, including the direct number for claims
- 24/7 roadside assist number
Contact information I keep updated for emergencies:
- I go through my wallet once a year to add any contact information for new credit cards, identification, or memberships that would need to be reported in the event of my wallet or purse being stolen.
- The non-emergency number for police/sheriff's department. This resource is great if you want to report something suspicious without tying up 911.
- The United States National Poison Hotline: 1-800-222-1222
- Most recently, I've added Animal Control to my Contacts. Since I'm out walking my dog a lot, I've seen two stray pups. One had the cone of shame dragging behind him, so I really wanted to help the little guy. He wouldn't come to me, but I could give a good location and description for the field officer.
With a once a year edit, it's pretty easy to keep my Contacts streamlined, updated, and useful.