There’s personal, medical, financial, legal, home, and so many more possible incidents, all of which have different levels of urgency. A solid contact list will help you keep all the people in your life straight, but more importantly, it will help your family if they need to make sense of your contacts.
Your Current Task
Scroll through every contact on your phone and do the following:
- Delete the ones who are no longer relevant
- Add details for ones that might be confusing if another person needed access to your contact list
- Make a note to research ones that are a mystery
Don’t worry about adding new contacts at this point. Right now you’re only working with what you already have. It’s understandable if you want to keep some names in there for sentimental purposes, like a late friend or a retired doctor you liked seeing, but you need to be brutal. A contact list should be about function. Here are some rules when creating a contact whether it’s on your phone or on paper:
- Include a first and last name. This might seem like a “duh” but how many random names do you have in your contacts right now with no context whatsoever?
- If you don’t know their last name (it happens), make one of their names the service they provide or purpose they serve in your life. Example: Foot Doctor Peter, Exterminator Warren, Gym Manager Yoko.
- Include a title or the function they serve in your life if you don’t want to make it part of their name
- Include an email. If you don’t have their full name or title included, this can be very telling. If it’s a work email (email@example.com) it’s easy to research and identify the purpose they serve; if it’s a personal email (firstname.lastname@example.org) then it stands to reason that person is or was a friend.
- Use the “Notes” or “Description” field while that person is still fresh in your head. It may seem like a hassle when you just want to cram a number in your phone but take a minute to include something about them. Think of it like a mini-Yelp review set to private. Example: Dr. Yariv is a Zen master of root canals; Kaye helped me figure out my property tax bill when no one else would; Harris always plows the driveway before I even call him.
One last thing: Never feel the need to load up your phone for the sake of it, but still include as many numbers as you like as long you include the info we suggested.
The Task (again)
Scroll through the contacts on your phone (or computer, or wherever you keep them) and clean up all the contacts you have and delete the ones that no longer belong there.