Do you always remember to send a birthday card, or are you usually the one scrambling the day of to find an appropriate way to get in touch, send an e-greeting or high-five them on Facebook ... if you remember them at all?
Don't you just love opening your mailbox right around your birthday and finding thoughtful greeting cards wishing you a happy day? We both do; it's such a nice change from the usual bills and junk mail that stuff boxes.
In this day of instant e-everything, getting a physical greeting card on a special occasion lets you know you are cherished. We all love to get those missives, but how good are you at remembering others on their special days?
Do you always remember to send a card, or are you usually the one scrambling the day of to find an appropriate way to get in touch, send an e-greeting or high-five them on Facebook ... if you remember them at all?
If you fall into the latter camp, keep reading. We've outlined six simple steps you can take, each in 10 minutes or less, to go from forgetful to thoughtful.
1. Create a monthly calendar. The first essential step is to create a master calendar. We strongly recommend doing this using old-fashioned pen and paper. No, we're not Luddites, but we have had too many clients build one of these using their e-calendar function only to lose everything when their computer crashes. Yes, even if they back up!
Use a gorgeous free birthday-calendar template like one from theprettyblog.com to create your own. For a more basic calendar, use a blank sheet of paper. Title the sheet on both sides: "Birthdays and Anniversaries." Then, divide the front page into a grid of six and do the same on the reverse. Label each square on your grid with a month. When you are done, put it in a central spot in the kitchen.
2. Make a note of each good friend and family member you want to remember in each month. If you are starting from scratch and don't have a master list but do use social media, Facebook is a wonderful resource since most people display their birthdates on it. Moms and sisters also tend to be another font of information on this front. The key here is to start. It doesn't have to be a "perfect" list. Focus on your immediate family first and branch out from there.
3. Buy a stash of greeting cards. No matter what kind of cards you want to send, pretty paper ones or thoughtful e-greetings, it is much more efficient to shop for all of your cards at once. This is the fun part, so just enjoy it.
4. Address them all at once. It sounds silly, but a lot of people actually go through the trouble of getting a card but fail to ever address it, so it never gets sent. Take the time to address each card now. You don't need to write and seal the note now, just take care of the envelope's outside. Ideally, put a stamp on each card as well so you don't have to scramble for one later.
5. Store them in order on a desktop basket. Keep your cards in a spot where you will see them on a daily basis. For many, it's in a small basket on top of their desks. For others, on kitchen counters. It doesn't matter where you keep them, just that they are all stored in the same place so you don't have to waste time trying to remember where you put them.
6. Set alarms in your e-calendar. This last step is crucial. You need to put reminders in place at least one week in advance of the date you want to remember. We find that setting an alarm for just before you typically walk out the door in the morning works best. When the alarm sounds, just grab your card from the basket and either drop it in the mail or bring it with you to fill out and post before the end of the day.
The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.