Does anyone under the age of 93 really use an actual address book anymore? I don’t remember the last time I had one. However, I do want an easy way to keep pertinent info about the people I care about at hand—and I especially want to remember them on their birthdays!

A bit of history. I’m a virtual bookkeeper serving clients all over the world. I am supremely organized when it comes to other people’s stuff and the work I do for them. But sometimes when it comes to my own life, I’m not as organized as I’d like to be. Like when it comes to having a contact system or database of my own contacts at the touch of a button when I need it. And while I don’t have a need for a full-fledged CRM system, I primarily use Google Contacts. Unfortunately, I’ve found Google Contacts increasingly clunky ever since they changed it awhile back (a year or so?) and I don’t really want every birthday of every significant person or client in my life showing on my calendar because the calendar and my daily planner drive my working day. You feel my pain???

How I Solved This Problem—Strategically

My need: I want to be a better human which includes sending birthday cards and performing other random acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. I want the solution to be easy to view, sort, filter, and export.

My problem: Having a cloud-based system that gives me just what I need and will give me a link that I can send to my friends, family, and clients to submit their own information.

My solution: Creating a Google Form that’s integrated with a Google Spreadsheet that I can send to aforementioned friends, family, and clients. Voila, everything I need! Isn’t it awesome when it works out like that?

Why This Solution is Flipping Awesome
I’m not going to lie, this solution that I developed is really so awesome I can barely stand it. The best part is the ability to filter the results (which are in a Google Spreadsheet) by month. Then I sort those filtered results by day. And at that veritable touch of a button, I have the upcoming month’s birthdays! Once printed I have my personal assistant hand address the envelopes with the birthday written in the stamp area. This set-up makes it so easy for me to write out a card every day!

It’s like magic! And it makes me so happy.

How You Can Do This Magical Thing, Too
Want to get started?

Let’s get down on it! (Do you have the song in your head now?)

And, if it helps, the list of fields I have on my contact form is below the video or you can view my live form here.

(TIP: keep month and day separate so the filtering and sorting work as described above)

  • Full Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Street Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip
  • Birth month (tip: set up as a dropdown box)
  • Birth day (tip: set up as a dropdown box)

How much easier can it get to create a free online address book? I hope this brings you as much joy as it has brought me. More importantly, I hope it makes you organized in a way that makes your life easier. Because that’s what I live for!

P.S. You can use Google Forms for so much more! Have fun and play with it. And if you do, let me know what you think.

Photo Credit: Livedinhome Flickr via Compfight cc

This post first appeared on The Virtual Assistant on February 27, 2017.