7 Lightweight Contact Management Tips

7 Lightweight Contact Management Tips

I’m using Gmail’s built-in contact application to run my contact management. (By the way, did you see that you can use Gmail and Calendar and Chat on your own site now, configured for your own domain?) Though there are some things I can’t use Google to do easily (mail merge types of things), there are lots of ways that I use the Contact portion of the application that might not have come to mind for you right away.

  1. Add Birthdays– I put birthdays into the contact section as well as in Google Calendar
  2. Their Needs– You often get emails from someone saying, “Know anyone who’s good at Typepad?” (btw, do you?). I put those against the person’s contact name, so that I can remember who needed what, and to ask if the person’s solved that need, if some time has passed.
  3. Kids’ Names– I’m really good with names, but that rarely extends to everyone’s kids, their ages, etc. So I plug that into the Contacts page, so I can remember to ask the person. Ditto family, spouse, pet scorpion, etc.
  4. Add their personal blog– Before I make a connection with with someone I haven’t contacted in a while, I check in on their blog first. It’s like peering in the curtains before going in. I find this very useful. The one time I didn’t follow this tip, it was devastating! No details, but I came off seeming REALLY insensitive.
  5. Roles– You always hear about a job opening, and then never remember who matches that role. Keep their roles updated so you can plumb it when needed.
  6. Favorites– My favorite food is leftovers. I like sci fi and action movies. I don’t go to many live concerts. Note these things for your contacts, if you know them.
  7. Read below the line– When you click on a contact in Gmail, it gives you the list of emails between you and that person (provided you’ve kept them, which I’ve started doing). This gives you a sense of the thread of your conversations. Take a browse of these from time to time and consider the theme of what you’re reading. Is this person helpful? Should you talk more with them? Do they often have great advice? Or worse, are they sucking your life away, one email at a time? Use this tactic to consider things often.

I’ve got some more thoughts around email, but let’s leave this as a list about contact management. What are some of yours? How can you grow this list of tips?


–Chris Brogan is thinking a lot about things at Grasshopper Factory. His personal blog is []



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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.


2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?


These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?


You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …


7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via


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