March 7, 2010

3,750 business cards

The week started without our usual Monday morning meeting. Randy was out of the office for the week on a client meeting in Utah.  In the meantime, he left a laundry list of things for us to finish by the end of the week.

First priority of the week was to finish the data base entry task. At the end of last week, Meg and I began the tedious process of sorting hundreds of business cards. As I have stated in previous journals, Randy has a main mission for the year and that is to be a more organized office thus allowing for improved efficiency. In order to achieve this assignment, the business cards and other contacts, were organized and placed into specific categories. For instance, there was a pile of business cards for previous clients, a separate pile for architects, another one for contractors and so on.  Randy spent hours organizing the cards into piles.  3,750 cards to be exact.

After all the contacts had been placed into their appropriate category, they were entered into Microsoft Outlook. It was interesting to me that Randy was only concerned about entering a name, phone number and email address. I asked him if I should enter any of the mailing addresses but he said “no.” As Randy stated it, “no one mails anything to each other by ‘snail mail’ anymore; it’s all done by email now.”

By the end of first half of the week, Meg and I had each entered hundreds of names and were getting faster and more efficient on ways to enter them into the data base. Since the art of entering names and numbers into a data base isn’t rocket science, it gave me a chance to think about why we were even entering these names into the computer in the first place. For instance, the business cards in the rolodex are doing the same thing the data base will do. I know Randy is working on getting the office more organized but what was the urgency to enter all of this information. It didn’t hit me until Chris asked us if we had the number for a specific contractor he needed to call. He told me the name, I typed it into the search box, and there it was. Name, number, email, etc.; that was all it took to realize this was going to save time when looking for specific people. With all of Randy’s contacts in the computer, we are able to eliminate the nightmare of having to find a contact in the rolodex.

After an entire week of entering contacts into the data base, I was ready and in desperate need of a weekend. Since the snow has begun to melt, everything that was once buried by the 15 or more inches of it has made its way to the surface. One thing in particular I noticed was the number of bike trails Omaha has to offer. Being outdoors and riding bikes are two things I have loved to do since I can remember so Spring can’t come soon enough for me. Riding on the trails and seeing different parts of Omaha is one way that I am going learn the city better when the weather improves. Coming to Omaha after living in cities like Kansas City I feel guilty for not giving it a chance from the beginning. But week after week, it has been showing potential that it is a city with potential and would be a place that I would like to come back to after I finish graduate school. It has everything that a city needs to be successful in a tighter, compact area. In other words, I’ve found that I don’t have to go far to get what I need. Hopefully by summer, I’ll be able to put my truck keys in the drawer and just ride my bike to where I need to get.

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