ORGANIZATION TIP: Where Do You Keep Your Software Activation Codes?

Being able to find something the instant you need it is important!

organize activation codeI have an Outlook contact for each app installed on my laptop. When I received the post-purchase confirmation email, I copy/pasted the codes and other information into the notes area. When I need a code (like recently after installing a new hard drive on my laptop), a quick search in Outlook, copy, paste. Done.

No need to find a document and look for the code. Finding something in Outlook is so much quicker, especially since it’s always open.

This is especially important now since we rarely get the actual software DVDs. Back then, I’d write the code directly on the disk with a sharpie (and still created the Outlook contact).

How do you keep up with your codes? Let us know in a comment.

PEACE.

Use Outlook Contacts for More Than Just Names and Addresses, etc.

You can use Outlook Contacts for more than just contact information of people you know or meet. I use them for all kinds of things because it’s so convenient to get to (I live in Outlook). I use the notes block on the contact page to store information. I give each “contact” a logical name and locate it quickly by typing in the Find a Contact box.

Here are some examples.

Blog This. As I think of things to write about (or run across ideas on the Net, magazines, etc.), I add information on various topics in the notes block of this contact. I use two monitors so when I see something on the Net to blog about, I copy and paste the URL to the text area. If it’s something I need to remind myself of, Ctrl+Shift+G to flag the contact. I assigned this contact to my Outlook “Reminder” category.

Airlines. I have the major airlines that I fly listed, along with their phone numbers, URLs, my frequent flyer numbers, and airport codes in this contact. I assigned this contact to the “Vendor” category.
Affiliates. I’ve signed up for various affiliate programs on the Web, and all the information on each one is kept in one place in this contact. Everything is in alphabetical order. I assigned this contact to the “Vendor” category.
Personal. This is a running list of all my passwords/IDs I use on various Websites. I’ve written enough of each password so I know immediately which one I used. Everything is in alphabetical order (I can also press F4 to Find). I assigned this contact to the “Personal” category.
Laptop. This contact lists all kinds of things associated with my laptop. I have the order number/date of purchase, service code/tag (because HP will ask me this if I call them); the date my warranty expires, and case number with notes anytime I have to call them. I assigned this contact to the “Vendor” category.

These are just a few examples. If you have miscellaneous information you have to keep track of, consider making it one of your contacts and it’ll always be at your fingertips (and synched to your PDA).

Note: Outlook Notes work well too. They can be organized and categorized for easy access.

PEACE.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

Cannot Remember John's Name? Four Ways to Find Him in Outlook

If you need to contact John right away but you can’t remember his name, here are four ways Outlook can help.

  • Search the Notes Area. If you made notes in the text area of John’s contact page, you can conduct a quick search to find any of the words. (Click Advanced Find (should be on your Outlook Standard toolbar. If it’s not, click the Tools menu, Find, Advanced Find. Or Ctrl+Shift+F), Advanced, Field, All Notes field, Content, Condition contains, Value=words you’re looking for.)
  • Search Various Fields. If you remember something about John such as his company name, you can search for it. Repeat the steps above, but instead of clicking More Choices, stay on the Contacts tab and explore those search options.

If these two methods turned up John’s contact, going forward do the following with your contacts.

  • Associate Contacts. You met John at Mary’s Website launch. Remembering Mary is no problem so you associate the two. On John’s contact page in Outlook, look at the bottom, left corner. Type Mary’s name where it reads Contacts. Outlook will associate the two and you’ll be able to hyperlink from one to the other (I shouldn’t have to say that Mary should also be in your Contacts).
  • Assign Categories. Now look at the bottom, right of John’s contact page. Type a Category (you’ll need to understand this feature) that John fits such as a business type, networking group, etc. Later, you can filter your contacts using that category as the criteria (from Contacts, right-click the header row (where Full Name, etc., are…separating fields the way Excel does), Customize Current View (if you don’t see Customize Current View, click Custom), Filter, More Choices, Categories=John’s category). Then it might help to see his name in a smaller sampling.

PEACE.