Every year there are so many people that I send birthday or anniversary cards too. New friends are made, new relationships have formed, new additions are welcomed into the family, and sometimes it is hard to keep a track of it all.
To stay on top of the whole “birthday’s conundrum”, I created myself a birthday register. Basically, this consists of a list of everyone that I send cards to, and a tracking sheet to know when to send the card. Now I have to admit, that even though I usually have all of the cards ready, I was still forgetting to post or deliver them before the recipients birthday.
With a few tweaks, I have been able to adjust my register to ensure that no-one has been skipped, and my cards never arrive late again. Which is great, seeing as my goals this year include Simplify, Minimise, Organise & Digitise. (You can read about that here.) And this well and truly fits into the simplify and organise categories.
How do I do this?
Basically, I started with a spreadsheet, and working down the page, I created a separate section for each month of the year. I then made a list of everyone that I would be sending a card to throughout the year and added their names to the appropriate month. In the columns to the right of their names, I have the event and their age. And lastly, I record the date that I have to post or deliver the card so that I can make sure that it arrives in time.
Having this record makes keeping up with birthdays such a breeze. Each year I just edit the original file, add any new additions to the list and remove any that I no longer need.
To simplify this task even further, I purchase all of the cards at the end of December for the entire year. Unfortunately, I can’t purchase Mother’s Day or Father’s Day until May and September, but I get the rest.
Now I know you must be thinking that is an awful lot of money to outlay just after Christmas, but, due to the cost of the cards, I purchase all of mine from the “junk” shops. I have found that at my local shopping centre, I have three shops that sell beautiful birthday cards for $1 or $2 each. These cards are not your typical “cheap” cards, with tacky pictures and corny verses inside. They are lovely, cute cards, that come in a wide range of themes. Baby, birthday, ages, anniversary, shower teas, weddings, engagements, etc. You name it, they have it. And at that price, you can afford to buy in bulk.
When I have a rainy day, (just kidding, there really aren’t many of those in December in Sydney Australia), but when I have a quiet day, I will take the time to write out all of the birthday cards for the coming year. It may take a couple of sittings, but believe me, it is worth it. I address all of the envelopes and where the stamp goes, I jot down the post by date. This is not the date of the actual birthday. When writing the post by dates on your envelopes be sure to take into account public holidays and weekends. As well as busy postal periods such as Christmas.
Then I simply pop the completed cards in the door pocket of my car. I keep a stash of stamps in my wallet at all times. Each week I take a peek at when the next card needs to be sent. Then when I am out, I can pop the card in the post on or before the date on the card.
Now, one year, I made the mistake of writing my cards in erasable pen. In the heat of my car, the writing vanished, meaning I had to re-write quite a few cards. Don’t make this mistake. Use a permanent ink pen!
The other thing I do to ensure all goes to plan, is I diarise those that I purchase presents for. We do not purchase gifts for extended family. Only the parents, grandparents and each other. This is a little time consuming at first. But if it is done in one or two sessions, it is well worth the effort. If you can set a recurring reminder, it will save you the time and effort for many years to come.
For me, a digital calendar on my phone is the most convenient. Basically, I just make a note of the birthdays, and then diarise when I need to pick up a present. Most of these are already on my phone and I have reminders set. I also find that it takes half the time if you use Siri. I love Siri. “Hey Siri, remind me on the 17th of January, to purchase a present for my brother and post it”. Piece of cake!
If you purchase a lot more gifts than us, simply add a few more columns to your spreadsheet to track those too.
I hope you find this helpful. I know it saves me a lot of time and energy throughout the year.