My Christmas card mailing list, part 2

In my last post, I explained how I use my PDA to track my Christmas card mailing list.

It occurs to me that if you don't want to keep track of how your list changes from year to year, or who sends you cards, you could just use a simple notation - "CC". Then, the process would be a bit simpler. Just export the files, and update the Excel file directly if there's someone you want to add or remove. Just make sure to update the notations in your address book accordingly, for next year.

Using my PDA for my Christmas card mailing list

When I mentioned, over at OrganizedChristmas that I use my PDA for my Christmas card mailing list, someone asked for the exact process. So, I'd thought I would go ahead and post it here.

I should note that I do this for all mailing lists, not just Christmas cards. It takes a bit of time, but it's easier than keeping two separate lists updated, in my opinion. And, I got this idea originally from pdaaddict over at OrganizedHome.

To start, I modified one of the Custom fields in my Contacts list to be called "Mailing." In there, I make notations for anyone who is part of a mailing list. For Christmas cards, the notation looks like this: CC-04 or CC-04X. 04 represents the year, so this year's notations will be CC-05. I use the X at the end if I received a Christmas card from that person.

Here are the basic steps I go through:
  1. Review last year's card list.
  2. Create this year's list.
  3. Export this year's list into Microsoft Word for labels.
Review last year's list

If your contacts list is small enough, you could just go through the list on your Palm. Mine contains nearly 500 entries though, the vast majority of which do not receive cards. So, I go through the following process to export my list into something I can read a bit more easily.
  1. First, I export all my records using the Palm Desktop. I only export the following fields: First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Country, and Mailing. I export them as a Comma Separated file (csv).
  2. Next, I import this CSV file into Excel.
  3. I use Excel to filter the results based on the Mailing field. This year, I'll filter using CC-04, followed by a wildcard.
  4. Then, I copy and paste these filtered records into a new worksheet, effectively getting rid of all the other records.
Create this year's list

Using last year's list as a reference, I add this year's notation (CC-05) to the Mailing field of all contacts I want on this year's list. Then, I go through the same export process:
  1. Export the Palm Desktop records into a CSV file.
  2. Import the CSV file into Excel.
  3. Filter the Excel file, using CC-05, followed by a wildcard.
  4. Copy and paste the filtered records into a new worksheet.
Then I clean up the data a little bit, including changing the formatting on Zip column to the Zip Code format.

Export this year's list into Microsoft Word for labels

Once I have the Excel file, I step through Microsoft Word's Mail Merge wizard to create labels, using the Excel file as my data source.

And that's it!

Back from camp

It's been almost two weeks since I last posted, which is mostly because of being away at camp for a week and the mad rush to get things done before I left. I'm also sick, which isn't helping my energy level much at all. I'm always pretty wiped out when I get back from camp, but this sickness is really throwing me for a loop. I have no desire to do anything but just lay around.

I was 15 minutes late for Campaigners last night, because at some point, Brad had changed the time without telling me. I think he didn't change it intentionally, and announced the new time at the area meeting the morning we left camp. Unfortunately, though, I wasn't there, because I was with Jami. This is still extremely frustrating to me, although I realize that it was all just an accident, because I have this general feeling that my input isn't really important here. I'm not sure when we got to that point, but right now I'm debating whether or not I should mention it to him whenever we have our next team meeting.

In the meantime, I need to get back to work. Blah.