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Lost in a Sea of Cards

Are your contacts in disarray? Here’s how to organize all your business cards into one file.

By Monica Ricci

Have you ever attended a trade show or networking event and brought home a fistful of business cards, only to find that weeks later they are still in a pile on your desk? When you attend events where you regularly meet new contacts whose names you may want to keep handy, do you find that you don't know what to do with them? They seem to just keep multiplying with amazing speed.

How do you find someone’s card when you need it again? What if you can’t remember the name of the business or the person you met? In this age of relationship marketing, business-card overload is a very common challenge for many business people.

Whether your stack of business cards is large or small, keep the cards categorized in a card file or a three-ring binder with card sleeves, indexed first by occupation, then alphabetically. This simply means that accountants are in the front of the book and zookeepers are in the back. This system mirrors the brain.

When you need to find a contact that you met only once several months ago, if you don't remember the person’s name, your brain thinks “printer,” “Web designer,” or whatever his business might be. Since your card-filing system is mapped on how you think, all you need to do is turn to the section of your book marked “printers” (under P, of course) and you’ve found the card you want.

The key to managing any type of information is to set up an intuitive system and then use it consistently. Once you take the time to set up this business-card filing system, it will serve you well for years to come.

Monica Ricci has been an organizing and productivity specialist since 1999. She offers onsite consulting, as well as motivational seminars and workshops. You can reach her at or 770-569-2642.


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