Okay, this week I finished the manuscript for my next book, and got Lawrice off to school. Whew! So now I am looking around a bit, asking myself, what’s next?

I have to prepare for a speaking gig next weekend in Pennsylvania. I’ve got a few other little tasks to complete. But for the first time in two years, I’m not under a writing deadline.  And I’m thinking–I really need to get at some organizational tasks that I’ve put off while writing two books in the last year and a half.

One huge gap in my system (if you could call it that) is the fact that, other than on my e-mail, I don’t have an address book. I have papers in folders, random lists, a pile of business cards in a drawer, a few names and numbers entered into a Palm Pilot I don’t use. And lots of scraps of paper on my desk and even in my purse, with numbers and e-mail addys scribbed on them.

My husband is the keeper of our christmas card list. One of his few December chores (he never wraps or cooks, and rarely shops) is to handle the address labels on the Christmas cards.

I feel a bit vulnerable confessing this to you. But I only do so to ask for your help. I’d like to hear from those of you who are organized, especially with your list of contacts, addresses, phone numbers.  I have Outlook software on my computer, I never have used it. It looks easy enough, and now I have a little time to input all those numbers. I am administratively challenged, so this will not be easy.

When I was a reporter (20 years ago) I had a great Rolodex on my desk. I’d just stick people’s business cards right in it, or write their name on the little cards. Any reporter is only as good as the contacts and sources she maintains.

I need help, I need a system. I’d like your opinion on which is easiest to use. I’ve heard of Plaxo and Constant contact.  How do you organize addresses, manage contacts, find the phone number you need when you need it?

I look forward to hearing your suggestions!!