A Messy Database + YEARS of Procrastination = ???

It was close to the end of the day and I found myself with something I rarely find myself with: free time.  I had made all of my calls, returned every email, updated every report and even perused ActiveRain for articles to comment on.  I was out of things to do. I went to my "Projects to work on when you have time" file.  At the top of the list was something that I have been avoiding for literally years.  "Clean Up Your Outlook Database!!!!!".  This particular database was started in 2003 and 3 businesses ago and I have never bothered to officially clean and organize it.  It totaled 603 contacts. (This is separate from my more organized and much better functioning Top Producer database that houses all of my client / prospect contacts which by the way, I don't manage, my assistant does.) (Another topic worth its own blog post) 

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This particular database was started in 2003 and 3 businesses ago and I have never bothered to officially clean and organize it. It totaled 603 contacts. (This is separate from my more organized and much better functioning Top Producer database that houses all of my client / prospect contacts which by the way, I don't manage, my assistant does.) (Another topic worth its own blog post)

Motivating our agent clients to actually sit down and go through their database is one of the most challenging tasks we face and ProREA Staffing. We don't know who their contacts are so the process of assigning correct contact types must fall on them. They are all about as excited about cleaning their databases as I was about mine. Right now I have several agents who have been "working on" cleaning up their database for many, many months and it is holding up the marketing programs that they want us to put in place for them.

Since I was going to finally subject myself to this very un-fun process I decided to time myself.

How long does it really take to clean out an old, messy database and assign contact types?

The answer: A Messy Database + YEARS of Procrastination = Less Than ONE Hour of my Time!

That's right. One hour to combine duplicates with partial information, to delete people who I didn't need to talk to again and to assign contact types to everyone who remained. I reduced this database from 603 to 115 contacts. The only thing I didn't do was move about 50 agent contacts over to Top Producer. I delegated that to my assistant.

So, what's going on with those agents who have been "working on" their databases for months on end while I was able to knock it out in an hour? Something does not add up.

Now that I can cross this item off my To DO list I feel really good. I feel like I just cleaned out the garage and all of that mental stress about needing to clean the garage, seeing "Clean the Garage" on the To Do list every week, etc, etc is suddenly lifted from my shoulders. It's nice.

I guess the moral to my little story is this. If you are avoiding something on your To Do list stop making excuses and just sit down and work on it. It might not be as painful as you thought!