We all have potentially valuable information fall through the cracks. It's a result of the often-dizzying pace in any multi-tasking professional's day.
There's a way, however, to minimize such losses. We suggest that every three months you go through your paper and electronic "pockets." I'm referring to your briefcase, desktop, laptop, smartphone, iPad--and all the other odd places we squirrel away phone numbers, ideas, etc. when we're under pressure.
Whenever I do this, I end up with a pile of scribbled notes, business cards, "notes to self" and other detritus. Each one typically triggers instant recognition of what I should already have done, e.g., "Oh, yeah. That guy said to call him after the conference."
To convert this pile of detritus into meaningful action, I apply a valuable question I learned from a time management friend, who suggested that I ask myself, "If this was the most important thing in the world right now, what would you be doing about it?" This question forces me to assign an action verb to the item, such as "Call Joe Smith re: contact at conference."
Joe Smith, however, is unlikely to see an email Subject with the benign-sounding "conference follow-up" as a high priority. So, let's enhance the sales value of your call or email by enhancing the action description with a specific outcome. For example, tell yourself to "Call Joe Smith to clarify his Door-Opener problem and learn his Cost of Doing Nothing."
In other words, specify what you'll do (call) and what you want to accomplish (clarify and learn). It's an easy way to plan a sustainable business conversation.
Now, when you empty your physical and virtual pockets, you just might find tens of thousands of dollars in cash masquerading as the business version of lint.