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© 1999 Michael S. Hyatt

In order to track the collection of your important documents, you
might want to create a “follow-up” chart. You can either draw it up on
graph paper or use a computer spreadsheet program.

Each document you need to acquire can be listed down the left-hand
column. In the next column write the date that you called or wrote
requesting a copy of the document. Make sure you note the name and phone
number of the contact person.

Moving across the columns, write in the date of each follow-up phone
call. When you receive the correct document, draw a red line through
that item or highlight it in yellow. In the computer spreadsheet, you
can change the appearance of the line, or move it to a portion of the
page labeled “completed.” Whatever you decide, keep it simple. Design
your form so that you can see in a glance which documents you are still
missing and how long it has been since you last called to inquire about
it.

Do not let more than two weeks pass without making a call. Time can
slip by quickly, and the more time that passes between your initial
request and any action, the more likely it is that your request got
buried under a stack of paperwork on somebody’s desk.

In virtually every institution, making copies of records to send to
customers is not anyone’s full-time job. It is one of those low-priority
duties that “someone” does whenever they have some free time. Which is
to say, it is the type of duty that “no one” will do unless you prod and
plead and persistently insist that it gets done.

This is why it is so critical to have a “follow-up” chart. You can
quickly see what documents are still missing from your record library,
and how much effort you have expended trying to secure them. This comes
in handy if you reach the point where you must call and speak with
someone’s supervisor or manager. If you can tell them the different
dates you called and the exact person to whom you spoke, that supervisor
will most likely see to it that you get what you want.

Admittedly, this can be a tedious and time-consuming chore. Who wants
to keep calling and bugging someone to process some paperwork?
Unfortunately, in many cases this will be the only way to be sure that
you get the important documents you need. A “follow-up” chart will keep
you from letting this important task slide.

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