And I thought phones were supposed to be getting smaller. Photo courtesy of Flickr user daryl_mitchell. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.I guess I’m getting a reputation around HackCollege as the “phone guy”. Ironically, my cell phone is probably the least important piece of my technical repertoire. I was a bit amazed as I was nearing my cell phone’s limit of 600 contacts halfway through my first semester of freshman year – yes, dumbphones still have low contact limits and yes, I’m just that good at meeting people (not really). After all, it was my second phone (remember how to survive without a lost phone?) so I liked to pat myself on the back for doing well at being social.

And then I went to the Florida vs. Georgia Football Classic (formerly known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), had a weekend to never forget that I couldn’t fully remember, and celebrated my Gators’ thrilling overtime victory. I made it back home alive, went to the bathroom, and in the process of calling a friend dropped my phone in a urinal. Plop, plop, fizz. Alka-Seltzer would have been proud.

I decided to try the traditional methods to save it, but all for naught. Ends up this _third_ insurance claim in a year inspired me to make my phone a bit more valuable to me and make it more of a useful tool than the catch-all I’d made it. I decided to streamline my contacts, and here’s how I did it.

First, differentiate between your address book and your contacts. I keep over 600 contacts in my Google Contacts, so I can know who people are, but I don’t communicate regularly with all 600. I keep only my most pressing contacts in my phone.

Take advantage of organizational contact lists.  When I restructured my contacts, I added my pledge brothers and fraternity brothers in addition to that of my student government directors and comrades. I might not text them all or call them all on a daily basis, but they’re important to have – in full. Another list that made the cut? My co-writers here at HackCollege.

Eliminate people not from your “college town”. I live in Gainesville, but I’m from Orlando. My chief goal is to communicate with the people I see 9 of 12 months of the year, so I keep my phone centered on my college life and not my summer or break life.

Submit friends back home to a Litmus test. Don’t treat this like it’s E.T.; your friends will still be in your address book. But only keep your the friends “back home” you speak to most in your phone and let the rest sit in a contact list or address book. Obviously, your family should pass this test. Hopefully.