Have you ever forgotten to do something that was important? You know, like taking your medication, following your employer’s instructions, or meeting with a family member to help them with a project? I think we’ve all been there.
And if you run a business, your list of important things to do is probably never-ending and overwhelming.
How can you remember to do the things that are important to you? Here are a few simple steps I follow to ensure that even if something slips my mind, I’ll be okay and get it done anyway. Here’s how to easily remember to do things!
1. Write it down.
Duh, right? Well, this is easier said than done.
If you have something you need to do that is out of your normal routine, writing it down is probably the most important step you could follow. Yet so many of us don’t even follow this tip. Why?
We don’t follow this tip because it is usually inconvenient to do so. We don’t have a pen, we don’t have a scrap of paper, or we haven’t ever used a notes application on our phone and we don’t intend to learn how type quickly on that teeny, tiny keyboard.
In other words, if it takes you more than 15 seconds to write it down, you probably tell yourself, “Oh don’t worry self, you’ll remember.”
A moment later? You forget. Bummer. Now your wife won’t get that birthday present she’s been wanting all year.
Here are a few things you can do to encourage yourself to write things down:
- Carry a small notepad in your pocket or purse wherever you go. Don’t forget something to write with.
- Practice typing on your smartphone. That’s one of it’s main functions! Learn how to access your notes application (and for you pro users, learn to sync your notes between your phone and your computer).
- Don’t feel like you have to write down full-length instructions. Simply write a few key words that will remind you what the task is all about.
2. Put the task into a reminder system.
Writing it down isn’t enough, unfortunately. The next thing you’ll need to do (at least once a day) is put all your notes into a reminder system. Expand on your keywords and write out detailed instructions.
If you have a smartphone or computer that you’re frequently glued to, try finding an application that will alert and remind you about what you need to do.
Find a way to separate things that can be done anytime versus things that have to be done at specific times. For example, you might need to mow the lawn sometime this week to make sure the Homeowner’s Association doesn’t come knocking on your door, but you also might need to change an outdoor lightbulb which could be done anytime.
You don’t really need software to help you remember when to do things, you just need something to jog your memory. For example, if you need to bake a cake in the morning and usually make yourself a cup of coffee when you wake up, put a sticky note on the coffee machine reminding you to bake the cake. Simple, right? (But I must say, I prefer software because I’m geeky like that.)
3. Decide quickly whether to do or to postpone tasks.
When you’re reminded to do things by your system, decide quickly whether you should do that thing right away or postpone it for later. If other things have your attention, you may want to postpone. Prioritize by figuring out what is important and/or urgent.
If you do decide to postpone, make sure you place your to-do back into your reminder system. You don’t want to forget simply because you postponed the task!
Task management is important. If you learn to adopt just a few of these basics, you’ll vastly improve your productivity whether you’re at home or in the office. You can easily remember to do things if you take tasks out of your mind, write them down, put them into a larger reminder system, and make intuitive decisions along the way.
How do you remember to do things? Leave a comment and let us know!