You forgot that thing you were supposed to do for your boss. And that favor you were going to do for a friend. Or even to pay that bill that was due.
Are you guilty of saying that you are going to do something and then don’t because you forgot? Forgetting is not an excuse, it is a root cause of your productivity issues. Whether it is todos, appointments, obligations, or bills… forgotten tasks often cause more work down the road.
Here are 10 Ways to Stop Forgetting & Get More Done:
Set an Alarm – We all have alarm clocks on our phones, yet few of us use them. Setting an alarm is the simplest way to remind yourself. Need to call that customer back by end of day? Set your alarm for 5PM. A simple alarm is the down and dirty way to jog your memory.
Put it On Your Calendar – Calendars are often underutilized. Don’t just make appointments for meetings, but also for tasks that you need to do. This not only reminds you, but has the added benefit of allotting time to get the work done.
Write it Down (on Your Todo List) – What do you put on your todo list? Many people only write down the big things. Ironically, the big things are usually pretty easy to remember. It is the small ones that you need to write down. Put it on your list… that is what it is for.
Set a Reminder – Alarms are great for one-offs. However, for regular or repeating tasks go ahead and set a reminder. For example, I have a reminder on my iPhone that goes off every Wednesday at 7AM to tell me to put the trash out. 9 times out of 10, I have already put it out. But, the few times I hadn’t… it worked like a charm.
Do It Now, So You Don’t Have to Remember Later – This one sounds like cheating, but the best way to avoid forgetting a task is to do it immediately. When appropriate, do small tasks right then and there. If it is only going to take a few seconds or minutes… Just Do It Now.
Have Someone Else Remind You – A little accountability goes a long way. Have a family member, friend, or even co-worker hold you to performing a certain task. (BTW, kids are very good at this… my 8-year old son reminds me of things I “said I was going to do” all the time…)
Put It On Automatic – One of my favorite ways to avoid forgetting tasks is to put them on automatic. Set and forget. This works great with AutoPay for bills. Get creative, you will be surprised how many things you can automate. For example, every six months Amazon automatically sends me a new water filter for my fridge. I don’t have to remember or even go out and get one.
Don’t Say Yes In The First Place – Want to avoid forgetting that favor that you promised? Or that extra task you agreed to take on? One of the best methods is to say “No” in the first place. If you are overloaded with your own work, don’t agree to take on more. You are just setting yourself up to disappoint others.
Have Someone Else Do It – If you can’t do it, delegate appropriate tasks. However, just remember that when you delegate, you still have to remember to follow-up. After all, you can delegate the doing of the task, but not the accountability.
Use Your List! – Your todo list should be your best friend. It should remember so that you don’t have to. If you are following rule 3, then your list will have your back. When your list reminds you of something you forgot, you know it’s working.