Personal Productivity

The Top 7 Ways I Use Reminders

How to use reminders more effectively
wrote this on September 6, 2011
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One of the most valuable features in my IQTELL Workspace is the Reminder. Reminders have saved me a lot of hassle by dropping important information into my lap at just the right time. I’m able to click a link in the notification that will take me directly to the relevant entry (Email, Task, Note, etc.). I have the option of receiving the message either in my email inbox or to my mobile phone.

I use reminders a lot, so here’s a list of the top seven ways I take advantage of them. I’m not trying to bias anyone so they are in no particular order.

#1 Begin a Task – I like to record everything because while I consider myself relatively intelligent, I tend to forget things if I allow them to rattle around in my brain for too long. As a result, I like to record those actionable to-do items that aren’t due for a while and set a reminder to be sent to me when I think I should begin the task. This is particularly helpful for tasks that don’t actually have a specific due date. I even have that reminder sent to me a few more times (usually an hour or two later), just in case I ignore the first one. That way I’m sure to have plenty of time for getting things done.

#2 Complete a Task – Okay, so this one’s a little more traditional than my first one. Obviously, keeping track of Due Dates is extremely important if you want to stay organized. So, in addition to the automatic reminder I receive 24-hours before the task is due, I like to set a reminder for a little bit earlier in case my procrastinating-self decided to put it off for too long. I can use all the help I can get to get started.

#3 Reply to an Email – Here’s where I let myself be a little lazy. We’ve all had those emails land in our inbox that don’t require more than a response, but that response will take about half an hour to write. Instead of creating a Task entry that simply says, “Respond to this email,” I set a reminder from that email that will be delivered to my cell phone during a time of the day that I know will be a little slow.

#4 Appointments and Meetings – It’s good to plan ahead. You should set meetings and make appointments well in advance to make sure everything works out for all of those involved. But, I can be a bit forgetful (see #1 above). So, the moment a meeting date and time is set, I create an entry in my Phone Calls & Meetings app for it. That way, I can easily create a reminder based on the date of the meeting so I have plenty of time to prepare for it. The best part of this strategy is that because I set the reminder based on a field in the Phone Calls & Meetings entry, if the appointment or meeting date changes, so too will my reminder, automatically!

#5 Birthdays and Anniversaries – This one’s really easy. Not only is it an obvious reason to use reminders (it just takes one forgotten milestone to convince us to not forget another one, right fellas?), but I didn’t have to do anything for it! If you saved a birthday or anniversary date for a person in your Contacts app, you’ll automatically receive an email reminder one day early each and every year. All you need to do is remember that important date once, add it to the proper contact, and you’re good to go. It’s like that famous (or infamous) late night infomercial adage: set it, and forget it!

#6 Tickler File Stuff – For the non GTD practitioners out there, a “tickler” item is something that you have now, but that will serve you better at a later (often specific) date. It can be something physical like a document, or it can be something less tangible like the fact that your favorite actor will be signing autographs at the mall early next year (who wouldn’t want to meet Fred Savage?!). Setting a reminder for these items lets me concentrate on the stuff I have going on now without worrying about dropping the ball later.

#7 Expiration Dates – Loads of things expire. Coupons, insurance policies, magazine subscriptions, warranties, the free trial period of HBO, milk…. I have a hard enough time remembering what I have, let alone when what I have will become useless (or worse, more expensive). It’s tiresome to have to call and beg the cable company to refund me the subscription fee for a premium channel that I lost interest in watching two weeks into the trial period. So, I set reminders for each of these things based on their entries in my Workspace.

After writing all of this down, I have come to one unmistakable conclusion: I forget a lot of stuff! With that in mind, I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few valuable ways to use reminders, so tell me what I missed in the comments section below!

* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.

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3 responses to “The Top 7 Ways I Use Reminders”

  1. Fred1st says:

    Reminders! So many task managers only give date pop-ups. I need at-the-moment-of-action alerts. Thanks for pointing to IQTELL, I’m hoping for an invite–another step in the never-ending struggle to stay on task!

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