Create your own reminder system

Maria Eastman·

How to hack your own memory with reminders that work for you.

Schedules can get very hectic at times, and sometimes we all forget important details no matter how diligently we try to remember everything on our plate. That’s why it’s so important to have a reliable way of reminding ourselves to actually do the tasks that we need to do.

There are many methods to ensure that we remember – and to do the things we need to do regardless of whether they are on the list or not. It can be challenging at first to get in the habit of setting reminders, but eventually, we build up enough muscle memory that remembering AND doing becomes a habit, not an exception.

To-do list post-it on fridge.
Placing family to-do lists where everyone can see them is one way to keep reminders top of mind.

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

Everyone has habits that we engage in automatically without even thinking about it. Like making the bed a specific way first thing in the morning or the steps to brushing your teeth, you know the process without acknowledging it. You already have a set of productivity habits that you’ve developed over the years.

So how do we incorporate good habits from our daily lives into our schedules? Well, building productive habits is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long period of time that you start doing without thinking.

Create Triggers

Whether you want to become accustomed to something or just remind yourself once enough that it is needed, you need to interrupt yourself in a way that triggers the behavior you want.

When we talk about “triggers,” we’re talking about anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce. For example, if you want to remember to take something to work that you normally wouldn’t take, you might want to place it by the front door so that on your way out, you will remember to grab it.

Honestly, anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. A good way to create new habits is to place a trigger in your path that reminds you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit. For instance, you could put bright colored post-its in important places around your house to help you remember whatever it is you’re trying to remember until you don’t need it anymore. Sometimes the best way to instill these habits is to set them up and then forget about them, trusting that the trigger will pop up when you need it.  People even tie strings on their fingers as a memory trigger!

How to Make a Reminder That Works for You

There are many tools at our disposal to set reminders. Our phones, computers, tablets all have calendars and note-taking apps to help with the collection of reminders, but none actually prompt you with the reminder itself. Since checking our mobile devices have become a large part of our daily routine, using a calendar app like Arrange isn’t a foreign habit. By adding Arrange to your Google calendar, you’ll have both a ubiquitous calendar app but also a source for inspiration and forward-looking reminders.

Whether you’re trying to remember those weekly tasks like trash day or grocery shopping, or trying to remember more niche tasks such as sending a wedding RSVP or buying a birthday card, Arrange plan reminders help you remember alllll of it without the stress.

Not to mention, Arrange plans can be seamlessly added to your calendar, so all of your tasks and to-dos are in one place while automatically scheduling them at the appropriate time. Arrange makes it easy for you to drop and drag your reminders into your calendar to fit your schedule, then you can check tasks off once you’ve completed them.

Other “Remembering” Practices

Have you ever heard of bullet journaling? The chunking technique? These are also ways to improve your memory.

1. Bullet Journals

This memory trick works for two reasons. We naturally remember visual cues better than words, and the more senses you involve in learning or storing something, the better you will be at recalling it. Learn more about Bullet Journaling.

bullet journal example
example of a bullet journal (courtesy of Oprah Daily)

2. Chunking Technique

The chunking technique is a memory trick that our brains use to divide large pieces of information into smaller units that are easier to digest. In a Verywell Mind article, neuroscientist Daniel Bor noted that chunking helps us "hack the limits of our memory."

There are undoubtedly many ways you can improve your memory and use techniques to remember your to-do’s. But sometimes, even with the sharpest of memories, we can forget important things. That’s why Arrange was created to help you remember, so you can let yourself forget.

Like our blog? Then you’ll probably enjoy Arrange, too.

Browse to-dos, reminders, and more. Then seamlessly add tasks to your calendar in a few taps or clicks.