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20 Mar

What reminders do you need?

Datum: 2017-03-20 14:48

When did you last snooze a reminder? Was it this morn­ing or just a few min­utes ago? Or, do you not even use the reminder-function?

A client asked me the oth­er day about how to turn off the reminder-box which pops up when he opens Out­look. This got me thinking.

I can real­ly under­stand how he wants to get rid of it since he does not wish to be remind­ed when it is comes up. Yet, we did in fact ask to be remind­ed when we set the reminder in the first place.

Just in time?
How many of all the world’s com­put­er- and cell phone-reminders actu­al­ly sound the alarm when we want to be remind­ed? Some do, but if I am to draw some con­clu­sions from what I hear from my mentees, most do not. There­of comes all this snooz­ing since we are not actu­al­ly inter­est­ed in being remind­ed when the reminder sounds.

Reminders, noti­fi­ca­tions and oth­er noti­fi­ca­tion sounds which go off when we do not want them to are only dis­tract­ing us. They dis­turb us in what we are cur­rent­ly doing and make us lose focus.

Some are tru­ly valuable
But, reminders in them­selves are not inef­fec­tu­al. They can, if used cor­rect­ly and in the appro­pri­ate con­text, be true lifesavers.

They help us the most when act­ing as trig­gers that make us switch task imme­di­ate­ly. The reminders which are gen­uine­ly use­ful and which are the right ones to use the reminder-func­tion for are for exam­ple reminders such as:

  • Get up and go right now, oth­er­wise you will not make it!”
  • You have an impor­tant meet­ing in 30 min­utes, so it is time to start prepar­ing for that now.”
  • This was the time when you promised to call the client.”
  • You just received the urgent e‑mail you have been expect­ing, so you will be able to con­tin­ue work­ing now.”
  • You are cur­rent­ly in geo­graph­ic prox­im­i­ty to that place where you want­ed to go and do/​buy some­thing when in the neighborhood.”
  • and, of course: Wake up! It is time to get up.”

And some you can skip
On the oth­er hand, instead of hav­ing reminders that say The fol­low­ing tasks are due today”, prac­tice start­ing every day with look­ing through your to-do-list (on your own ini­tia­tive) when it suites you to do so.

Instead of being remind­ed that [pling!]”You e‑mailed N one week ago today and you still have not received a reply”, make it a habit to quick­ly look through your wait­ing-for-list dai­ly, on your own ini­tia­tive and when it suits you best.

Get rid of as many reminders and noti­fi­ca­tions as you pos­si­bly can and which you do not actu­al­ly need. You are prob­a­bly remind­ed and noti­fied enough as it is.

Do this
When you are remind­ed of some­thing this week by hear­ing a reminder sound or see­ing a pop-up noti­fi­ca­tion, take a minute to con­sid­er if this reminder is actu­al­ly necessary.

Were you remind­ed just when you need­ed to?

  • Yes? Con­grat­u­la­tions!
  • No? Do you real­ly want to keep it then? Remove it if you are even remote­ly tempt­ed to snooze it. How big is the chance that it pops up at the right time next time it rings — after you already snoozed it?

Nice to not be interrupted
If you from now on reeval­u­ate your reminders you will end up with less inef­fi­cient reminders and you will snooze few­er of them. You will to a greater extent than before be in charge of when to look at your to-do-list or check your e‑mail.

The reminders you choose to keep are kept for a good rea­son and you will enjoy how they actu­al­ly help you not have to remem­ber things you can­not afford to miss or forget.

You will have few­er sounds, inter­rup­tions and dis­trac­tions, and be able to focus more. Good for you!

What do you want to be remind­ed of?
Did I for­get an impor­tant reminder? Leave a com­ment and remind me!