Create Fewer Reminders

First person: "Why is our car parked on the lawn?" Second person: "It's a reminder to get gas...and to mow the lawn."

Do you leave little reminders lying around for yourself? Do you leave tools lying out as a reminder to fix something? Do you leave objects lying around as a reminder to do something with them? Do you leave emails in your inbox as a reminder to deal with them?

I’ve done all these things at various points, but over time I’ve learned not to leave so many reminders lying around, because quite often, the reminder gets ignored. I place the picture frame against the wall with an intention to hang it. All of a sudden it’s 6 months later, and the picture frame is still leaning against the wall.

When you do this over and over, little bits of clutter build up. The problem is these little things are gnawing on your attention, over and over. Every time the clutter registers in your consciousness, you think, “Oooh, I’ve got to deal with that…sometime.”

Instead of leaving little reminders out, why not put everything away? Your living and working space will be cleaner and more satisfying. And you won’t be reminded constantly about something you haven’t done yet.

Of course sometimes things are urgent. You really do need to do something in a timely fashion. In that case, go ahead and leave yourself a reminder. But if you’ve left yourself a reminder and you find you’re ignoring it repeatedly, then it can’t possibly be that urgent, because you’re always electing to do something else with your time instead.

If this starts to happen, just put the reminder away. If it’s truly important, you’ll take care of whatever it is in the next bit of free time you have. Most likely though, that won’t happen. You’ll continue to ignore it. And that’s OK, because there’s no point in constantly distracting yourself with something that you WANT to get done but never get to. It’s a lot more relaxing — and productive — to enjoy whatever you ARE doing rather than worry about what you’re NOT doing.

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