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Tasks with Visual Reminders

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  • Tasks with Visual Reminders

    I was thinking about the number of tasks I have that don't appear on any of my lists. These are things with visual reminders. Example: I collect my dry cleaning in my closet. When the spot gets full, I have a visual reminder to go to the cleaners. I move the pile of clothes to the front seat of my car. There it serves as another visual reminder to actually run the errand. When I drop off the clothes at the cleaners, I add into my Palm a Pick up dry cleaning task. Without a visual reminder to do this, I will forget it for a few days until I need one of the items that is at the cleaners.

    This is just one example. I don't think laundry and dishes are on anybody's next action list, but they are tasks that have to get done. "Check the dog's water bowl" is never going to appear on my list, but if I walk by and see it is low I refill it. What I am saying is that I am doing a lot more things routinely based on visual reminders than I was really aware of. These all happen to be home-based tasks, but the same thing applies at work.

  • #2
    I think I remember David talking about "the thing as the reminder," which is a tool for keeping things simple. Tickler files to a large extent serve the same purpose--on Satuday when I open the tickler file and see the flyer for the sale starting that day at Wal-Mart reminds me to run by there as I am doing errands. The bills that have collected in that tickler folder over the week serve as a reminder that I need to pay them. My dad would take the empty container of something and sit on the seat in his car as a reminder to pick up a new one.

    From your examples, you also have a back-up system in place. Should, for some reason, you overlook the growing pile of dirty clothes, the shrinking number of clean clothes in the closet will serve as a reminder.

    Just a couple of thoughts on the downside for the sake of discussion--If you have LOTS of "things as the reminder," that's where you can run into problems. You have STUFF sitting around, whereas all of that stuff could be out of sight and out mind with reminders as to where it is and what to do with it on your context lists.

    The other thought is that while you will see these physical reminders, will you necessarily see them at the appropriate time? Will you see the dog's empty water bowl at the moment you are walking out the door already late for work? Maybe having an evening routine that incorporates eyeballing the water bowl along half a dozen other routine things just before retiring for the evening is another option. Just a thought.



    • #3
      Re: Tasks with Visual Reminders

      Originally posted by TPorter2
      This is just one example. I don't think laundry and dishes are on anybody's next action list, but they are tasks that have to get done.
      Well, I don't think I'm all *that* unusual, but I do have next actions for laundry (recurs weekly) and "Run dishwasher", as well as "feed and water cats" and "scrub litterboxes".


      • #4
        No Ambar you are not. I have lifebalance set to remind me of laundry and dishes,


        • #5
          Thanks to you all for your thoughts on this.

          Frank, you are right. I often see the dog's water bowl is empty right when I can least tend to it. Good thoughts...

          I don't think anyone with laundry/dishes on their list is strange, sorry if I implied that. I think that is where I am heading. I have a need to see the entire scope of stuff that I am dealing with, and visual reminders don't give me that.