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How to remember time sensitive items w/o a specific date

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  • How to remember time sensitive items w/o a specific date

    Hey guys, thanks for reading and thanks in advanced for any help.

    Let's say I want to remind myself to try a dish at a restaurant in a city I'm rarely in. Let's also assume I won't remember I set myself up a reminder when that time comes. Any ideas guys?

    Other example: A funny birthday party gift I'd like to remember the next time an opportunity comes around.

    I have a lot of ideas that aren't part of a much bigger list, which makes it harder to remember that I made a list in the first place. Items like "when I buy a house" are easily remembered.

  • #2
    I'm not sure what you mean with the bday party example. But for the other one, the way I handle it is to consider things like this as reference material. Sometimes I'll read a mention of an attraction in a city that I have no immediate plans to visit, in fact may not ever visit. And yet should I go I would like to see the info again. So I collect it as reference material. The only gotcha is that I need to remember to check thru my reference material pertaining to that destination before I go, but that isn't too difficult a habit to form. "let see, I'm going to X, wonder if I saved any notes about that?" seems to cover it.


    • #3
      These are Someday-Maybe for me

      For your first example, I'd add an item to my Someday/Maybe list "Try the tempura at Wasabi." For your second I might have an entry called "Potential Gifts to Give" and list things I think of that I might want to give to someone someday, along with pertinent info like where to buy/$/who it might be appropriate for, etc. I actually do have a list called "Things I Want".

      The trick here is that you are reviewing your Someday/Maybe list appropriately. I review mine once a week as part of my weekly review. It's a refresher for my mind so if I find myself at Wasabi I'm liable to remember that there was something I wanted to try and I can look it up. I don't necessarily read the entire list of "Things I Want" every week but I see that I have a list and I have a moment to think about if I want to get myself a gift. It's also handy to print and leave lying around the house round about birthday time!


      • #4

        I might use checklists for both of these things. For the dish/restaurant example, I have a checklist called "Next Time In..." and I have various things listed by cities I sometimes go to.

        For the gift item, I have a list called "Gift ideas" and I'd just make a general note there. I listen rabidly to friends and family for ideas for gifts for them, and keep track of it all there, by name. I get lots of kudos from people that are "amazed" that I seem to always know the perfect thing to buy for them. Of course, they have no recollection of ever having mentioned a thing to me!


        • #5
          Some of task management apps that run on mobile devices now have location-based alerts, so your example of a restaurant dish in a specific city could be on a someday/maybe list and the reminder will pop-up when you are in the location. Same could be done for the birthday present if it comes from a specific store.


          • #6
            You can try to group them with other things, especially physical things. Perhaps you have something you usually bring with you whenever you travel: a travelling toothbrush, passport etc. You can store those things all in the same place, and with them a note "if going to (city), try (restaurant)." When you start your trip, presumably you'll know whether you'll be going to that city, and can then set another reminder, such as a watch beeping at a specific time, or a piece of paper wrapped around all the money in your wallet or something.

            If you usually plan trips a month in advance, you can have a reminder come up
            in your system once a month, at which time you may know you're planning to go
            to that city and can then set another, more specific reminder.

            I wonder if will be useful for this sort of thing: perhaps (once that
            system is functional) you'll be able to use it to set a comment to yourself which would
            appear whenever you go to a travel-ticket-purchasing website.

            If you have a map of the city you rarely go to, you could store a reminder with
            the map, (a stick-note on the map), and hope you remember to bring the map with you!

            If you have birthday candles, wrapping paper or such stored somewhere in your house, you can group all those things together, and also buy gifts ahead of time and store them in the same place too. Then when an occasion comes up, you can think "Do I have any gifts I already bought?" and go and look. You can label them so you know you bought them to give away! So you can go ahead and buy the funny present now; or put a note about it in with the other stuff.

            You can use your memory. You can collect a number of things you want to memorize, and make yourself a quiz, e.g. flashcards. Question: what do I want to do if I ever go to (city)? Answer: go to (restaurant). The better you're doing at answering it, the less often you need to look at that flash card, so as you get more familiar with it you can move it to a pile you look at less often, so you don't get too bored with it. I don't consider this inconsistent with GTD: yes, you're using your mind, but it's a form of passive memory: you don't need to think about it except when the name of that city comes up. It's similar to learning a language or memorizing the capital cities of countries. It's also similar (in a different way) to the GTD system of looking at stuff during weekly review for the purpose of putting it into your mind.


            • #7
              My advice isn't much different from everybody else's, but, hey, I typed it, so I'll post it.

              My thought about the restaurant in the distant city are:

              - Create a "cities" folder, either physical or on your computer.
              - Whenever you encounter something that you'd like to do if you're in a particular city, create a document (computer) or grab and write a header on a piece of paper (physical folder) for that city, and add the piece of information. Or, of course, add it to the file or paper you already created last time you had a picee of information to record about that city.
              - Add "check cities folder" to your travel checklist. If you don't have a travel checklist, there are probably any number of other reasons for having one.

              Similarly, you could creat a "gifts" folder, with either one document/paper with all of your ideas, or separate documents/papers for each of your likely friends, and maybe one more for "general gift ideas".

              If you form a habit of checking your own reference material for specific occasions in your life - travel, giftgiving, party-throwing, holidays, etc - then you have a built-in way to remind yourself of these things.

              Do I do this? No. But it seems like a good idea.


              • #8
                I have about 20 lists (maybe a little bit of an exageration) within evernote that I use for just this sort of thing. Things to do/try if I ever make it back to NYC, or random gifts to buy for my family/friends for birthdays that aren't anytime soon.

                I keep them in related notebooks.

                Gift Ideas
                +Self Lust List (Just for random cool things I want, but won't buy)


                It works very well. I collect it once, know it will be there if ever I need it again.


                • #9
                  I think it's been covered, but I agree, both of those are reference items, notes, not Next Actions.

                  When a birthday comes up, you can review your "Potential Gifts" list; or, if it's person-specific, you might keep an "Agenda" list with all the topics, actions and information you want fresh when you are going to meet that person.

                  Travel destinations aren't really actions, unless you trip in planned and you have specific actions, "Make reservations at ...", "Plan afternoon in ...", etc.

                  Travel is clearly reference material. I have hundreds of URLs, articles and lists in my "Destinations" notebook in Evernote, each tagged by Destination; and some with "Dining" or "Outdoors". I may never get to Reykjavik, but if I do, I'll review my "Iceland" notes before I go, and add specific actions to my MA lists.