As I mentioned in my article about the effects of stress, all it takes is a single thought to initiate a cascade that will undermine your health. Like most people, you probably have a lot going on and have a to-do list that’s a mile long. It’s bad enough when a forgotten task alarmingly pops in your in your head, but then you worry about forgetting it again and it just lingers unpleasantly in your mind.
Picture yourself lying on a beach, enjoying the warm feeling of the sun on your skin, and relaxing to the calming sound of the water. You are too wrapped up in the moment to care about anything that might normally worry you. This is what’s called being in the present and having a clear mind. The more often you achieve this state, the happier and healthier you will be. But you’ll never get there if you keep worrying about the tasks and appointments you can’t afford to forget.
Get Those Annoying Thoughts Out of Your Head
The problem is that you can’t just dismiss all the things you have going on because you know there will be nasty consequences if you forget something. This is why you need a reliable reminder system. By reliable, I mean something that’s easy to use and is always with you. When something pops in your mind, you quickly enter it into your system and go right back to being on the beach and enjoying the sun and water. If your system is cumbersome or is not always with you, you’re unlikely to have the confidence you need to get the nagging thoughts out of your head and relax.
Although there are plenty of elaborate reminder and organization systems out there, I prefer to keep things as simple as possible. Most people don’t need an elaborate system, but if there’s so much activity in your life that you do, then I highly recommend
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen. Even if you’re not a busy executive or business owner, you’ll still learn a lot of useful information from it.
My Reminder System
The system that has worked great for me is a smart phone with a calendar. The keyboard makes it really easy to enter tasks and appointments, and because it’s a phone, it’s already with me nearly all the time. I know this system works well for me because as soon as I think of something I need to do, I put it in my calendar and can let it go from my mind just like that. Although a calendar is not really meant to be used as a task list, I like having my tasks and appointments in one place. In addition, using the calendar forces me to pick a completion time for each task and I like that. Most calendars have reminder functions that will cause your phone to ring or vibrate thus making it difficult to forget things. At the cost of being simple, this system has it’s limitations, but for someone who isn’t completely overwhelmed with things to do, I think it works well. Especially for someone who isn’t using any kind of system at all.
If you find that you’re frequently stressed about remembering things, why not give it a try? I’d love to hear how it works out for you and what kind of system you’re using.