Any good/easy reminder systems for the terminally absent-minded?

I have tried using the Windows calendar to remind me of stuff, like time to pay a certain bill, but I have to remember to open the program. Setting it to open at start up didn’t work because I don’t always shut down the computer but hibernate instead.

I have tried writing on a calendar but that also requires me remembering to look at it. A PDA requires me to have it charged and with me all the time, which doesn’t work for me and using my cell phone for typing in things is just a pain, plus if I’m not near my phone when the reminder comes due I will miss it. I guess I’d like a computer program that will start itself to remind me of things or email me. I usually go online once a day so that would work, too. I was afraid to search for this sort of thing and end up with a virus or trojan.

Does anyone else have a system that works for them? It doesn’t even have to be computer based but it really has to be easy or I won’t be able to stick with it.

I’m not good with my personal computer calendar, but I have to check my work calendar so I set my personal reminders on that one. It works out pretty well.

I think you’ll just have to develop a habit of checking the calender/program. I would put little post it reminders in logical places (where you would usually go to complete the tasks the calender is supposed to remind you to do, for example, or places you frequent throughout the day) so you’re constantly reminded of it. You could also just wait until you’ve simply remembered that you’ve forgotten enough times that it starts to stick, assuming there’s nothing catastrophically urgent you’d need to consult the calender/whatever for.

Edit: for me personally, I carry a notebook around with me all the time that I write reminders in, but to be honest, it doesn’t work very well, since eventually I accrue so many reminders that I forget to flip through the pages to find them. On the other hand, it seems that writing them down helps me remember them, so that’s something. In case you were thinking of going this route.

I always used to write on the back of my hand. I’m always checking the time so my little notes were always right there. But for the last few months I’ve been using my cell phone calendar a lot more. The text entry is a little tedious, but having a reminder alarm is great. I never go anywhere without it.

Here’s how I’d do it in Outlook. Add a daily event that just says “check your calendar”. Schedule it for late in the evening and set your reminder for 18 hours or whatever. When the reminder shows up early in the day, snooze it for 2 hours or whatever.

If there’s a problem with snoozing it properly and consistently, set up multiple daily events every 2 hours or whatever with a reminder for 0 hours before start.

Google Calendar sends e-mail reminders. Unfortunately it only seems to accept “events” which has a start/end time, or lasts a whole day, and not TO-DO items with deadlines. Still, there’s no reason you can’t set up an event for “pay phone bill,” for example.

Also, for bills specifically, your bank’s online banking system may let you schedule a payment. Mine does, so I set up a payment as soon as I receive a bill.

For most of your bills, you can set it up to automatically debit your bank account, without you having to lift a finger. Instead of bills, we get “your account will be debited” notices.

For appointments, I keep the cards, in order, in my wallet. That doesn’t always work, but usually I’ll remember, “I have an appointment in a day or two,” and I’ll take out my wallet to check.

I tried having the automatic debits before but when my mortgage company took the money and didn’t credit it to my account and then tried to tell me I was way behind on my payments I stopped trusting that system.

I may just have to try several things at once and see what sticks, instead of trying one method at a time. I will look into google calendar because that may be along the lines of what I wanted.

For me, placement and pattern are critical. If you want to check your calendar every day, then find something else that you already do every day like brush your teeth and place your calendar there. If you check email every day, the Google calendar may be a good choice, but try to incorporate into another daily activity and you’ll be more successful. You also have to do it religiously every day for at least 3 weeks to establish a pattern before it becomes a habit.

Like Myrrajh, I use my cell phone alarm. Appointments, birthdays, meetings, bills due, etc. all get entered, with an appropriate alarm. The kids also know that they should enter these things into my cell calendar, rather than just say “Mom, parent-teacher conference next Thursday at 2.” The kids are getting to the smart-aleck age, though. Today at 3, my cellular alarm went off with the notification “(Son’s name) needs $20.” Now that I’m working night shift, he thinks I’m going to be groggy enough mid-afternoon to fall for that!

Try something like hiveminder.com or rememberthemilk.com. They synch with your online calendar, or can send you text messages, e-mail or let you print out lists.

I once complained to my son that I’m always forgeting something which causes me to have to get back out of my truck and run back into the house to grab whatever it is I forgot.

The next day I found a big ass note stuck to the inside of my front door. (The door that leads to my truck). It read:

*Dad, did you remember:

Your car keys?
Your wallet?
Your money?
your work badge?

Better get it now Dad, don’t forget.*

That note has been stuck up there ever since and has worked perfectly.

Did I mention my son’s autistic?