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The mental cost of reminders: Is offloading memory worth the interruptions?

https://blog.rescuetime.com/cost-of-reminders/

blog.rescuetime.com

The mental cost of reminders: Is offloading memory worth the interruptions?
Ever since we've had things to remember, we've set reminders. Whether it's the ding of an app or a string tied around your finger, memory devices help offload our need to remember everything all the time. But there's a downside to all those reminders.

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Using reminders

We use memory devices to offload our need to remember everything all the time. But these tools have slowly shifted from a source of calm to just another source of interruption.

For ex...

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Reminders and mental space

Reminders give us mental space for more important work. They make sense because we can't remember everything.

They keep our most important priorities top of mind. And studies show how&...

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Reminders: the bad side

  • We’re bombarded by reminders and notifications every day and this can mess up our focus.
  • Reminders cause context switching and distraction. They take our focus away ...

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Scheduling styles

When it comes to our daily schedule, most people fall into one of two camps:
  • The Overscheduler: Their days are determined from the moment they wake up to their evening routine.
  • The Minimalist: They’ve got one or two recurring events, but a whole lot of white space so they’re “free” (at least on paper) for long stretches of work.

Scheduling your day

A good daily schedule is a blueprint for a successful life. 

Knowing what we’re doing and when empowers us with a sense of purpose, meaning, and focus.

Your most important work

The most successful people consistently get their most important work done first.

Build recurring time for your most important work in the morning, before you start anything else. Your energy levels are naturally higher in the morning, but completing a meaningful task first thing has also a domino effect that pushes you through the day.

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Memory cues

Memory cues

They are objects or events that help trigger an action or a memory of that action. 

They can be either intentional (a reminder on our phone) or unintentional (seeing a product at the store which reminds us of something that we forgot to add to our shopping list.)

Different types of memory cues

  • Internal memory cues are patterns of thinking that help trigger a specific memory. For example, mental imagery, which involves visualizing a certain scene happening, can serve as an internal reminder of an event that happened.
  • External memory cues are objects or events that trigger a memory that they are associated with. For example, a glass of water next to your bed is an external reminder to drink water when you wake up.

Example of exernal cues

  • To remember to floss your teeth, put the box with the floss on top of your tube of toothpaste.
  • To remember to take a pill each morning, put the pills next to whatever you usually eat for breakfast.
  • To start the day by writing, put a piece of paper with a reminder on top of your keyboard.
  • You can use your watch as a reminder to take things easy, so that every time you look at it you remember to relax a little.

Steps for Better Time Management

  1. Add as much as you can into the system. You can email yourself things to do, or put them in your calendar, or take quick notes, or take a picture.
  2. Process it all as fast as you can. Anything you don't need to deal with right now, either mark it done or snooze it for later. 

Organizing Less And Doing More

It’s easy to spend time organizing a to-do list and forget to do the things in the list to avoid that:

  1. Pick an app that will automatically sync information on multiple platforms so you have flexibility without the work it would take to update manually.
  2. Use an app ecosystem that allows easy integration of calendars, to do lists and email for maximum efficiency.