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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 33: Send Reminders to Your Future Self

Level Easy

Platform Web

Cost Free

Every day you have a lot on your mind and a lot to do. As a result, it can be nearly impossible to remember mundane recurring tasks — such as when it’s time to change the oil or go to the dentist — or even important yearly events, such as friends’ and family members’ birthdays.

Most smart phones and calendar software have some kind of reminder feature, but who knows what gadget or type of computer you’ll be using next year when Mom’s birthday rolls around. What you do know is that you’ll be checking your email or carrying a cell phone.

There’s a simple way to remind yourself of important events and tasks without being tied down to a particular software or device. The free, web-based Google Calendar (http://calendar.google.com) can send an email or text message to you with event and task information on the days and times you specify. You can create a time-based reminder file that emails your future self the data you’ll need to know at just the right moment in time.

Web-Based Calendar as Tickler File

Productivity expert David Allen advises readers of his book Getting Things Done to keep a “tickler file” to track recurring or time-based tasks,3 such as that bill due on the 9th of each month. Allen’s tickler file is a physical, paper accordion file that contains 43 folders: 12 folders (one for each month of the year) plus 31 folders (one for each day of the month). Allen says that every day, you should consult ...

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