I have several tasks that should happen on a monthly basis. When they don’t, I stress about it, feel guilty, and sometimes it’s plain dangerous (like forgetting to give my dog her heartworm and flea & tick treatments). In the past, trying to remember these monthly tasks used up a significant amount of energy, which took away from my ability to be creative and productive. These days, I use monthly reminders to remember these tasks.
(Note: There are various systems for managing reminders. I’m not going to get into the various systems in this post. Rather, check out this reminders post for more information.)
Here’s how it’s done:
List Monthly Tasks
The first step is to list out tasks that occur on a monthly basis. Here are some examples from my list:
- Administer my dog’s preventative medications
- Get a new razor head for my razor
- Change contacts
- Review transactions vs. budget from last month
- Review credit card statement
(Note: It’s okay if you can’t think of everything right now. You can always add to the list later!)
Coordinate Monthly Tasks
It’s easiest to manage monthly tasks if you do them all on the same day. Simply pick a day of the month and designate some small portion of it to managing your monthly tasks. I like to do this on the first day of the month, but whatever works for you is perfect.
If your monthly tasks currently are not coordinated on one day, simply stick with the schedule of the more critical tasks (e.g. your pet’s preventative care) and bring your other tasks closer to that day.
Another good reasons for coordinating your monthly tasks is that you cut down on notifications. Notifications can be a real distraction and by consolidating your monthly tasks into one reminder, you cut out a lot of interruptions.
Set up Monthly Reminders
Using your trusted system for reminders, set up a reminder that lists the monthly tasks and will remind you of these tasks on your selected day.
Complete Your Monthly Tasks
This system won’t work at all if you don’t do the tasks. Don’t hit snooze on your monthly reminders. Many of these tasks can be done in less than five minutes. Just do it!
Ideally, since this is a task list, you will also be able to check the items off the list each month. Nothing beats putting that check mark next to a completed task.
Enjoy the Freedom of Clearing Your Mind
Per the GTD philosophy, keeping “tasks lists” in your head is unproductive. You cannot be creative and get things done when your brain is full of “to-dos” and anxiety about whether or not you will remember an important task.
Creating the monthly reminders list is just the beginning. You likely have a multitude of other pending tasks circling around in your head.
For example, right now I’m thinking about the fact that I need to find somebody to fix our central vacuum system before our cleaning service comes on Friday. Why am I thinking about it? Because it hasn’t made its way into my trusted system for remembering things. It’s still on a yellow sticky note on the kitchen counter. What I need to do is add it to my task list (or ideally just pick up the phone and get it done!).
Creating reminders is an ongoing process. It’s never done. But it’s imperative for living a happy, productive life.
Do you have a monthly reminder system? Does it work for you? If not, what do you think you could do differently? Let me read your thoughts in the comments.
(Photo credit: String Tied to Finger via Shutterstock)