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Monthly Reminders: Never Forget Your Dog’s Flea Treatment Again!

Monthly Reminders: Never Forget Your Dog’s Flea Treatment Again!


    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

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    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.

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    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!

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    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!).

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    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)

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Do you like making mistakes?

    I certainly don’t.

    Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

    Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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    Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

    Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

    • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
    • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
    • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
    • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

    We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

    If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

    Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

    Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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    When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

    Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

    We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

    It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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    Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

    Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

    Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

    1. Point us to something we did not know.
    2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
    3. Deepen our knowledge.
    4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
    5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
    6. Inform us more about our values.
    7. Teach us more about others.
    8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
    9. Show us when someone else has changed.
    10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
    11. Remind us of our humanity.
    12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
    13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
    14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
    15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
    16. Invite us to better choices.
    17. Can teach us how to experiment.
    18. Can reveal a new insight.
    19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
    20. Can serve as a warning.
    21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
    22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
    23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
    24. Remind us how we are like others.
    25. Make us more humble.
    26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
    27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
    28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
    29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
    30. Expose our true feelings.
    31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
    32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
    33. Point us in a more creative direction.
    34. Show us when we are not listening.
    35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
    36. Can create distance with someone else.
    37. Slow us down when we need to.
    38. Can hasten change.
    39. Reveal our blind spots.
    40. Are the invisible made visible.

    Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

    The secret to handling mistakes is to:

    • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
    • Have an experimental mindset.
    • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

    When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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    When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

    It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

    When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

    Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

    Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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    Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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