Life Pro Tip: Plan To Forget

Cantor and I were proud to come up with this after too many failed instances of like “remind me to do XYZ when we get home” and such. The idea is that whenever you catch yourself intending to remember to do something, you plan to forget instead and do something that will actually prompt you to remember. Some examples so far:

  1. We’re leaving the house and Cantor says “I need to water my garden. I’ll do that when we get back.” I asked him how he could plan to forget to do that and he tucked his hair into the back of his hat so that it would fall out when he got home and remind him. It worked!

  2. “Remember to bring Faire’s chocolate when we pick her up.” Plan to forget: put the chocolate on the car key.

  3. “Remember to mail letter at train station.” Plan to forget: move watch to other hand. Worked like a charm (and intending to remember clearly would’ve failed).

It may all be pretty obvious but has been useful to have a concept handle for. Now in our house whenever we hear each other say something like “remember to…” we tend to respond with “got a plan to forget?” and we make one and then we don’t. Forget, I mean. It’s great.

PS: This is similar to and other than that connection I’m not sure what my excuse for putting this in the Beeminder forum is other than that I was reminded of it when reading @shanaqui’s journal in the Life category.

PPS: This is also similar to trigger-action plans. Any action you intend to take always should have a specific trigger.


Oh that is a very familiar struggle, indeed, thanks for sharing!

This post reminds me of:

I adopted its 5 second rule which says if you don’t act within 5 seconds you will forget about it. So what I do is I grab my phone and tell it to remind me of the thing. ASAP.
For the examples you mentioned I would toggle Siri and tell it to “remind me at home” and then “Water the garden”. Or to “remind me at work” to “send over proof of my student status”. And so far these location based reminders have triggered 100% of the time.

For things that are not tied to a physical location I either tell it a moment in time or a date. And because I have a lot of those I sometimes miss them. Not that they don’t trigger, they do, but I am pretty good at ignoring those. For that reason I have an accompanying beeminder goal that makes me revisit all reminders once a week.

All in all, I trust Apple’s reminders app and I’ve been doing this exact thing for months now and for me this works really well.

In other news: I am not quite sold on the “plan to forget” wording. Maybe it’s my non native speaker-y-ness talking but for me it’s not doing it. I dunno, it’s more confusing than cute, I think. But you do you :slight_smile:

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