Post-it Notes, Alarm Clocks, string on your finger… These are just a few things that we use to remind ourselves of the important things that we need/want to accomplish. Natural reminders help you put your priorities in order and focus on what really matters to you. Natural reminders are only really useful if we see the value in the accomplishment that they remind us of. It is also important for a reminder to be positive (something we like) and visible. We often are required to do things that we dislike in order to achieve the things we really want. For example, who really loves to pay their bills? *Commence Silence.* Well, why do we do it then? I know that I pay my bills, because I enjoy having a roof over my head. I like having a place to put my bed, my computer, my purse collection and a place that I can spend time with my family and friends. I like to be comfortable in that place, so I am perfectly happy to pay for air conditioning and heat. For all these reasons, I remind myself that the unpleasant task of paying bills is valuable to me.
For reminders to be useful, we must see the value in the things they remind us to do. Reminders are more useful when they are actually enjoyable as well. This gives a positive outlook on even the most daunting of tasks. This is why we are constantly looking for new ringtones to wake up to, better post-it notes (pretty colors, fun shapes, digital, super sticky!) and pretty To Do List paper (or apps). The To Do List also has the positive connotation of checking things off the list which makes us all feel so accomplished (even if the item checked off is fairly mundane). Today, I checked off getting my oil changed in my car. Boy was that an exciting check for a boring but necessary task (I guess I value a car that actually works). Since it is better if we like the reminder, the old string on the finger trick is pretty much a lost practice. Not only do we forget what we were supposed to be reminded of, but the reminder itself is not exactly comfortable or enjoyable.
Finally, visibility. This one is pretty simple. If you can’t experience the reminder in some way (see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it) then it will not be noticed and will not remind you of anything.
I have two examples of non-traditional natural reminders that I have used to help me reach my goal to open my own business. The first is a sign that was painted many years ago on the brick walls in our building. Our apartment building is a renovated old warehouse. The rumor is that, many years ago, “Bait” and “Trap” signs were used when the building was a food storage facility for a processing plant. I suppose as a sign of where the rodent control was spread throughout the building. Now that the building is completely rodent free, I’ve set up my creative space right underneath that sign (see pic above). For me it is a reminder to do the thing I love (value) instead of wasting my time (no value). It’s my bait. I love the exposed brick and the history behind the sign so it is definitely positive and the fact that it is right on my wall sure meets the visibility requirements of a great reminder.
The second natural reminder that I made for myself is a necklace and earring set. The set is made with a string of Garnets and “New Jade” (which is actually a serpentine stone). The Garnet is said to be a great stone for new business ventures as it draws people to it. The “New Jade” has the tranquil effects of any jade but also the grounded, stick-to-itiveness of serpentine. I value these properties for my handcrafted jewelry design business. The positive is that I like pretty things and every time I LOOK into the mirror or FEEL the coolness of the stones against my skin, I am reminded to persevere.
Again, there are three important things that you need for a reminder to be great! First, it needs to remind you of something that you actually want or that you value. Second, the reminder itself needs to be positive and enjoyable to you. Third, you must be able to experience it in some natural and physical way.
What do you value? What would you like to achieve that you need a reminder for? What could you use as a positive reminder?