My Love-hate Relationship with Reminders

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”

— Michelle Obama

I am a planner. No guesses why, as plans give you a sense of certainty. A direction that you feel you can take when no one knows how to get somewhere. And so, I have a mental checklist of things that need to be addressed. Something that won’t happen until I make time and immerse myself in it completely.

But in the last few days, I have realised that reminders for me sometimes have an opposite effect. There I am adding reminders on my phone to help me get important stuff done. However, I also feel exhausted looking at the list, and I haven’t even started.

We all know how unpredictable days can be. We set out to do something, and the most unexpected things happen. Then when you’re finally done with the day and get down with the household chores and then look at your phone, you feel awful seeing the notifications that remind you of what you should have done today.

Can Your Mind and Body Keep Up with the Constant Reminders?

Technology is supposed to make our lives easy. It’s supposed to take care of tasks that we feel require time and effort. But what if the same technology forces you to think, gosh, it was better before.

You see, when new stuff enters our life, sure, it makes things easier, but I have begun to realise that it also adds more responsibility.

For instance, if I can get a lot more done thanks to new technology, what I fail to consider is how much my mind and body can do. Just getting more stuff done doesn’t mean that my mind, heart, and body will function at the same rate, and thus I need to look back and wonder how many things I should add to my reminder list.

Don’t get me wrong; I love technology and how we can reach one another in seconds and organise stuff. But what also bothers me is how it’s leading to a level of exhaustion.

You see, in the 90s, we used to send one another handwritten letters. There wasn’t something constantly nagging us. Now all utility bills are paid through one instant scan. Back then, we needed to set a weekend schedule to visit the electricity department and drop the cheque physically. So that required making time and travel and while coming home take care of other errands.

Therefore, there is only so much one can do, and that’s preparing the mind and body to function only for that duration. After this set of tasks, the mind and body can chit chat with friends, watch a game of cricket and enjoy a nice meal later with family.

But now, there is no definition of how much and for how long.

With time things change, and we must evolve. We need to work extra, stay on our toes and NEVER miss out on an item. This is why we set reminders and also invite high levels of anxiety and feelings of worthlessness.

So how do we get back to a place where tasks weren’t burdens. We wouldn’t feel anxious looking at the things we must get done and yet have some time to spare for our mental well-being?

Well, here is my list:

Dance it off — Sometimes, I tell myself to do hell with the list, and I listen to a song that gets my dancing shoes on. It relaxes my body and mind and sends a signal to my brain to take it easy. Eventually, I will get down to doing everything.

Bite only that much I can afford to chew — I have consciously decided to limit my tasks per day. There is only so much my mind and body can take, so I might as well reduce the number of items on my list.

Make a lovable to-do list — We make our to-do lists, so why not create one that we enjoy looking at. Why not add break time, rest time, music time, eat something nice time, call this person time, too within a day? A little bit of me-time hurt no one.

Maybe don’t set reminders — Sometimes, I don’t want to look at my phone, and thus I set no reminders. You see, tasks will never leave your back. Even if you forget, it will find a way to remind you. If there are days when we don’t want to see any notifications, so be it.

Prioritise yourself always! — We forget that we need to be in a happy place to get anything done. If we feel burnt out, nothing will get done. You know how when we take a break and then get back to doing things? We feel recharged, and most importantly, we have the energy to do anything and everything. Thus, we need to prioritise our well being and then everything will be magically taken care of.

So, this is my relationship with reminders. All of us have a different relationship with them. But since I was feeling this way, I thought maybe someone out there felt it too. And with me sharing my experience resonates with anyone else, I will know that I am not the only one who feels this way. That I am not the only one juggling with reminders and the ability to live.

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Also, do read this soul touching poem by Richard Steele.

Thanks so much for your time!



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Sujona Chatterjee

Sujona Chatterjee

Living life the only way I know how — one day at a time.