If you’re looking for an app to help you be more productive, you’re spoiled for choice.
But my favourite productivity app doesn’t have a fancy name or interface, it doesn’t cost a cent, and you don’t even have to download it. It’s the “Reminders” app that comes installed on your iPhone when you buy it.
As someone who will never, ever remember something if I don’t write it down somewhere, I started typing in groceries to be purchased and phone calls to be made a few years back. Until recently, I thought I was one among many. But a conversation with a coworker who loves lists — those are her words — but had never noticed the Reminders app made me think differently. I figure she probably did what I did with most of the default apps that came with my phone after realising they can’t be deleted: shuttled them into a folder, never to be seen or used again.
Sorry, Apple. It’s nothing personal.
It’s also worth mentioning that I’m miles from being considered a technophile or early adopter of any kind. I’m still clinging to my perfectly operational and conveniently sized iPhone 4S, downloading mostly the apps I can’t seem to avoid (Long Island Railroad schedule, I’m looking at you) or ignore any longer (hi, Instagram). Somehow, I still don’t have Snapchat or Facebook.
But that’s not the point. The point is that that Reminders is a great app, and everyone should know about it. Essentially, it’s a to-do list that reminds you when it’s time to do something (duh), without the complication of creating calendar events. No bells, no whistles. Just reminders.
Here’s what it looks like on my home screen. I have four reminders I need to address:
You set a reminder for the day and time you want your phone to notify you about whatever task you think you might forget:
And when that day and time arrives, you get a reminder:
You can then:
- ignore it, or
- reset the reminder for later, or, ideally,
- do the thing you needed reminding about and check it off. Very satisfying.
Because ultimately, while Reminders can keep you from forgetting about calling the bank or buying toothpaste, it can’t make you follow through. When you come across an app that can do that, well … it’s probably worth a download.
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