One of the worst feelings in the world occurs when you suddenly realize that you forgot to do something that you promised somebody you would do. It’s even worse when it’s the other person doing the reminding.
How can you prevent commitments from slipping through the cracks? A great start is to write everything down.
I’m not talking about jotting stuff down on little scraps of paper. I’m talking about something a little more formal — such as a little notebook in which you write down your commitments as you make them.
Some people prefer electronics to paper. Adding a commitment to your handheld is fine — but only if you are in the habit of checking it your list frequently. Handheld devices have so many functions, and you are unlikely to keep your commitment list front and center.
The great thing about a notebook is that it doesn’t become something else. Every time you look at it, it’s still a notebook!
I have been a Franklin Planner user for 19 years. My little book includes my calendar, my prioritized to-do list, and any notes I have jotted down during the day during conversations. As soon as I say okay to something, I put it down on my to-do list. If I know it won’t get to it that day, I write it on tomorrow’s to-do list. Then I can stop thinking about it because I am secure in the knowledge that it will not fall through the cracks.
I do the same when I’m processing my e-mail. If I can’t give an immediate reply because further work or research is required on my end, I’ll put that on my to-do list.
So give yourself a break and stop relying on your memory. You’ll sleep better at night — and enhance your reputation with your colleagues, family, and friends — if you consistently write down your commitments.