The Best Tech to Help You Remember Things and Stay Organized

All the productivity hacks in the world won’t help you get things done if you can’t remember what you have to do. I say this as someone who has a million things to do every day, but wakes up with the fresh brain of an infant each morning, relying heavily on hasty to-do lists I jammed into my notes app the night before for guidance on what, precisely, I’m supposed to do. Here’s where tech can give you some major benefits. Check out these products that help you remember things and stay organized. 

Remembering things around the house

First, let’s just talk about smart home devices. My mother has no less than nine (perhaps now 10) Amazon Echo devices throughout my childhood home and they help her do everything, including turning lights on and off, unlocking her door, raising her blinds, and turning on her coffee pot. Those are the standard functions we all love, but the powerful reminders feature is used less frequently. You can program a smart device like the Echo Dot to audibly remind you when it’s time to take a medication, pick up the kids from soccer, or follow up on an important email. When you’re using a productivity system like timeboxing, setting your smart home device to announce when it’s time to switch to a new task can be game-changing, since it doesn’t require you to look at your phone or keep checking a timer. 

Another crafty piece of tech for the house is a digital picture frame, like this one from Maezoe ($71.99 on Amazon). If you’re always forgetting how to work your way-too-complicated TV remote or some kitchen gadget, try writing down the instructions and keeping them as a photo option in the frame nearby. When you need the reminder of how something works, pull up the instructions. When you don’t, display a nice pic of the family. 

Speaking of medications, if you’re on quite a few of them, try a smart pill dispenser, like this one from Betife ($65.99 on Amazon). It has 28 compartments for a month’s worth of pills and you use a phone app to tell it when to remind you to take them. You get notifications and alarms and can set them to go off up to six times a day. 

If you need to be reminded to do something specific when you enter or leave a room, like put your keys on a hook or turn off a hair appliance, try the Waytronic PIR motion sensor ($40.85 on Amazon), which will play pre-recorded audio when it senses your presence. This nonintrusive step is great for habit-building.

Bonus: Smart sticky notes are coming. Rocketbook, which I’ve recommended for its smart notebooks repeatedly, is launching reusable sticky notes. Not only are these erasable and reusable, but you can scan them like you’d scan any Rocketbook product to import the content into your phone, so you can track what you need reminders of most often. They’re due out next month. (I’ll update this post when they’re available for purchase.)

Apps for to-do lists and remembering other stuff

You don’t always need a whole device to enhance your memory when you already have a powerful one in your pocket. Phone apps can be really beneficial for reminding you of things you need to do. Try these:

  • Medisafe is a free app that monitors medication timing and dosage, sending reminders when it’s time to pop a pill.

  • If you struggle to remember all your passwords (and don’t we all), try LastPass, You just have to remember one master password and the app will take care of remembering the rest. It’s free, but $3 a month will enable you to use it across multiple devices and get emergency access. 

  • Any.do is an app that will remind you of what you need to do, like create a grocery list, send an email, or pick up a product, then allow you to do it all right within the app so you don’t get sidetracked. Tasks and lists, reminders, and planner options are all available for free, but $5 a month gets you recurring tasks, reminders sent to WhatsApp, location-based reminders, and more AI-powered features.

  • Todoist works across your desktop and mobile devices to help you create projects, turn them into smaller tasks, and set deadlines—which you get reminders for. You get five projects on the free plan and can integrate email, calendar, and more, but for $4 per month you get 300 personal projects, task reminders, and an AI assistant.

  • Remember the Milk works with you to find the best reminder scheme for your needs. You create your to-do list in the app, then set it to give you reminders by email, Google Hangout, Skype, text, or even Twitter. All the basic functions are free, but $49.99 per year gets you the option to break down tasks into smaller ones and to color-code your lists. 

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