How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Set Reminders?

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We’re all living and working in a fast-paced world and it’s easy to forget things on your to-do list (or forget the list altogether). How do you keep important tasks front and center?

This week we’re interested in hearing your best reminder-setting tips and tricks. Do you keep it analog and tape a big note to the front door? Use a specific app on your phone to pester you into getting important tasks done? Send email letters-to-myself style reminders?

Whatever technique you use to ensure the important things get noticed in a timely manner, we want to hear about it. Sound off in the comments with your reminder trick–don’t forget to include the name of the app, if you use one–and then check back on Friday for the What You Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/22/12

Comments (52)

  1. Citrus Rain

    I use my google calendar to make events I can reach from my phone or my work computer.

  2. r

    I tie a tiny string around my finger

  3. KB Prez

    I’m a very happy user of Calendarscope!

  4. starseeker

    I use email reminders.

  5. Rohugh

    Google Calendar to remind me both on comp and mobile when I need to do something.

  6. Philipp

    google calendar

  7. Braxx

    I dont remind myself of anything cause I forget to use anything ahahahaha

  8. OJMDC

    Sticky notes in the middle of my monitor and in my wallet. I’ve tried my phone apps but I typically disregard them.

  9. Tim Murphy

    Google calendar with email and alert reminders. If event requires preparation work thend I set multiple reminders.

    If simply reminder to get washing etc then simple timer on phone.

  10. Philip

    For simple reminders, Google Calendar. If it’s something I need to pop up in my face because it’s important (like taking my pill every night), i’ll schedule a task on my pc using task scheduler.

  11. Photon

    I use a second Google calendar for reminders. This keeps my primary calendar clean for events/meetings and also allows me to set separate alert standards for the reminders.

  12. Sherry

    I’ve been using Kana reminder for years.

  13. TheFu

    Tasks are very different from reminders for me.

    Meetings, trips, and deadlines are placed into a Zimbra calendar with reminders. This will annoy me at appropriate “before due” time(s) for the specific reminder. Sometimes 3 days or 1 day or 15 minutes before if I expect to be in the correct location already. Zimbra is like Gmail, GTalk, Gcal, G-storage, G-contracts … but it runs on your own server accessible from anywhere on the internet. It is an MS-Exchange replacement and F/LOSS.

    Tasks are usually for lower priority things. For most tasks, I use a GTD-based spreadsheet with different tabs for the @Contexts. I could put these into Zimbra too, but for me, the simplistic task management was not sufficient. Sorting based on priority, ownership, due date, and other criteria is critical to me. I’m almost 100% priority driven, since there are always 2-3x more tasks on the list than can possibly be completed. That spreadsheet can be PDF printed to a single sheet that folds up nicely to keep me on task for a few days away from the office.

    After having a smartphone stolen in a foreign country at the beginning of a multi-week trip, you quickly learn to not trust anything someone else wants enough to steal. Nobody cares about the paper with my GTD lists, contacts and different addresses when on travel. This wasn’t my first trip that I needed to live without a portable device, so I’ve always had paper as backup for critical knowledge, contacts and appointments when away from home more than a day.

    Having a smartphone stolen changes many other behaviors too. Think about all the data and access that your smartphone provides to anyone who gains access to it.

  14. stew23

    So, people would be much better off changing certain behaviors about the technology before their things gets stolen.

  15. sj

    I’m an old guy and have to take meds several times a day. I use a simple app called Life Reminder. It’s easy and stays in the notification bar until I’m ready to clear it.

  16. Cameochi

    I use the Outlook calendar and at work I put a sticky note on my wallet if it’s something I need to do at home. :-)

  17. Scott

    Google calendar, which syncs to my mobile phone and my desktop PC.

  18. RA

    I use the calender, which syncs with iOS.

  19. vtzete0

    For the most important meetings, I’ll set an alarm on my smartphone. Typically, I find alarms on phones are more noticeable than calendar reminders on phones .

  20. Richard R

    I use my cell phone calendar and Google calendar

  21. Nathan

    I set an alarm using the default android clock. I set it to silent and vibrate. I leave the note on the last input field when setting the alarm. I then out my phone in my pocket and will be reminded in time.

  22. bob

    i use ‘s calender for most things and i use a seperate alarm clock app to wake me up (keeps me from accidentally setting my phone on silent and it not waking me up where as the app ignores silent mode)

  23. astral_cyborg

    Cell phone Tasks, Calendar and Notes

    Google Calendar


  24. techandlife

    I use Stickies ( usually for short term reminders and use Events in Rainlendar desktop calendar for repeat and longer term reminders.

  25. Harry Poland

    Right. There’s thing called paper, and a high tech pencil. Write. Leave somewhere obvious. Job done.

  26. Ashiq

    I use Outlook… Am I so outdated ???

  27. Alvaro

    I use

  28. TWRuble14

    Google calendar synced to Outlook and Android and a .txt file in SkyDrive.

  29. sisbill1

    I use which is free and sends me an email reminder; it also sends a copy to your addressee

  30. Ahmed Salem

    Evernote is good solution to share your notes in Desktop / Mobile/ Web

  31. Al Bowman

    Sticky Notes on my computer screen, and a printed version on my refrigerator.

  32. StevenTorrey

    I use Yahoo calendar–like that it gives 24 hour prior notice or 3 hour prior notice. Also a sticky note on the screen helps…

  33. MD Minhazul Haque


  34. Bruce Kaufman

    I use the Aeris Calendar.

  35. rbrtsmrvll6

    I use my Yahoo calendar

  36. BigBird

    I use an old DOS program, very small, that runs from STARTUP at Boot. It is no longer listed by Google. It is called WILSTAR Reminder. I have uploaded it as a ZIP file to DropBox and will leave it there for a few days. It is excellent and has served me for well over 20 years now. Highly recommended.
    Here the link:

  37. Luis

    I use Memo To Me

  38. TechGeek01

    Typically, I use Windows 8’s virtual sticky notes. I have two monitors. I work on both, but my icons are mostly on one, which leaves plenty of room for lots of virtual sticky notes. Plus, I can color code them as well in order to group them together as parts of a certain project, or by urgency.

    Occasionally, I’ll also use Google Calendar as well, but very rarely.

    Or, if it’s really urgent, or I have to do it soon (something that needs to be done today, for example), I’ll set an alarm on my phone for it.

  39. Kevalin

    I use VueMinder Lite. It’s a nice calender program that gives me the choice of putting either a regular pop-up message on my desktop or a desktop alert (which pops up above the corner icons on the win7 desktop). It also let’s me add notification sounds from Windows, or a Wav file, or you can activate what it calls a “voice reminder.” It’s a really nice desktop program with a number of useful options.

    Then, for when I’m out and about with my Android phone or Tablet, I use Alarm Clock Plus or the stock Calender (because I’ve yet to find a calendar program I like better, which is truly tragic, considering Android’s stock calendar).

  40. Betty

    I used the Tasks in Outlook. And it’s really annoying when it reminds me over and over, and over, and over…

  41. Brian

    Check out Alarm++ at 12noonDOTcom. Fantastically powerful and flrexible rreminder and alarm rpogram. Been using it for years.

  42. jackblue

    “Event date” as the name of a Notepad text file and put on my desktop.

  43. Shashibhushan

    I have set reminders in Google calendar and set SMS as mode of reminder/notification. I have scheduled all monthly bill payments on the nearest Saturday after the bill is generated. This saves me from distraction throughout the week but makes sure I don’t miss anything.

  44. Mel

    Usually I put my appointment and reminders into Outlook Calendar or I’ll send myself an email if it’s something I need to do after work. If it’s a hectic day, I include a post-it-note onto my purse as an added reminder.

    Otherwise, I just make a simple “to-do” list and keep it in my purse.

  45. H S Hunter

    Try Remind Me Please for setting reminders of birthdays, recycling trash day, future appointments, etc. It is very adjustable and simple to use and can give variable warning for weekly, monthly and yearly events. It works on any PC

  46. Carlo

    I rarely bother with reminders as I they’re pretty useless for me. When I’m at work, I’m generally pretty organised and on top of things, and at home, shopping, activities for my kids, birthdays etc, you can’t really forget much of that? If you need to set a reminder for somebody’s birthday, are they really that important in your life? Probably not, everyone knows their parents, kids, close friends’ birthdays, outside of that i couldn’t care less lol.

    I only use alarms on my iPhone to get me up in the morning, and that’s it really.

  47. Eyal

    Hey you people !
    It seems no one has heard about “” ???
    Give it a try, especially with the instructions given out by Michael Lineberger – look him up on google and on Amazon,,

  48. ruudster101

    I use…..Works with email…

  49. Akoolo

    i use google calendar
    problem i have to open the mail to see the reminders

  50. Leo

    Depending on my (physical) state of mind I tie a knot in my handkerchief or tie…

  51. Amndeep

    For shorter term tasks, I write a note using the default notes apps on either my computer or my phone. If it is something that I want a reminder of in a few days/long time, I send an e-mail to myself through

  52. NJohn

    I have to put all work meetings on my smartphone because Outlook is worthless when it comes to reminding you of meetings. If you happen to be out of the office when the reminder comes up and you don’t hear the beep it will never beep again. A smartphone will nag you until you acknowledge it. Maybe someone should invent a smartoutlook!

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