by Bruce Blander
I don’t know about you, but I like to keep busy. And when I’m not out and about, my thoughts tend to be all over the place.
Topping it off, my memory isn’t what it used to be! So trying to get things accomplished was tough. Especially when it came to remembering my Feldenkrais goals, the most important ones needing my attention.
The question became:
How could I trigger my awareness to help focus on what I wanted to do each day?
When it came to Feldenkrais, I needed ways to help myself remember to move regularly, not sit too long, attend to my breathing, do my exercises, take time for myself and so much more. Essentially, to be more aware of my self. And that is what I have taught myself to do: The reminders have helped me to focus and stay on track.
But nowadays, I have another goal in mind: to wean myself off of some of these constant reminders (they can drive me nuts at times!) and begin to internalize many of the things I do on a regular basis.
But first things first. If you, like me, have trouble remembering and being frustrated when you don’t, here are some methods I have used to counter that.
Initially, and for years, I used to keep a simple, hand-written paper list of appointments, errands, and chores, etc. I kept it in a place that I would see often as I moved about. When I completed one thing I would cross it off my list and feel a sense of accomplishment. Lists certainly helped but I found them to be too limiting.
Next up were setting timers and alarms. Even appliances can have built-in timers as do most cell phones. The latter usually have a reminder app as a standard feature as well. Sadly at times, a timer would go off and I would have no idea what it was for! While these simple types of reminders had there place for me, I again wasn’t satisfied. That’s when I went searching for 3rd party phone and computer reminder apps that could ‘do it all’.
After much trial and disappointment, I ultimately settled on one I highly recommend called “Due.” This app is for phone and computer and offers a lot of flexibility. It has plenty of space to enter detailed descriptions of each reminder, the ability to snooze them, repeat certain ones every hour/day/week/month, and editing each as needed.
Due also lets you pick unique tones for each reminder or group of them and add them all to your calendar. To top it off, it’s easy and intuitive to use. Using this and other reminder apps has really kept me on top of the key things I want to attend to and get done.
But nowadays, my phone is chirping and dinging practically all day long. I’m discovering that it can be a real nuisance as well as a helper! If I’m busy doing something else that I don’t want to interrupt, I end up putting it off for a later time or date pretty regularly. It became clear that I was spending too much time with this app. At some point I wanted these activities I’m prompting myself to do to become automatic.
Did I still need to be reminded of things that are now part of my everyday routine?
I have gradually been deleting reminders from my app to see if, in fact, I can now do without many of them.
And guess what?
I continue to use it for scheduled appointments and the like, but I no longer need to be reminded to do all of the wonderful things The Feldenkrais Method teaches. More specifically, I now do my exercises around the same time every day. I have become much more aware of my breathing, how I sit, stand, walk, etc. I no longer need a reminder to keep moving, practice my lessons and deliberately take time to rest my mind/body. And the list continues to grow while my dependence on external reminders wanes.
Please don’t get me wrong. The use of external reminders is a great way to begin helping yourself attend to what tasks are on your plate each day.
Yet by striving to recall these things without the need for such reminders, I have discovered a number of positives. It helps with my memory recall, has caused less stress about fulfilling my goals at an exact time (and fussing with the app to make changes), and makes me more conscious of what I want to achieve.
If you want to improve your awareness in order to keep on top of your goals or forget to do things more often than you’d like, I encourage you to start somewhere. As a friend once joked, “Don’t forget to remember!”