Monday, August 14, 2017

101 Ways To Live Better: Plan For The People You Love

Welcome to my 101 series, which explores 101 little things you can do to improve your day to day life, and the world, just a little bit.


I have nightmares about forgetting birthdays.

If there is a worse feeling than hurting a loved one because you forgot their special day, I don’t want to know what it is. Maybe you’re not great at keeping track of the date and you forget Christmas, Valentine’s Day and your Anniversary too. Maybe you don’t care about those things and you don’t think it’s a big deal.

However, it probably is a big deal to the people you love and if you love them, I know you wouldn’t want to be hurting them just because you’re forgetful. Particularly because once it’s done, it’s done and it’s very hard to undo.

I live out of my day planner, I have said it before. When I get a new day planner, usually in November or December some time, I put aside a few hours to go through and write in all the birthdays of the people who really matter to me, and any other important dates I need to remember, like close friend’s anniversaries. I never rely on facebook to remember people’s birthdays if I really care about them. Some of my friends don’t have their birthday listed on facebook and every year I am the only one who remembers to say happy birthday to them!

For the people I need to get special gifts for: my mother, my brothers, my best friends, etc, I put another reminder a week BEFORE their birthday. ‘Gift for X’s birthday.’ That way, I am reminded a week early and can go and shop for something really awesome.

It’s no good only having a reminder ON the day, particularly if you live with that person. Then it becomes obvious when you have to rush out and get them something!

If you don’t use a day planner, find another system. Your phone’s digital calendar might work. Or google planner. You may even want to find a system that lets you send emails on a set date and email yourself.

And remember, sometimes remembering a bad day is as important as remembering a good day. Don’t be like the ex-friend of mine who decided to read me the riot act on the first anniversary of my father’s death. If someone’s family member dies, make a note of it and give them a little extra care on that day. Few people will remember the exact date of tragic events, but you can bet they do.

Just a little effort in late December will make sure you have plenty of time all year to buy gifts, make reservations and send special messages to the people you love, to show them that they really do matter to you. That even though you are forgetful sometimes (and we all are), you care enough about them to make a note and remember when it matters.

If you want advice on how to shop for the perfect gift though, you’re going to have to wait for a future blog post!

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