Why Write ‘Remember to…’ In Reminder Notes?

Do you assign tasks to people? Task that say something like “Remember to do this and that”.

The funny thing is, that the note is already a reminder. There’s no need to write “Remember to”. If the note would say “Do this and that”, I think we’d have enough information to proceed.

I can’t figure out this. Why write “Remember to”?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Sargon, if you’re finding notes ineffective, try instead to think about what you’ll be doing when you want to do your un-rememberable task instead. If you think hard about (say) morning tea, and getting up to get a drink, and then the task you want to complete, then when you get up to have morning tea, you’ll instantly remember the other task. Just remember to do it before you get yuor drink!

  2. Because if you link the task to the word “remember” then when the person (away from the note, but having read it) thinks “now what was I supposed to remember?” the word “remember” triggers and they remember to do the task. I actually came here to post what Steven Egan had already said, but then I thought of another reason.

  3. I never wrote notes telling other people what to do. But I wrote allot of notes and reminders to myself.
    My biggest problem with notes is that after a while you get used to the notes and start to completly ignore them.
    For instance, if I write myself something important to do in big letters, I tend to ignore it even more than if I would write it in normal size and more organized.
    This applies to clock alarms as well, after a few weeks, you are getting used to the alarm and start ignoring it.
    So you need to think how to write the note in a way that the people who read it won’t automatically ignore it or forget about it very quickly after getting the same type of notes for a few weeks.

    Do you have tips to writting yourself notes?

  4. Okay, I guess I could have added “Remember to do this on January 15th at 12:00”.

    It could be: “do this on January 15th at 12:00”.

    Okay, it sounds bit commanding… maybe drop “do” part then… :)

  5. I can think of a few reasons people might do that. By stating it explicitly you change the subtleties of the message. Some people might respond better to the less authoritative sound of remember vs do. Some people prefer not to explicitly give orders. Telling somebody to remember to do something gives assumes that it will be done sometime later, while “do” does not. Then there are a ton of influences on personal speech patterns that can be in effect.

    Personally I prefer knowing when it needs to be done by, so I can adapt my plans accordingly.

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