3 Tricks To Help Your Car Into A Memory Device

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Photo by Mikael Miettinen

I don’t know that I have a terrible memory, but I do know that I need prompts and reminders if I am going to do things out of my normal realm of action. I have found three ways to turn my car into a memory device to help me remember to do these things.

Toys On The Dashboard

My car doesn’t need gas very often – about once a month. While the car itself will ping me to remind me to put fuel in, it is easy to ignore – because I can still drive another 40 or so miles after that warning. I toss a couple of toys on the dashboard when I know that I have to put fuel in. When I get into the car, my mind asks, “Why are there toys on the dashboard?” and I know that my first stop should be the gas station.

Bags On The Driver’s Seat

If I need to run an errand that requires a physical object to be moved, such as returning library books, mailing a package, or dropping off paperwork for Girl Scouts, I put those items in a bag on my driver’s seat. (I tried leaving them in front of the door I leave with, and I would simply step over the items.)

This applies even if I have to pick up something. I may put the empty library book bag in the car, or one of the numerous other tote bags that I use to have my activity information ready to go. I may even use an empty shopping bag from a store to remind me I have to stop there.

By having the bags on my seat (and then I shift them to the passenger seat) I am reminded of all the places I must stop during the trip.

Stickies On The Steering Wheel

For items that I don’t have a bag for, or where no physical object will be moved, I rely on sticky notes. I write out what needs to be done and put them on the steering wheel. When I get in to the car, I see the notes and I am reminded that I have another errand to complete. I make sure the stickies are not in the way of driving, because I do not move them until the item has been completed.

Do you have ways that you use your car to help you remember to do things? Share below.

Photo by Mikael Miettinen



    • LJ Earnest says

      The only problem is that if you ignore them long enough they get un-sticky and end up on the floor. I think I remember seeing super-sticky notes somewhere?

      And of course, you should never put something on the steering wheel that interferes with your driving (felt I had to put the disclaimer in) :)

  1. Damian Castillo says

    The only reminder I need from my car is to drive it. I use technology, iPhone apps and Web Apps to keep my GTD system in check and I never forget anything.

    I love my car and how it looks too much to use it in this way. When you step into my car, you would think it’s brand new because I have it spotless with zero clutter.

    Just saying :-)

  2. LJ Earnest says

    @Damian: I’m glad to know someone out there has a good memory! Once I’m in my car, my iPod and phone are shut off, so I forget things I might need to do. But I will be the first to admit my memory leaks like a sieve.

    I am curious, though. When you notice you need gas, do you put an entry in your GTD system? Or do you rely on your car to tell you? Or your memory?

    I admire people who have spotless cars. As much as I try, even without my tote bags, and a ban on eating in the car, my back seat looks like I have a pre-teen. Which I do. I swear kids carry pockets of crumbs that they dump out at random.