Learn the steps to take to never forget a Birthday again. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind each and every day once you set this simple system up – so what are you waiting for?!
Let’s be honest with each other right now. Have you ever forgotten someones Birthday?
How did you feel when you found out? How did you find out? Nothing worse than seeing a Facebook alert pop up on your iPhone / android phone to show that special day is RIGHT NOW….
I don’t think theres anyone out there that has never forgotten a birthday (or other important date for that matter).
I know I have, and it was a horrible feeling for sure….
Sometimes though life happens. You get busy and end up distracted from the day to day stuff. Or maybe you just don’t have the right system in place.
Whatever the reason – it’s not good.
Not only is that really embarrassing for you when you do remember (do you send a belated card, just apologise, or just try not to mention it at all?…), but it can also be very hurtful for the person who’s been forgotten.
You don’t want them to feel that you don’t care.
Do you want to be the one who forgets?
I’d much rather be the one who can be relied on to remember, even when life gets busy.
Most of my friends comment on how I always remember birthdays.
It’s not anything really special that I do – it’s just that I truly believe that it’s worth making the effort to make those I love feel special on their special day.
It’s a priority for me.
But I’m far from perfect, and things can slide if not kept on top of. Yes, I’ve forgotten a couple of dates over my 40+ years (oh the shame…..) – but on the whole, I’ve learned how to ensure that I have the right present/card at the right time – ready and waiting.
So – I thought I’d share the method I use, and see if it helps you too.
Use a system that works for you
The first thing I did when I thought about a system for me is to think about what I already used and what could fit in well.
(This is the Assess part of The Adore Method – my own method of getting anything sorted out so it works better).
The most common ways of remembering Birthdays at that point was to get a Birthday Book, or add them to a wall calendar – which are fine methods for some people, but I knew that if I had to look somewhere else for birthdays then it would pretty much guarantee that a few dates would slip under the radar, and that wasn’t acceptable.
I didn’t want to rely on checking ANOTHER thing in my life – as that added an extra step and I’m all about making things easier not harder.
I really believe that adding to what you currently do is the fail safe way to get things done – and that thing that most people already use daily, is their diary.
I LOVE my diary – it’s used as my guide to life, and I write down EVERYTHING in it that I have to remember.
Even down to allocating travel time to appointments, and writing in the day before what I need to have got ready for it so there’s no last minute scramble.
So adding in birthdays and special dates to my diary felt like a no brainer.
That was the end goal – now it was just a matter of getting there, and working out a way to make it as simple and effective as possible.
The first thing to do was to know what the dates need to be added to the diary at all, and that’s where a list comes in!
Keeping a list, and updating it
I totally advocate having a master list of special dates somewhere in your home.
This is the place where everyones special dates are kept, and any specific information is also (i.e. year of birth, year of marriage etc… so you can remember special years).
I suggest your Home File (of course!) but a Birthday book or a non year specific wall calendar would work just as well as long as you always know where to find it (even an app if you like tech more!).
The special dates are listed by month, and therefore anyone in the house can see what’s what when necessary. I simply ensure that new dates are added when they happen (i.e. a birth), and then forget about that as it’s simply my backup.
It’s my backup because I keep my Home File and my diary totally separate, with personal stuff in my diary and home/family information in the home file – and I need to have the list in my diary also, because buying and sorting out cards and gifts is something that I am responsible for, and therefore it affects my personal time.
Within my diary area I have tabs for each month – as then it’s really easy to flip through to where I need to find, and I also have a bookmark for todays date so I can open it at the right page every time.
The tabs are helpful – but are in essence a waste of paper that could actually be utilised in a much more savvy way.
So, why not get the most out of them by adding in the important dates for each month on each monthly tab? Make them my Birthday reminder page(s)!
That way I have them to hand when I’m out with my diary, but there’s a backup copy in the home file safe at home.
Simple – but so effective.
I write mine onto those sheets – but equally you could just print off a second copy of your Home File Birthday pages and stick the relevant months on the right tabs.
The good news is that, because you’re writing on the monthly tabs, you only have to do this ONCE, as the tabs don’t change year on year, you just change the diary pages (just adding in any updates from the previous year of course).
So, I have a master list in my Home File, and a monthly list on my tabs in my diary, and the only time they get updated are when new events happen.
Yes, they DO take a small amount of time to set up – but this only has to happen once and then you’ve got a great record of what needs to be remembered each year.
I therefore have all the birthdays and events recorded, and a way to update them, but what about the all important remembering them?
It’s worth spending the time….
I worked out that, for me, writing all the names down on the dates in question each year was a worthwhile time expenditure if it meant that I never forgot a birthday.
I told you it was a simple system now, didn’t I!
Yes, it takes time – and could be thought of as a hassle – but – what about the alternative (forgetting)?
After all, you spend more time if you forget someones special day if you have to run around getting a present and paying for quick postage, and worrying about if you’ve offended them by forgetting etc…..
So – every year at the start of the year, I write the relevant names on the right dates in my diary. I do it – I don’t moan, I just do it – usually between Christmas and New year while watching a good programme on TV.
Actually – now I’ve been doing this for a few years, I can remember most of the dates off by heart, which helps with the remembering too!
It takes around 15 minutes – but then it’s there and is all the reminder I need.
Planning is key to success
Of course, it’s all very well looking and seeing that someones birthday is coming up – but what about ensuring they get a card/present etc… on the right day?
I always have a stash of cards, wrapping paper, brown parcel paper and tape ready, and a box of suitable presents – all of which are bought throughout the year when I am in certain shops or see things in the sale.
This way I save money and time, but get a gorgeous present for people (usually better than the budget would allow if I went out in non sale time – so everyones a winner!).
If I see something for someone in particular then I’ll simply label that present in the box and add a star to their name on their birthday in my diary so I know that I already have the present ready – which is a lovely feeling!
On a regular basis (usually monthly) I then check what’s coming up, work out what I have already and what I still need to get and how much time I need to allow for ordering things, and then this shopping gets added to my shopping list and done on my errands day with the knowledge that it’s being done in plenty of time for the special day.
Lastly, I add in on the relevant day (2-3 days in advance usually, on a day when I’m at the shops to save an extra trip) a TO DO in my diary to post things out.
NOTE – if you use an online diary such as Google Calendar, then this can be even easier to set up as you just add the birthdays as events, and then set a reminder alarm a few days in advance. Again this takes a little time to set up, but it’s a once and done thing because each event can be recurring each year.
And that’s the easy way to never forget a birthday again!
Step 1 – Ensure you have a master list of birthdays and other special dates that’s kept safe, and update when a new date happens. Keep it where anyone can access it (The Home File works well for this).
Step 2 – Take the time at the start of the year to write in your diary the right names on the right dates, and add in a reminder a few days before to post the present/card in time.
Step 3 – Look ahead each month to check what’s coming up and give yourself enough time to buy things (especially special presents that need more time and care buying). Get into the habit of picking great presents up in sales, and have a stash of cards and wrapping paper etc… to hand at home.
Spending the time to set the system up will be worth it as you won’t forget a birthday again!
There are no miracle cures for not forgetting a birthday, but putting in a little time up front can save loads of time and hassle over the year, so is really worth it – otherwise you’re just chasing your tail with that uncertain feeling of whether you have remembered or not – and who wants that?
Good luck – and I really hope this method works well for you in the same way it has for me.