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Since I started using on my phone, I've been a lot better at getting all of my thoughts recorded, so any tasks I need to do get written down. The only exception is the shower, which I will soon rectify by either getting a waterproof notebook or a dry erase marker.

Despite this huge level of progress in terms of recording everything I need to do, I still stress out that I'm forgetting something that needs to be done, or that I should be doing something else. I'm sorry if this seems like a rather vague question, but has anybody had any experience with this or have any suggestions? I just realized this was happening the other day in the store, and now it's starting to get frustrating since I know that I shouldn't be stressing so much. I know that I have everything written down, and as long as I'm processing all of my tasks, everything should be fine.

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Chances are that you don't have everything written down. Try and meditate.. i.e. sit down and do nothing. It may come to you. – Muz Jan 11 '13 at 9:32
How long have you been using your system for? – jontyc Jan 11 '13 at 9:36
I've been using for at least a few months. Other parts of my system aren't so set in stone, but the collect and process part for things that pop into my head pretty good. I'm currently trying to solidify how I'm keeping track of classwork, but it's the first week of the semester, so that's expected. – Tortilaman Jan 11 '13 at 9:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I know that with all the things I manage, both in and out of work, some things may get missed. To stay relaxed about this I just ask the simple question:

What is the worst thing that will happen?

As I work mainly in Information and IT, the worst is likely to be that a particular project may be slightly delayed or cost a little more. Not ideal, but hardly the end of the world - especially when I compare with surgeons, nurses and people who have lives depending on them!

Ask yourself that question and get some context/reference pointers - will it be the end of the world, or will it just be be embarrassing.

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Only when you get full trust that your system is reliable, that you've recorded everything important and as Rory says, "What's the worst thing that will happen [if you forget]" will you then lose the stress of feeling you've forgotten something. I went through that stage.

Now I find that if I don't record some task I have to get done, there is nearly 100% chance it won't get done as I just never get that nagging feeling anymore to think is there something I've forgotten. That's fine for me, as anything important to me always gets recorded, but it can be a bit annoying for others whose task was important to them but not enough to me to ensure it was recorded.

Systems like GTD are a double-edge sword--they also make you hopeless at remembering anything not recorded.

One example of stress and trust in your system that I went through:

Late Sunday night I would put the trash cans out for collection around 6am the next morning (it had to be late so I could sneak excess rubbish into the neighbour's bins).

So 10pm I'd have an email arrive to me telling me to put the bins out. It worked well for a long time and I never missed it. I never gave a moment's thought about the bins.

Until I started to finish work earlier and might not see the email. I found myself waking up in a panic any morning I heard a loud truck go past, frantically calculating what day it was.

Only when I changed the system to a phone reminder which never got missed did I eventually regain trust in my system and no longer wake up in a panic.

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Wow. I mean, yeah, that's a good process and example, but whatever happened to using your mind? – thursdaysgeek Jan 11 '13 at 23:39
That reminds me of all my friends with cell phones who can no longer remember any phone numbers. Or am I wasting brain room by remembering phone numbers and when to take out the garbage, when I should be using it for more important things? – thursdaysgeek Jan 11 '13 at 23:42
I doubt brain room is in limited supply. If you never get that stress the OP is talking about when wondering if you've forgotten something, then your memory can be relied upon. I can't rely upon mine. – jontyc Jan 12 '13 at 2:43

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