If you’re bad at remembering things, whether that’s birthdays, deadlines, names, and so on, you’re lucky to live in a time where that shortcoming doesn’t even matter. Every mobile device these days has an extra memory repository you can use to your advantage, and it comes in a very simple form: the reminder app.
It’s a pretty straightforward app, right up there with the calculator when it comes to basic preloaded functionality on your phone. You write yourself a note, you set a time to be alerted with that note, and that’s it. What’s actually crazy about it is how much it affects your life the more you use it.
Whether it’s a one-off reminder (“dentist appointment”), a weekly recurring alert (“call mom”), or even a self-edited kick in the ass to do something you’ve been putting off (“fucking clean your sheets already”), every time you use your reminder app, you’re simultaneously relieving your current self while doing your future self a huge favor. Used enough, the app becomes an extension of your memory—stuff that you just can’t cram into an already frantic mind gets sent into orbit, coming back around to smack you in the head at a time when you have an opening for it.
Used in moderation, reminder apps can be the difference between something like a healthy relationship and an ugly breakup. Remembering things is very important to people, and the people they care about. But what about becoming dependent on these kinds of apps to give you any hope of staying on your game? Having your smartphone systematically prompt you about crucial milestones, tasks, ideas, and more is potentially life-saving, but it also eliminates human error in a slightly unnerving way. Do we really want to replace the faults and mistakes that make us human with automated, flawless success? Sounds cool on paper screens, but it’s also a small, isolated preview of life post-singularity. Beware the rise of the machines.
The growth of smartphones has definitely made us “smarter” as a whole, but the argument could be made that we’re actually getting stupider as a result of this kind of dependence on our devices. What’s the appropriate level of necessity we’re supposed to assign to the phones, tablets, and more that literally make us superhuman? Granted, any advancement in technology makes life easier in some way. At its most basic form, that’s why it’s called technology—can you imagine life before the fork?
Don’t. That’s shitty to think about. It’s just that rendering our natural instincts irrelevant is a bigger deal than we realize. Not because the grid is necessarily doomed to go down, or because all forks are soon to be wiped from the Earth, but simply because it makes us less and less valuable/sharp by our own right.
However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid using something as blatantly convenient as a reminder app. It’s just smart to monitor how you use it—are you literally setting reminders to remind yourself to remember you have zero fresh underwear, or are you playing the perfect balance between alleviating your current stresses and setting your future self up for success?
It’s all about that relationship—keep future you happy and successful, but not to the extent that it prevents him/her from knowing how to effectively get food from plate to mouth.