visual cuesUsing visual cues as reminders to do things is a great productivity hack.  On a related note, it’s a great way to create a routine, and also to reach a goal.

We all have a lot of things to do on a daily basis and remembering to do them can be challenging. However, when we get into the habit of performing repetitive tasks such as in a routine, after some time, the routine becomes habit and we don’t even think about the actions involved.

In the case of creating a routine, visual cues come in handy as a reminder to perform the steps in the routine. When you post the routine in the location where you will take the action steps, it becomes the visual cue.

Many of us use to-do lists as reminders to perform tasks, and that is a good productivity tool. I don’t know where I would be without mine.  There are however, some tasks on my list that don’t get done for a lot of different reasons.  When I use visual cues, they are more likely to get done instead of pushed further down the list.

There have been studies on using visual cues as reminders, and one study suggests an approach called ‘reminders through association’.  The idea is to help us remember to perform a task that is associated with an object that will capture our attention.  Brightly colored sticky notes are a good example as shown below with others that I have used in the past.

  • Put returns by the door to remember to return them
  • Put the dogs grooming bag out to remember to groom the dog
  • Put a letter that needs to be mailed near the door
  • Put a brightly colored sticky note on the dryer to remember to clean out the filter

Visual cues work well as reminders as shown above.  They also work well to achieve goals both personally and professionally as explained in this interesting article in The Monk Life.

This concept uses everyday objects placed in a strategic location to capture your attention at the right time.  There is an action you take with the object as it relates to the goal. It also has a motivation factor built in to double as a reward with the action.

Consider using visual cues whenever you need to be reminded to get things done. It will increase your productivity and provide a sense of accomplishment. Try it out, I’m sure you will be glad you did!