Celebrate Good Times! Tips For Remembering Birthdays & Anniversaries

It is a Tuesday and you are talking to your sister on the phone when suddenly it hits you like a brick: yesterday was her birthday and you forgot it again!

Yikes, how did that happen? Well, your daughter did have the flu, your boss dumped that big project on you at the last minute, and parent-teacher conferences certainly threw a wrench in your schedule! But those are just excuses. Rather than try to apologize after the fact, set in place a simple to implement and simple to maintain system that will help you keep track of the birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates for the special people in your life.

Sarah on ‘Getting Started’

‘Even though you know you will be smiling ear-to-ear once you have your list compiled, gathering the important dates for your friends and family can seem like a daunting challenge. To overcome the organizational inertia, I like to jump in and do something, even if it’s just a fraction of what I need to get done. A great first step is to start a list — ideally in your to-do notebook so you won’t lose it and you can easily come back to it. Start by writing down all of those dates you know by heart. In less than five minutes, you should have a good list going, which means you’re on your way!’

Alicia on ‘Collecting the Information’

‘Once you’ve got the ball rolling, the next trick is to get others to help you expand the list. Email or call those important people in your life that you would like to remember on their birthdays and anniversaries. When I made my master list, I usually remembered to ask my friends about their important dates — why — because I love birthdays! If you’re more apt to forget, try being systematic and send five people each night a short simple email. Before you know it you will have a complete list of all of your important dates.’

Collecting the information is one thing, but remembering to observe them is another!

Here are two easy ways to remember to celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries of the people you love.

#1: Create a Master Birthday Calendar
Whether your main calendar is in a Palm Pilot, an email program like Outlook, or on paper, it should be easy to keep track of birthdays. Grab your list, and spend 15 minutes a day (if that) and put all the birthdays in your calendar for one month. In two weeks, you’ll have a master calendar completed.

If you’re likely to send a card or buy a gift for the person, jot down a note like what gift you got them last year or what size they take in clothing — right in the calendar entry. If you don’t happen to keep a master calendar (is that even possible?), buy a birthday book or make a binder of your own. Make sure there’s a page for each day of the year — and simply transcribe your list, along with any notes, into the binder.

#2: Remind Me…Remind Me and Then Remind Me Again!
It’s easy to set up reminders in this digital age. If you’re using an electronic calendar, set alarms a few days ahead, so you can get a card out in time. Or make an ‘appointment’ to call the person at 9am on their big day. If you don’t have time to set your own alarms, sign up for a web based greeting service like American Greetings (www.americangreetings.com). Enter in your important dates and a reminder email is sent to you a week ahead of a date to remind you it is coming up. Also, once the dates are entered in, a reminder is sent to you each year.