Sometimes the simplest solutions are best.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a summer Friday and headed to Rhode Island. It was a nice trip. One of the highlights: My wife and I joined my aunt and uncle on their sailboat. 

I get to do this only once a year or so at most, and it's always a lot of fun. Every time I go, though, it seems my uncle has to start more or less from scratch telling me things I can do to help out.

Did I mention my uncle is a former Army drill sergeant? He's good at giving firm, efficient orders. He's polite about it, but he doesn't waste words. 

So as we were wrapping up a nice evening sail, he started telling me exactly what to do to help him quickly tie the boat to the buoy: Use this hook, grab that rope, string it below that line, tie it to this cleat.

"The last thing we do is this," he said, pulling out his iPhone and taking a quick picture of how I'd tied the line to the cleat. "This is so when you wake up at 2 a.m. wondering, 'Did I tie up the boat correctly?' you don't have to drive an hour back to the dock to find out."

Mind blown. 

I'm sorry. This is such a simple solution to so many everyday ordinary problems, especially if you have a lot of things on your mind.

I'm always forgetting things. Did I close the back door? Did I turn off the gas? Did I remember to lock the filing cabinet?

Now it turns out we've been walking around with the solution tucked neatly in our pockets the whole time. Just get in the habit, the routine, of shooting quick photos of the little things you have to remember to do.

It's not just limited to the physical world. In the couple weeks since I've picked up this habit, I've actually begun taking screen captures on my phone after paying bills, or responding to important work emails. 

For my uncle, he came up with the idea after a bitter experience. Let's just say that thing about driving to the dock in the middle of the night wasn't hypothetical.

But when you start doing it, it not only eases your mind. It means you create a personal photo diary on your phone, documenting all the mundane moments that actually make up a big part of your life.

I know this isn't exactly an earth-shattering technique. But that's kind of the point. It's an incredibly simple habit to get into. If it prevents just one middle-of-the-night trip to make sure you actually did that one thing you absolutely had to remember to do, it's worth it.

Published on: Jul 31, 2018
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