Create Better Mental Reminders by Using Visual Cues

When it comes to most daily tasks, a to-do list or app will help you remember everything. For other, less-urgent tasks that don’t make it on your list, however, a recent study suggests some solid visual cues will help you out quite a bit.

The study, led by Todd Rogers of Harvard Kennedy School, and published in the journal Psychological Science, recommends an approach called “reminders by association.” Basically, if you pair your tasks with a visual cue, you’ll be more likely to remember it. For example, in one of their tests, participants were given coupons to a coffee shop and told to keep an eye out for a specific toy at the counter that would remind them to use the coupon. Compared to the control group who were just given coupons, more participants in the toy group remembered to actually use them.