Reminders for reminders

Today I stopped at a hardware store to pick up a few parts for a project at work. As I was driving home, I realized that I’d forgotten to buy something for home. What made this especially annoying is that I have a Hardware shopping list in Reminders and what I was supposed to buy for home was on that list. In fact, it’s been on that list for a couple of weeks.

The problem is that each time I’ve been at a hardware store recently it’s been like today, where I have a specific work project in mind but don’t have a list of items to buy for it.1 As a result, I don’t look at my phone while I’m in the store and forget to buy the things I carefully and responsibly put on the list.

I could, of course, assign a location to the items I put on my hardware shopping list, but there are two obstacles to this:

  1. It’s a pain in the ass.
  2. There are several hardware stores near my home and office, and I don’t play favorites. Reminders allows only one location per list item.2

So what I did after today’s debacle was make a special Stores list that contains nothing but location-based reminders to tell me to look at my shopping lists.

Reminders for reminders

Four hardware stores, four grocery stores. These reminders, which I will never mark as completed, should alert me when I drive into a store’s parking lot. With luck, I won’t forget about the list by the time I get into the store.

  1. I often have to cobble up little devices to help me run tests at work. I know the function the device is supposed to perform, but I don’t know how I’m going to make it until I see what’s available. I basically design the part while walking up and down the aisles of the store. This is pretty common among people who need to build something out of the ordinary. 

  2. Is OmniFocus more flexible than this? If so, I don’t care. I own OmniFocus and have used it enough to know it isn’t for me. As with Vim for text editing, I appreciate OmniFocus’s power, and I admire those who use it well. But I know I’ll never be one of them.