I was texting my friend Alex last week when she mentioned celebrating her birthday, which had been a couple of weeks prior. She was on a social media hiatus for Lent so there was no posting on the actual day, and despite having made a mental note to reach out on her DOB, I completely spaced when the day came around. As someone who takes pride in remembering and enjoys celebrating special days, I was really frustrated with myself for dropping the ball, especially since making that “mental note”–aka a non-existent note when life is even marginally busy–had failed me. Alex was obviously the sweetest about it, but it prompted me to immediately do something I’d been intending to do for months–create a better system for remembering birthdays.
Is it just people I know personally, or do many people seem to use Facebook less these days? I hardly spend much time on it at all (especially since the ~algorithm~ does a decent job putting big highlights at the top), but the downside of that is missing people’s birthdays; the little list on the right side of the home screen has always one of my favorite features in the app. Between logging on less and more people deleting their accounts by the day, that form of a reminder is pretty much no more. So I came up with my own way to remember these special days–it’s so simple, that maybe you already do it, too?
My solution is to have a designated “Birthday” calendar in my iCal, which syncs to Google Calendar. Each calendar in my iCal/Google Cal is color coded, and I just make each person’s birthday an “all day event” (so it shows up prominently, rather than as a bullet action item for the day) with a reminder alert set for 9am the day-of. The event also gets set to repeat “yearly.”
I use the desktop calendar version on my laptop (the one that’s in the dock at the bottom) and pull up the web version in a tab when I’m at work. Since the “Birthday” calendar is separate from my others–which are Apple’s generic “Holiday” one, a shared one with J, and a personal one–I just leave the little box unchecked so the events (birthdays) don’t clutter my calendar on the day-to-day. It’s easy to check off the box to bring them into view, and the 9am day-of alerts still pop up on my phone and laptop whether or not the events are actively being viewed. Ironically, I’m using Facebook to add everyone’s birthdays to the calendar…it’s a work in progress, but it’s well worth the time–especially since it’s also done for future years.
That’s it–so simple, right? It’s already made a big difference, and I know it’ll help be more consistent about getting cards in the mail, too. And of course, I’d love to know if you have a way to remember people’s birthdays…hopefully we can all take away some tips from each other to make sure “Happy Belated!” texts are no more :)
Image via A Happy Food Dance