How do you remember things?

For the purpose of my own research I'm interested, how do you remember things?

For example, you work on 10 clients in a day, you might part complete 3 returns, send out 4 letters, deal with 2 calls.  The next day/week someone asks you about one of them, how do you remember what you did/where you are with them?

Do you have endless lists?  Are you able to retain all the needed information in your head?  Somewhere in between?

Comments
Old Greying Accountant's picture

Sorry ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... what was the question again ...!

Seriously though, I keep in my head (or not) and when I get more than half a dozen things or so then some fall out.

I occassionally write lists, but they become buried and lost on my desk.

Out-look is good for remembering appointments, before that I used to write them in my diary which I always forgot to look at (I didn't go to the dentist for ten years because I forgot an appointment and he was a bit of a tartar and I was too scared - so I had to wait until he retired!).

I am challenged with all the penalties these days so I am trying to move towards IRIS practice management which we have had for years but never really utilised.

 

ShirleyM's picture

We are 50% there!

ShirleyM | | Permalink

If you want to know what we did for which clients on a given day, we can't answer that! (We can for some things, but not all!).

If you want to know ...  what we did for a client, when we did it, who did it, and how long it took, we can answer that!

We have a central list of o/s jobs, which lists progress and who is working on it. We then have seperate task lists for each client which is updated each time we complete the next stage of a task.

I never ever rely on memory. If I don't write it down, or set a reminder, then it gets forgotten!

cathygrimmer's picture

To Do list!

cathygrimmer | | Permalink

I have a To Do list - and also use my Inbox as a secondary To Do list as I leave emails in there that need dealing with. The To Do list covers non-email work, deadlines, letters sent awaiting replies, when I reminded people of things and when I sent bills. To use your Inbox as a reminder though, you have to be ruthless at dealing with emails coming in - binning them or saving them elsewhere if they don't need a reply. If you have 200 emails in your Inbox (as many people I know do) you can't keep on top of what needs doing. I am ruthless - I often have a dozen or less emails in my Inbox!

With regard to what I've done, I generally remember it - even stuff I did years ago if it's technical work. I think all my memory is used for tax stuff - hence I forget to send birthday cards to my family/buy milk etc.

If I do a piece of work or a complex calculation which I think might come in useful again, I have technical files with different headings in Word into which I save a copy in case I can't remember which client I did it for - why reinvent the wheel?

On a slightly different memory issue, if I have to remember to physically do something (e.g. I have to get meat out of the freezer in the morning or give my kids something to take to school), I visualise it. It's amazing how well that works. Not much good for tax work though!

Cathy

Flash Gordon's picture

Outlook

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

I'm like Cathy - to do list in Outlook and I leave o/s emails (if I need to actually reply rather than create a new email) in the inbox. I currently just have one in there awaiting a reply & I should have dealt with it the first or second time I looked at it, particularly given that its from someone who irritates me so everytime I'm in outlook I get an internal whinge!

Memory like a sieve otherwise, though I agree with the visualising. All my emails are saved to client files so if I need to know where I am on something I can just find it quickly on the system. I did start a progress list in case I fell under a bus but I keep forgetting to update it!! Maybe that needs a weekly task on outlook??

Constantly Confused's picture

See the thing is...

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

... people march up to my desk and ask where we are with someone, then tut when I don't remember.  I will be starting a nice diary of what I did when and can refer to that and ignore the tuts, but I had a feeling my 'style' wasn't so unique and the average person doesn't remember everything they do (which is why we have pens, paper and Excel!).

I am a big fan of reminders on my PC.

Flash Gordon's picture

You should be a swan instead

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

Then you could run at them flapping your wings and being all threatening. A couple of episodes and you'd have no more demanding visitors - problem solved. No need for lists or reminders :)

johnjenkins's picture

If I can't remember

johnjenkins | | Permalink

I say to the client, sorry lots of water under the bridge give me a clue. Then as it comes flooding back I impress client with what I've achieved. Well that's the theory - sometimes it does work.

Steve Holloway's picture

Similar ...

Steve Holloway | | Permalink

I have a master client database in excel which records basic data e.g. year ends, annual return deadlines, last accounts completed etc. This I only review once a month to decide on a hit-list of key things to be achieved. Most of my communication is via email and the inbox is absolutely reserved for outstanding items and rarely exceeds half a dozen. I keep a physical in tray which again only has things in it that need action / are awaiting information ... this might include a note of a telephone conversation. Finally, I am strict as to what enters my office in terms of jobs. Jobs not started are kept elsewhere on a shelf in the order that they came in. The office only has jobs in progress in it and rarely exceeds 2 or 3.

PTP persoal tax software is very useful for managing tax returns as its File by Internet function only list those returns not already filed for the year so you always have a visual reminder of how far you have to go!

File center now enables me to save client emails on to their electronic file with all of the other correspondence and that is very useful.

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