Have you ever done something every day to the point that it becomes a mindless task? It could be locking the door or turning off the oven. They’re certainly important tasks, but they become so routine that it’s easy to forget if you did it or if you’re just remembering the last time you did it. You may know what we mean if you have to take a prescription medication at regular intervals. Whether it’s one pill every day or two every three days, it’s easy to get mixed up. With all the other things you have to do and think about each day, how can you easily remember to take your pills?

Save the Directions from Your Doctor

The first step to safely following your medication orders is to talk with your doctor and write their directions down, print them out, and/or save them for easy reference. In this way, you can know things like how often you should be taking a certain medication, which medicines you should never mix, and how many pills you can take at once. If you have any medicine-related questions, ask your doctor and make note of the answers!

For example, don’t forget to ask your doctor any questions, like:

  • “Should I take all my pills at one time?”
  • “Should I take them with food or on an empty stomach?”
  • “Would it be better to take them in the morning or before bed?”

These types of questions can help you decide on your medication routine. Once you’ve worked together to establish this, it’ll be much easier to figure out a way to make sure you take your pills each day. It may be helpful to make a note of these routine guidelines you developed with your doctor and save them somewhere you can reference if you need to. For example, you can save them on your fridge or on your pill box (more on that later), so you’ll easily see them. Alternatively, you could make a note on your phone (Apple or Android) or computer (Apple or Windows) so they’re saved digitally.

Get a Pill Box

A pill box or organizer can come in many shapes and sizes but, generally, is a small rectangular box with multiple compartments. Each compartment is connected to a specific day, usually labeled the days of the week.

These are inexpensive to buy and easy to use. At the beginning of each week, place the pills you’re supposed to take in each day’s compartments (the pills you take on Monday in the Monday space, Tuesday in the Tuesday space, etc.). They even have AM/PM pill organizers if you have time-specific medications.

Want to go a step further to ensure you’re taking the right pills on the right day? Try a smart pill box, which locks the compartments except the day you’re on. Not only can this help you take the right pills on the right day, but it can also keep grandkids or others from discovering and accidentally taking your medicine.

Use Your Calendar

A calendar is a great way to keep track of your medication and make sure you take it. On a physical calendar, you can simply write “Take Pills” or “Medication” on the days you’re supposed to take them, and then, cross it off once you’ve taken the drugs. Adding in this step of crossing off the note helps you keep track of when you’ve taken your pills and reminds you if you’ve forgotten.

If you have access to a computer or a smartphone, you will also have a calendar there. Using a digital calendar has the same advantages of a physical one and adds its own benefits. For example, when you create an event on your calendar, you also have the option to add an alarm or reminder that goes off at a specific time. If you have the calendar synched to your smartphone, you can also get the reminder there. Another benefit of making a digital calendar event is that you can make it recurring, so you don’t have to create a new event each week. Finally, within the event, you can leave a note for yourself with exactly which pills to take and how many or a reminder to refill your pill box. Below, you can see how to create an event and how to sync it with your smartphone.

Electronic Calendar Reminders

Google Calendar Apple Calendar Outlook Calendar
Make an Event Make an Event Make an Event
Sync with Phone Sync with iPhone or Android Sync with iPhone or Android

Other Tricks to Try

Each of these tips are fundamental for turning your pill taking into a routine. Once something becomes a regular part of your day, you’ll be less likely to forget it. Besides making a calendar or using a pill box, you can remind yourself further with these few extra tips.

  • Set your medicine somewhere you’ll see it when it’s time to take your pills.
    • Place them on your nightstand or your toothbrush if you take them at night.
    • Place your pills next to the refrigerator or at the table where you always sit if you have to take them with food.
  • Make sure they’re visible and convenient so you can’t miss your medicine.
  • Leave post-it notes where you’ll be sure to see them, reminding yourself to take your medications.
  • Ask a loved one, like your partner or your child, to hold you accountable.
    • It wouldn’t be fair to solely have them be responsible for you remembering, but if you’re struggling to remember with the other strategies, this one may be useful.

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If you’re taking a medication regularly, there’s a good reason for it. Your doctor prescribed it, so it’s important that you remember to take your medicine and take it correctly. Whether you’re setting up reminders or leaving yourself notes, you can ensure that you follow a medication plan drawn up with your doctor.