Tracking very long term tasks

I recently got a tetanus booster shot. Boosters are required every 10 years, so I’d like someplace to track this that will bring it back to my attention in 2030. Problem is, 10 years is an awfully long time compared to the life-cycle of most apps. I’m not someone who flits from one task manager to another, but I figure there’s a good chance I might make a change in the course of a decade.

Paper is more permanent, obviously. The problem there is putting it somewhere that it will come to my attention 10 years from now. I will be honest and say I don’t have a system that’s anywhere near robust enough to trust over that time period.

I’m using vaccinations as an example here, but there are other similarly long-term tasks out there as well, like renewing a passport and taking a trip to see the 2024 solar eclipse. For now, I’ve got these in my regular task manager and I’m trusting myself to make sure they migrate over if I ever switch systems, but I don’t know if this is an entirely satisfactory solution.

Any great ideas?

Put it on your calendar. I do that for a routine test that is recommended every 5 years.

There doesn’t seem to be any reasonable limits on the Mac Calendar. I just created an event in 2050 with a reminder that occurs 6 months in advance.


I think in this case, the more places the better. E.g. calendar, task manager, setup a trial on a free task solution just for this, find a service that can email you in the future.


I have an OmniFocus task that repeats annually to remind me to review my own health notes, and my electronic medical record, before I go for my annual checkup. I’ll put it in that note (after I get my own tetanus booster, which I’m due for right now), but I also assume it will be easy to find in my EMR.


Seeing as most of the technology I use today has little to do with the technology I used 10 years ago, I think a paper note is the best bet. The note won’t survive 10 years, but if you have a small bulletin board that will travel with you though time, you can rewrite notes when they need replacement. When you get a year out, put it on the calendar.

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Paper wouldn’t be my first choice, but don’t sell it short. I can still read in my first logbook that I soloed on 8/13/67. And a faded certificate in the family Bible says my grandparents were married on 12/5/1867.

The trick with paper is storage and retrieval. You just have to put it where you can find it.

BTW, 12/5/1867 was a Thursday. I scrolled back to check on my iPad calendar. That’s why I prefer digital these days :wink:


I’ve had five year out tasks in my calendar successfully remind me. I also set one in OF. I’ve also snoozed tasks in Gmail for a long time and had them successfully return to me.

I can’t think where I’d put paper in my house and have it actually be there years later. If critically important, I could have a law office hang onto it for me.

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Maybe use the strategy from the movie Memento.

download (1)


For long term stuff like that, I wouldn’t rely on any single solution. What I’d do is set a reminder every year in whatever system I would be using at the time to check all the things that I need to remember and, if they’re to happen that year then I’d schedule them, but if not then I’d place them in the list to be checked next time around. (Does that make sense? The idea is that every Jan 02 (or whenever), you revisit all the reminders and adapt them to the system that you’re using for that year, but any reminders that aren’t for that year are just kept in a queue to be added as reminders when their year comes up)


I have MANY of these long term things. I have set up an ancient paper 43 folder system Actually mine is one of these
File Sorter
that I originally got mumble years ago. It lives in my top desk file drawer just behind the paper project support material for active projects.

I have a piece of paper that lives in the December folder onto which I put the long term things and the eyar in which I need to deal with them. So teatnus vaccination shows up there as Check Teatnus Vaccine Status 2022 (Farmers are suggested to get them every 5 years or whenever you step on a nail) I check it every December and if necessary add it to my list for my yearly health check-up.

As a backup I have all the dates of my last instance of those sorts of things (all vaccinations for example) in a secure note in 1Password, in my calendar system which is currently in Apple Calendar, , a task for long term things as projhects in Omnifocus that is set to come active the first of the year in which the task is due and I also have a backup copy on paper in the safe and a backup copy in an encrypted DEVONThink database of personal stuff and a copy in with our estate stuff (for things that it makes sense to have there). So I believe in backups many places on several different media to ensure I don’t lose track of those types of things.

Some of the things in my notes include vaccinations, pasport renewals, ham radio license renewals, trademark renewals and similar items.


100% I would use a calendar reminder.

Task managers come and go but aren’t usually interoperable, but calendars not only stick around, but they’re interoperable. You can change calendar apps and keep the same calendar events, unlike task managers.

Even if you change calendar apps you are likely to keep your calendar service, and even if you change calendar services you can export your events to an .ics file or similar and import them to your new service.


Calendar. If I ever switch service/server/app/etc., I will put the necessary effort into migrating my calendar(s).

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I don’t have many of those so I just use Things and copy them manually when I switch task managers. Currently, my long-range reminders are: One for September, to renew a domain, and one for two years from now, to renew my driver’s license.

I had one for a colonoscopy, which I had set three years in advance, but that’s past due and I’m putting it off because covid.

I should set one up to renew my passport. I’ll write a reminder to do it later. Yes, I am about to write a reminder to create a reminder.

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I would just let my Primary Care medical provider notify me, which they will do in 10 years time.


I’m unlikely to be living in the same state in 10 years time, much less have the same primary care doctor.

Wont your record computerised just transfer to your new provider.

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Hasn’t been the case the last few times I’ve switched providers, but hope springs eternal I guess.

Portable medical records are a mess in some countries. I think the U.S. leads that pack.

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We lead the world in messes!

A VERY large hourglass. In a prominent place in your home. Just be careful when you move house.

But seriously, I agree with everything @tjluoma says. I had a 10 year passport reminder pop up several years ago. The only trick when migrating between calendar services is to ensure your method of export is complete and not, as I’ve seen in some places, “back 3 months” or similar.

And this topic makes me think of a related one which I think I will write a new post on…