So there is this task that coworker is assigned to do. Once in awhile (not often maybe once every 3 months) he will forgot to do it. Should I send him a reminder email the day after to let him know that he forgot? I know most people forget to do stuff sometimes so I don't know if this is a thing where I should mind my own business? But it does create some work for me. Thing is he doesn't forget often just once in awhile.

  • 4
    If your colleague doesn't do it, do you? What are the consequences of his not doing it? Have you ever reminded him? How did that work out? Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 21:23
  • if he remembers to do it, it takes like 10min but if he forgets it would take someone like 20min due to being late and yes I did remind him before.
    – Bigbob23
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 21:25
  • Ask your coworker this question directly to see if it is OK for you to send him a friendly reminder when he forgets to do his task. Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 3:52
  • Sounds like your coworker needs to improve their time management system. When I have a routine task that needs to be performed in regular intervals, then I usually put it as a recurring event in my calendar so I get reminded about it.
    – Philipp
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 12:49

4 Answers 4


There is nothing wrong with nudging a colleague when you know there is something they are forgetting to do, but there are definitely nicer and more acceptable ways to do so than sending an email to "let him know he forgot." A couple options:

  • Ask if they have done said task yet. Oftentimes, asking a question that you know the answer to is a better way to point something out than stating the answer yourself.
  • Ask when they will have time to do said task. It sounds like you usually know whether or not they have done it, so this could be a subtle way to remind them about the task without making it about the fact that they forgot it.

This being said, if what you are referring to is a reoccurring task that your colleague does often and only every few months does said task a day or two late, it could be seen as excessive to remind them so quickly every time. You haven't provided many details on the task or what extra work it causes for you though, so I cannot say for sure how it would come across.

  • Unfortunatly if he forgets asking them if they have done it doesn't help because I have to do it since he is not trained to do it late. My goal was just to remind them to not forget. Or I train him?
    – Bigbob23
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 22:18

Being a frequent "this slipped my mind, let me get to this pronto" offender myself, a kind reminder would be the best.

Betty: Barney, I'm looking for the data for the Pterodactyl lineage project. Have you gathered it yet? I meet with the board at 4pm.

Barney: Sorry, Betty...I was working on the Brontosaurus project and I forgot about it. I have most of it ready but I need to do some analysis - can you give me about two hours? It's not that hard.

Betty: Sure...I wanted to be sure you're aware of it. And I've done that Brontosaurus project several times...it's a tough one.

Barney: Thanks, Betty...I apologize for not having it sooner...I'll call you once I'm done.

Then there's the frequent forgetter like your co-worker, who may be forgetting it to avoid working on it. That may require intervention from your boss (if you share one) or his boss.


If the reminder is needed before the task is done, I'd choose to train the coworker on how to accomplish the task if it is done late again. I personally prefer to have responsibilities grouped. I would choose to train the coworker a week or so before the task is needing to be done.

I would also consider taking on the initial task myself if I see that both the initial task and the rectifying of the initial late task aren't being done. The responsibility of the task getting done being in one persons hands seems to be a better way to handle things than for two people to be responsible.

I really like @InBedded16 answer as well, once the coworker has been trained on how to rectify the late task, using these communication methods would be smart.


Only use e-mail if that's the preferred way to communicate

The task in question sounds like something which not being completed impacts you in some fashion, so you do have a good reason for following up. Personally, I envy this coworker of yours for being on top of things all the time to only forget once every 3 months (I easily forget 3 things every day and then strategically ignore 3 others).

Asking questions that you know the answer to as InBedded's answer suggests is a great way to be more gentle with your inquiry. I would also recommend consider asking if this is something that you can help with; assuming it is something you can actually help with. The boon of this second choice means that you learn something new and your coworker develops trust with you to help support them if work becomes too much.

As I stated in the heading, e-mail's fine if that's the manner by which you usually communicate, but if you're able to discuss it casually in conversation, I think that's probably better. Whether that's chatting by the water cooler in the morning or stopping by their desk to say, "Hello," and then remembering to see where they are on those TPS reports.

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