I’m not one to remember things easily: birthdays, chores, phone calls to return, meeting times. It’s most likely because of my tendency to be an auditory learner – which means that I process things better when they’re spoken to me. A few months into my year-long service position, though, it finally dawned on me that that strategy – or lack thereof – was not going to work for me. I found myself stressed out from trying to balance work, housesitting and taking care of two dogs, physical therapy, three virtual volunteer commitments, yoga, friends and family, and eating well. That stress was causing me to forget a lot more than I usually do, from flash drives with presentations on them at home to my entire cosmetic case at the hospital where I have my physical therapy sessions.
Since that realization, I’ve spent time trying to figure out different strategies to remember my day-to-day, my weekly tasks, my to-do list and more. Some of it I’m still investigating, so if you have any suggestions, share them in the comments!
Keep more than one calendar – and make it fun!
This strategy can get confusing if it’s not done carefully and habitually. As someone who never disciplined herself to write down due dates let alone every detail of her life, this task took a lot of dedication and I’m still getting the hang of it. I keep one giant desk calendar at work that has everything from personal to work-related events, meetings, and deadlines on it. The side has a space for notes that I use for monthly objectives. My pocket calendar stays at home on my dresser or in my purse for when I’m out and about. Lastly, I’ve gotten into the habit of putting events and meetings in my Outlook calendar for my colleagues and to send me alerts. A lot of this updating can be tedious, so find a way to make it fun for yourself! Use different colored pens for different categories. Stickers – like my favorite by Girl of All Work – get me excited to create my calendar.
Put up a white board
Pieces of paper can get lost very easily. You spend time putting all of those chores and assignments on a notepad and next thing you know, you can’t find it. White boards can help solve this problem, or even chalkboards. Whether you’re brainstorming, need to write down your to-buy list, or have big to-do list of items to check off, these boards are great. If you hang it up in your room, then you have a reminder when you wake up and when you go to bed. Maybe keep it in your cubicle or at your desk, where you spend most of your time during the day. Wherever you keep it, remember to update it when you’ve done something.
Use and hide flashcards
For every task you have to do, write it on a flashcard. On the back of it, write a clue for where the next one is. This scavenger hunt keeps you focused on one task at a time. If those chores or items are time-sensitive, then you can be quite productive for a few hours, checking things off and finding the next job. If you aren’t sure how to go about creating this “game,” give your mom, dad, brother, sister, significant other, roommate – someone – your to-do list and ask them to write the cards out and place them around for you.
Strategically place important things
We all have those moments when we forget something as we’re getting ready to walk out the door. Or maybe we’ve already pulled out of the driveway. Create little nooks close to the door, whether it’s a hook with keys and ID badge or decorating an end table and putting it next to the door. Do it yourself and have fun with it. You can also get into the habit of preparing your needed items like flash drive, wallet, files, and computer the night before. Place it in your nook or right in front of the door so you remember.
Live in the moment
When I asked a good friend of mine why I was forgetting so much, she told me to just live and think in the moment. I didn’t understand how that related to me forgetting things, but after reflecting on it, it dawned on me: you can’t rush things. I forgot my cosmetic case at the hospital because my physical therapy session ran late. I took a shower in record time, changed, and practically flew out the door because I was more worried about arriving to work late than to take care of myself and let go of the things that are out of my control.
If we take a minute to slow down, pause, and take a deep breath, then we’ll take in our surroundings more acutely and forget why we were rushing in the first place. And that’s some forgetting I’d be glad to do.
featured image by SF Girl By Bay