From remembering where you put your keys to keeping a mental note of your grocery list without leaving an item out, it’s not always easy to remember the details of everyday life in such a hectic, fast-paced world. Some people tend to be more forgetful than others, though, potentially causing stress and anxiety when important tasks and items fall to the wayside. These seven pointers can help you remember details, both important and trivial, and get out of the stressful loop that is forgetfulness.
- Get Organized – If your forgetfulness manifests itself through an inability to keep up with things, you may be suffering more from a lack of organization than a lack of memory. Find a home for your keys, wallet, phone and other important items, and put them back in that dedicated place every time you put them away. You may not remember that you tossed your keys on the kitchen table, your phone on the nightstand and left your wallet in yesterday’s pants because the items are so scattered. If they’re all in a dedicated place when you need them, you won’t find yourself scrambling to round them up on your way out the door.
- Put Your Smartphone to Work for You – Set alarms to remind you of time-sensitive tasks, put calendar apps to good use, find a to-do list app that you like and get committed to using it. The mobile device in your pocket can be a powerful tool for keeping you on top of important events and due dates, and most people tend to sorely under-use these features. You can also install brain-training games and apps that actively improve brain function and short term memory while you’re waiting in line, in waiting rooms and using mass transit to commute to and from work.
- Slow Your Multi-Tasking Roll – If you try to manage too many tasks, some things are sure to fall to the wayside. Try to slow down, and take on only the number of tasks you can easily accomplish at one time. You’ll probably find that, when you’re able to concentrate fully, the quality of your work and productivity improve right alongside your memory.
- Take Notes and Make Lists – Some people find it easier to get everything done and keep track of everything they need to remember by taking notes of important events and making detailed to-do lists. In addition to having a written record of everything you need to do, you’ll also have the satisfaction of crossing each thing off of your list as it’s completed.
- Set Up Triggers – Set yourself up for memory success by leaving trigger clues to remind you of the things you need to do. If you’re trying to remember to bring a change of clothes to work so you can hit the gym on your way home, set them on top of your briefcase. Leave a laundry basket in the kitchen so you will be reminded to move the wet clothes from the washing machine into the dryer while you’re prepping for dinner. Leaving this trail of breadcrumbs will keep visual reminders around you, helping you to remember what you’re doing and when it needs to be done.
- Use Names After Introductions – Few things are as embarrassing in a social situation as forgetting the name of someone you’ve already been introduced to. Help your brain retain the names of people you meet by making a point of using their names soon after the introduction. Instead of saying, “Nice to meet you,” make a habit of saying, “Nice to meet you, Jane.” You’ll cement their name into your memory through speaking it out loud, reducing the likelihood of your forgetting it later.
- Ask for Reminders – Asking friends and family members to remind you of important details not only gives you the help you need, but may even help you to remember the task yourself because you’ve made a point of acknowledging it and speaking it out loud. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner, children or friends to remind you of important dates, upcoming events or tasks you need to complete. Most people will be happy to help you, and you may find that you don’t need their assistance after all because you’ve made a point of acknowledging the situation.