When was the last time you forgot something?
How did it make you feel?
Want to feel like that again?
Remembering things shouldn’t be stressful.
Life is stressful enough without us adding to it ourselves!
However, many of us aren’t utilising what we can to make life that bit easier – so why not take the control back and make it easy to remember things?
Here are some ways that I hope will help! Let me know how you get on
The key (as it is to a lot of organising tricks!) is to have a diary that really works hard for you.
Where did you put it?
How many of you have a separate birthday book, diary for work and one for home, schedules for the family dotted around the walls, invitations stuck on a noticeboard under a letter from school… i could go on.
Its no wonder that dates get forgotten and lost in your day to day life.
There are so many places that you can store information that you need to remember, and if you have too many places to check regularly then the odds are against you from the beginning as to being sure you have remembered everything you need to do on any one day.
Diary management rules!
It sounds so dull, managing a diary – but trust me – once you really start to use your diary as a system in your life, you won’t go back!
Its not a hard change, but actually putting EVERYTHING in your diary will pay dividends.
I’m talking about appointments of course, but also the journey time to and from each appointment – what you need to have at that appointment, birthdays and special events, tasks that need to be completed on or by a certain date, events you have been invited to, bills to be paid, what your schedule is (and therefore where your free time is) etc….
The list really is endless.
And trust me – once you get into the habit of writing it all down, it takes less time than you think to keep a diary like this (and the time saved far outweighs the up front work!)
I advocate an A4 diary, week to view (unless you are really busy everyday this should be plenty – and its easy to flick through weeks at a time when looking for something. You can also have a quick glance to see the week ahead and what you are doing.
Sit down once a week and check through the coming week – then allocate any TO DOs that you can get done in any down time (keeping a little wriggle room for the odd emergency or unplanned item as they always turn up!)
You should then have a good grasp and overview of everything thats coming up – you can plan when to buy birthday presents, when to send cards, whether you can attend a party or not (so you can reply to an invitation straight away), what you need to be doing when etc…
Book appointments in advance
Have you noticed how when you go to the dentist they always book your next appointment there and then?
How much easier is this than having to remember in 6 months time that you are due to make a visit again?
It makes perfect sense not to rely on your memory at all for this – you can get unstuck too easily if for example your car is due for an MOT you can’t fit it in before it runs out.
Get into the habit of booking the next appointment as soon as you finish the one you are at – and ADDING TO YOUR DIARY.
If its not until next year then add a note to your diary a few months in advance of the date you want to book and book it then (reminders in your diary will be key!) – if you have an electronic diary then you can also set an alarm.
This is one I really struggle with – I’m definitely a numbers person not a words one!
Repeat names over and over again
When you get introduced to someone new, say the name over and over again in your head, and include it in the conversation as many times as you can (without looking a little crazy!).
Also try and introduce that person to someone else as well along with a fact that you have learnt about them (i.e. Angela, this is Stuart – He works in marketing like you!)
The name is much more likely to stick if you use repetition.
Write it down
As soon as you can after you meet someone, write their name down (its always good to write down a few facts about them so that you can recall more for when you next see them), or even simply ask for their telephone number and add them as their name and something to remind you – i.e. Fred, James Dad – Martin, Window Cleaner etc…..
Doing this will not only reiterate their name to you, and make you recall the information (further embedding it in your brain), but also will help no end if you get stuck in the future.
Remembering where the keys are
The eternal question in a lot of homes!
But remember where something is can be frustrating, waste time and effort, and cause you unnecessary stress.
Its a simple fix….
Put them in the same place every time!
Choose a place that makes sense to house each item in your home – and get into the habit of putting things back there each time you use them.
Its not that hard to do – you put your toothbrush back in the same place every time because you have a place for it and a holder probably – so do the same for things you waste time looking for every day
Also – creating rituals and routines will help you not forget things again – start with a checklist written down on your front door (keys? check, wallet? check, lights off? check etc….. – you will start to do things automatically and not need the list after a few weeks).
Remembering passwords and pin numbers
In todays society we are all reminded that using the same password or pin for everything is just asking for trouble.
But we have so many that we need a failsafe way of remembering them too – so whats the answer?
I have a couple of options –
1. Add a fake telephone number to your phone.
Make it start with your local code so it looks right, and then use your 4 digit pincode as part of the last numbers (and then name the name as something similar to what the code is for) i.e. 01578 567 589 Vera Isaread (for a VISA card with pin 7589)
I also use an extra check (as its easy to forget the name you are looking for!) – by putting the last 2 digits of your card as part of the number as well (ie for the above example your VISA card would have last 2 digits of 56, and your pin is 7589).
If you use the same code for all your cards then you have to only remember the code you have used and you’ll never forget again! (you can also add these to your address/tel num section of your home file for backup if you ever lose your phone.
2. Use the same password for everything, with a twist!
When you create a password online, you are usually told that its safest to use something with uppercase and lowercase, numeric and signs – so that its as safe as possible.
So pick something that you will remember (you only have to remember this!), and then the trick is to simply just add to the end what the password is for i.e. for a john lewis website you would use the password br5%adFJL (using the password in the example, and just adding JL for John Lewis at the end)
Please remember to NEVER write all your codes and passwords down – and especially don’t carry pin numbers around in your wallet – which I have seen people do often.
In todays world its all too easy to rely on technology instead of our memory.
Everything is available at the touch of a button – so why rely on your mind?
Heres a personal example of my own experience of not knowing facts:-
I came unstuck on my honeymoon when I was halfway up a mountain in Canada and had lost my husband.
We were due to meet each other at a certain point and then board down together and it was coming up to the end of the day when all the lifts were closing.
I panicked to say the least – imagining the worst – but I had no way of checking he was OK.
I did know he had his phone on him, but hadn’t bought mine so didn’t know his number – my own husbands number! – I had to ask at the shop we hired our kit from as they had the number on their forms.
From that day on I have always remembered that number!
(Where was he? He had got to that point earlier than me and I had taken a LONG time, so he had assumed he had missed me and carried on down the mountain, where he was also panicking about losing me….)
The best way to remember things is to practice and train your brain
Before you reach for your mobile phone, or the address book, or to type a question into Google – just think first.
What can you remember about the fact you are looking up?
You may be surprised after a while at how much you can recall (and it can actually save time by not having to check your address book every time you post a card etc….)
Another good way of recalling facts is to place a visual image or a story to them all.
When you are trying to remember facts for a test or exam, or just for general living, then it can be really useful to attach a picture in your head to them.
Make up a story in your head about something will help you to recall that information much more easily – for example – I have a friend who lives in rose cottage so I imagine her in a cottage with roses all over it – I remember the road by another image etc…… – that way its easy to start remembering more and more.
How to remember everything for an exam
I couldn’t leave without mentioning this.
How many times have you taken a test and your mind has gone blank?
You can recall everything except for what you are being asked.
I found a great trick to help me remember everything and wanted to share this with you too
When revising I learnt as much as possible in the time I had as usual.
I then used the last few days to condense all that information onto one sheet of a4 paper.
This would have pictures, symbols, words etc… placed all over the sheet – ALWAYS IN THE SAME PLACE – each part of that sheet would be a hook into part of my revision, and spark my memory.
I would then make sure that I could recreate this sheet easily, and would spend the evening before the exam not worrying about the whole lot of revision, but just recreating the sheet over an over again so it was embedded in my memory.
Once I went into the exam, and BEFORE I OPENED THE PAPER (so I couldn’t be swayed as to what I needed to remember as you can guarantee that would be the parts I would forget!) – I recreated that sheet of paper onto the exam paper (with a heading of WORKINGS PLEASE IGNORE so that the examiner didn’t worry about it!).
When I then had to recall information, I had something to link me straight back to my revision, and 90% of the time I could recall the facts that surrounded it.
Remembering everything is impossible.
You need to create systems and routines that work for you and that help you remember everything you need on a day to day basis.
Keep things in the same place so you can find them easily, utilise your diary so that its like your very own PA, and create stronger memories of facts by attaching pictures and repeating them often in your head.
Do these simple things and you will train your memory to behave that little bit more for you, and soon, forgetting things will be a thing of the past!