Forgetfulness. If you’re anything like me, this one thirteen letter word causes an overwhelming tide of problems crashing into your everyday life: frantic calls, lost items, rushing around like a chicken with their head cut off. Plagued by a ditzy, wandering mind, that relentless forgetfulness that keeps surfacing has left me feeling frazzled and unprepared many times throughout my life.
It’s beyond frustrating to be an intelligent young woman with a strong mind, and yet still have to rely on others because I can’t trust my own brain to remember the simplest of things!
Though I’m still young and supposed to be “carefree,” I lead a busy life just like any adult. Even a brief lapse in memory leaves me spiraling into worry (and embarrassment!), cursing my own mind to no end. So I’ve come up with a few simple ways to be less forgetful and, as a result, be more prepared for life!
Sticky Notes will be your savior!
Sticky. Notes. I can’t emphasize them enough, and though I’m not sponsored, I can easily rave that Post-its have been a lifesaver many a time. Using these colorful papers to your advantage is beyond easy since… well, they can go anywhere! You might not always remember to check your phone or scan over the calendar on the fridge, but a sticky note can go anywhere, like a traveling reminder stuck in the most convenient places to make it impossible to forget.
Being a rather forgetful person with an incredibly visual learning type, if I don’t write it down, I’ll never remember. The most common excuse my brain conjures up is “I thought I would remember!” But my biggest advice to anyone with tendencies to forget things would be to never trust your memory alone!
Write anything that you think you may not remember (or even things you think you will remember) on a sticky note and stick it in a spot that you absolutely will see throughout the day or before an event or class you have. This little reminder will jump start the synapses (or connections) in your brain so that you can go back to firing on all cylinders and toss out the worries!
One of the best places to put sticky note reminders are directly on the screen of your phone, since most of us check our phones more often than we’d like to admit.
Todoist is a productivity app by nature and an organizational tool for all. Recently I found this app on the App Store on my phone and it has skyrocketed my productivity and reduced the number of frazzled moments by half. You can use it to log tasks, map out your schedule for months and months, categorize and organize your life all on one app!
Why not just use a traditional notes list? Simply put, keep doing that! But sometimes carrying around a piece of paper is less convenient and portable than having your phone. Checking off a Todoist task gives almost the same burst of satisfaction and dopamine as dragging a pen across paper to cross out a completed task. One of my favorite parts of Todoist are the milestones of Todoist Karma that mark when you’ve completed a certain number of tasks.
The notifications that Todoist displays in the corner of the app are an excellent reminder for any event or thing that you want to get done. Most of the time, the day flies by and I spend time relaxing, having completely forgotten about the things I so desperately wanted to do the night before. But if I write it down on Todoist, my memory will never fail and I can get everything done that I want to without the burden of cramming it into my thoughts. The world is rapidly becoming digitized… so why not let your memory and organization change with it?
Calendar: set alerts!
“Wait, what do I have going on today?”
“Ugh, I’ll never remember that date.”’
“Uh, I’m not sure what I have for that day… can we schedule later?”
“Oh, crap! That’s today?”
If you’ve said any of these more than once, or on a daily basis, there’s a simple solution that seems obvious. Most of the adults I’ve seen live by their digital calendars, and rightly so! Being less forgetful and more punctual is made easier with the calendar app on your phone, computer, or other device.
Recording any planned events and setting reminder alerts at least fifteen minutes before can make life a lot easier for busy adults and busy people as a whole… even the people with the best memory can always use a push to recall certain things. Inputting everything into your calendar as soon as you receive news is essential to avoiding schedule conflicts and laying out how much time you will have on a daily basis.
Staying grounded in the moment– a tricky task
This is one of my worst downfalls in my life as a whole: I find it incredibly hard to be completely present in the moment, the here and now. I’m not a worrier by nature, chewing my nails with anxiety, or a fuzzy-brained ditz with my head in the clouds wandering carefree off in my own personal space. I’m somewhere in between with an adventurous soul and jumpy mind, hands that urge to be moving and brain chugging ahead with a million thoughts.
Meditation is not always a perfect fit for everyone, especially those that simply feel unproductive and fretful when just sitting in stillness. But for some people the simple practice of sitting and breathing can be a centering, relaxing tool that you can use to strengthen your brain and memory as a result.
But sometimes a direct meditation isn’t the best option for people trying to become less forgetful, rather, taking a less strict approach can be beneficial. When you go outside, taking a moment to watch the sunlight stream through the leaves, painting the grass in gold. Looking at the bright blue sky and watching the clouds chart their endless course across the sky like voyaging ships. Gazing into the vast blackness, pin pricked with glowing stars shining their light from hundreds of thousands of miles away. A present moment like this acts (though less strongly than traditional meditation) as a way to clear your head.
A clear mind can make a world of difference in the amount of information you retain, synapses firing speed, and your memory as a whole, even if the effects are temporary.
Forgetfulness can be frustrating to no end. I know it better than most. But utilizing these four methods can truly make a difference, whether it be scrawling a note on a Post-it or taking a moment to ground yourself in the details of your surroundings. A faulty memory can drag you down into frazzled emotions and worried spirals… but it doesn’t have to.