How Do You Remember?

posted by Andrea | 07/5/2011

I write everything down… I mean everything.

I’ve been in the habit of making lists {lots of lists} and writing out my tasks every day since middle school — maybe even before. And now I’m hooked!

I do NOT like to forget, so by writing things down, I rarely forget. However, I sometimes feel like I’m not doing a great job of training my brain to remember on its own — does that make sense?

I don’t have to remember phone numbers because they are all in my phone.

I don’t have to remember appointments, meetings, or events because they are all in my planner.

I don’t have to remember cool ideas I find because I just “pin” them to Pinterest.

I don’t have to remember most other information because I know I can find it somewhere on the internet.

And I’m not sure if this is good or bad..

On one hand, I don’t usually forget — and thanks to technology, I have a wealth of information at my fingertips.

On the other hand, I sometimes feel like my memory is getting less of a “workout” each day; and I’m pretty sure I would be completely sunk if I ever lost my planner, my cell phone, and my computer! {seriously, it would NOT be pretty!}

Obviously, being forgetful wastes valuable time {and sometimes money} but I feel like there has to be a happy medium.

In my opinion, there ARE things you just have to write down like dates for weddings and holiday parties, grocery lists, recipes, vacation packing lists, etc.

But then I think there are probably other things that I should simply train my brain to remember. {Although now might not be the best time to start that since I hear pregnant women tend to forget more!}

So I’m wondering, how to you remember??

Do you write everything down like me?

Do you have a secret tip for training your memory?

Do you simply have an amazing memory?

Or are you content to forget a few things here and there??

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15 comments

  1. Lis

    07/05/2011

    Great post! It’s a topic I discuss often with others. I, personally, am a “writer” as well–notebooks and planners devoted to events and things to do. I also update my cell phone calendar too and sometimes I think I am wasting more time organizing all these various places than actually just doing the tasks, ha!

    My mother, bless her, is convinced I am doing a disservice to my brain! She’s old school and does not write ANYTHING done. And she gets it done! Me? If I do not write it, it’s forgotten. I used to be much better, but I agree in this day and age it’s not necessary to remember many things, like phone numbers, which years ago we HAD to. I have not yet figured out the balance. I do know where as I once could memorize things easily, I have significant trouble now. Age? Technology to blame? I’m not sure.

    I also record memos! And I love Evernote. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    My mom sounds very similar to your mom — however my mom is getting more and more forgetful.

    And I’m just like you, if I don’t write it down, I forget!

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  2. Heart and Haven

    07/05/2011

    I write down appts. like doctor, dentist, school meeting, etc. (still trying to decide if I like my phone calendar or google calendar better). For normal day-to-day stuff, I don’t write a list. I don’t need a list to walk in the kitchen to see that the dishes need to be done, ha! It’d take me longer to add it to my list than to just do it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    So true! I think for me, I just LOVE being able to cross things off my list. So after I do the dishes and cross that of my list, I feel such a sense of accomplishment! weird — I know :)

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    Robin H Reply:

    If you do something that’s not on your list, do you add it just so you can cross it off? :-)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, I’ve done that before!! Not often, but sometimes {if I’m feeling unproductive} I’ll write it on my list just so I can cross it off :)

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  3. Katie

    07/06/2011

    I am a sticky note girl. FYI… do not use them as coasters on hardwood. I now have square pink stains on my coffee table : ).

    Also, I am now addicted to pinterest.

    [Reply]

  4. Leslie

    07/07/2011

    I often find myself not only remembering for myself, but for my husband as well. My life is in my iphone- goodness if I lost that, I’d be lost (Well sort of- I’d at least be able to have some things backed up on my mac..) Appointments, meetings, etc….I keep it all in my phone. However, I am not one who syncs my phone with my professional life- work stays at work.

    At work, my meetings are on my e-mail calendar and my tasks, although the e-mail system has a task manager/list, I write everything on stickies…(what a system eh?). And yes, I have written something down just so I could cross it off. It feels good!!

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  5. Erin

    07/07/2011

    For the most part, I just have a very good memory. If it is an appointment I made this week for sometime next week, I usually just remember. But if I’m making my follow up doctor appointment for 6 months from now, I definitely put it in my phone calendar with a reminder for 1 week and 1 day ahead of time. I’m very good with birthdays, anniversaries, and the like, but I *must* write down the grocery list. I try to dial phone numbers as much as possible so that I learn them. I do forget something every once in a while, but it is rare.

    I will say that I always believed “pregnancy brain” was a complete myth, until I was pregnant! It got so bad the last 4-6 weeks that I was literally carrying around a small notepad and pen because I could not remember anything to save my life, and I think it was worse for me because I was not accustomed to such a lack of memory. It mostly came back after my son started sleeping through the night, but my memory never did return to its full power (and it’s been over 6 years now).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Erin, you make me laugh!!

    I thought “Pregnancy brain” was a myth too — but honestly, I have felt much more forgetful these past few months! I’m scared to know that it took your memory 6 years to recover!!

    Also, I’m SUPER impressed that you don’t need to write weekly appointments down. I would be lost if I didn’t :)

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  6. Nancy

    07/11/2011

    Andrea,

    Just wanted to say ~ you are so cute with your little baby belly! Anyways, I absolutely had “regnancy brain” with both of my girls. My husband would call and ask me to do something (I run the office for our business) and I would forget that he called. And, I agree with Erin – it doesn’t seem to come back easily.

    As for remembering, I use outlook on the computer and try to write everything down. I have notes and notebooks scattered, so it usually helps to put it on the computer so it’s all in one place.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Nancy!
    Although I’m not super excited about pregnancy brain — I glad I have a pretty good system for writing things down in my planner. I honestly don’t forget much… yet!

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  7. Anne

    07/11/2011

    I totally agree with writing things down! Your post reminded me of the “Getting Things Done” system. We write down/organize/file all the “stuff” of our lives to free our brains up to do our real work, what’s important – be that running a company, being the best parent/child/spouse/friend/neighbor possible, or whatever.
    And yes, I also add things to my lists to be able to check them off!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good — glad to know someone else writes everything down too — even after the tasks are finished!!

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  8. Cherie

    07/12/2011

    Good post! I have been blessed with an excellent memory, and was never a list maker. I have a very visual memory, so if I see a number or something written, I can remember it. But – don’t believe it when you say your brain is getting lazy. Our lives are so much more complex now, and there is so much to remember. One example: My mother, raised in tiny towns in northern Minnesota and N Dak had to remember only how to get to a few places, the one store, the 3 friend’s homes, church, school. When doing errands and social activities today, I have to remember how to get to a zillion places and homes in a very large area, Metro Phoenix. Even buying products etc, needs to use up memory. As a “new” senior, I’ve been using an iphone for numbers, calendar, notes, wish lists, maps, etc. I love it, better than a written planner or sticky notes I used to use, and can find anything I need to online at a whim. As a result, I think my brain is more active, finding new things, ideas, things like “who starred in * old movie”, etc. I like my brain now, everything my incessant curiosity and many obligations I need to know can be found!
    So, be kind to yourself! Your lists etc are just making more room in your brain for the important stuff, like learning to be a new mom! And keep your business going! Good luck!

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