Reality Check: Strategy for Forgetfulness

Anecdotal evidence suggests that lots of folks fear that they are forgetful. Last column, I suggested that one reason people feel overwhelmed is because they are. We’re busy, perhaps anxious, yet tasks keep coming. We lose track and forget.
While I can’t help you fix your memory, here are a few strategies that might help you get more control.
Are your concerns about general life maintenance? For example, do you misplace documents? Forget deadlines? Forget to pay bills? Run out of essentials?
If so, get a notebook. A nice hard-cover one from a dollar store will do the trick. Leave the first few pages blank for a table of contents.
Now, what to write? It depends on your concerns. For example, if you worry about forgetting regular bill payments, make a page for that. List your bills and when they come due.
You might be concerned about irregular tasks. Every year, things come up. For example, when’s your driver’s license renewal? Your health card? Your passport? Make a five-year chart and put in the dates for your important items. It sounds daunting, but it’ll feel good when you’re done. You’ll have a better sense of control and less chance of things slipping by the wayside.
Consider a section for important people and phone numbers. What plumber do you call? Who’s that good electrician your neighbour told you about? Write them down in a Contacts section.
You might want a page that lists essential items you always want to have on hand.
Make a page to remind you where you have important documents stored.
Not everyone likes lists of words. If pictures work better for you, then draw a mind map or sketch. Your notebook doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else; but it does have to make sense to you.
You may want to ask a friend or family member to help determine whether you have “forgotten” anything. This might bring a bonus of motivating your friend to do the same.
Accept that the notebook is a work in progress. It will take time to set up. It will not be perfect or complete right away. Few things are.
Choose a place for your notebook. Keep it there. Build a habit of looking at it every week or as often as you need to.
Perhaps your forgetfulness is less about life maintenance but more personal. For example, have you ever forgotten to check in with a friend and now feel bad about it?
If so, carry a notepad and a pencil. Make conversation lists—do you want to mention something to Junior? Write it down. Phone calls and visits are more satisfying when you remember to discuss what matters to you.
Finally, perhaps you have forgetfulness concerns about health issues. If you have medical appointments with different people, it’s hard to keep it all straight. Those appointments tend to be short and precious, so bring a notebook with you. Keep a record of who you saw, when, where, and what was recommended.
Write down your questions. Does that sound awkward? It’s better than forgetting and berating yourself later.
While day planners, calendars, and journals are sold for these purposes, I prefer generic notebooks. No matter what you choose, the key is to use it.
Do you keep notes to prevent forgetting?

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