Here are some general approaches to dealing with forgetfulness. In general, be philosophic about your forgetfulness. If you are like an absent-minded professor, just remember that a professor is smart, even if he or she is forgetful! Forgetfulness is simply something about yourself that you need to manage.
- Be patient. You can choose to get frustrated with your forgetfulness, or you can choose to accept and deal with it. (Why be intentionally miserable?)
- Improve your memory directly. Of course, this entire website is about memory improvement, so check out the pages about increasing concentration through playing brain games, improving your diet with brain foods and other changes, getting enough good sleep, use the memory techniques, and so on!
- Use a wristwatch, cell phone, or electronic organizer to set alarms. If you need to take medicine every four hours, for example, setting an electric alarm of some sort can be very important. I use my wristwatch for my morning alarm clock.
- Use Microsoft Outlook. I use Outlook at work (my day job) to keep track of the many tasks associated with my responsibilities. As I mentioned, I do use a paper Daytimer, too, but Outlook has a very cool “Reminders” feature for when I am at my desk. At the specified date and time, Outlook gives you an automatic pop-up window to reminder you to do the task! The reminders are easy to set up, too. If you leave your computer on at home, I suppose you could use Outlook for the same thing there as well.
- Use set storage spaces for everything. I mentioned this in the car keys example above. But this idea can be expanded for everything else in your house that you always lose – umbrellas, flashlights, candles, batteries, pens, books, old bills and tax returns, photos, sports equipment (balls, roller blades, whatever), and tools. The list is endless. A place for everything, and everything in its place will go a long way to solving your forgetfulness problems at home. (This is also true for items you have at work, in the interior of your car, and so on.)
- Get a safe deposit box at your bank. For really important items that you are afraid you might lose, open a safe deposit box. Small ones in my area cost about $25 per year, which is a small price for the peace of mind it brings. In the safe deposit box put all the stuff you rarely need to look at but which is irreplaceable or extremely important. Obvious choices are wills, birth certificates, and other such documents; as well as jewelry and other valuables you may simply be keeping for investment value. And don’t worry if you forget the safe deposit box number – bank personnel can always look that up for you (but don’t forget which bank, if you can help it!).
- Keep a sense of humor. Maintain a healthy perspective about forgetfulness. And whenever your forgetfulness places you in an awkward position (Gee, boss, I forgot all about the presentation!), try to laugh about it if you can. At least later.