JS Tip 61: From the Time-management Workshops: Remembering Things

Three thoughts:

“A short pencil is better than a long memory.” (An old proverb. Parental counsel.)

“So let it be written, so let it be done.” (The Pharoah Ramses—according to Cecil B. DeMille.)

“If it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen.” (Nurses’ wisdom, usually in the form of patient care and medical dosage. Notice how similar this counsel is to Ramses’.)

If it’s important, write it down. Capture it.

The act of writing makes something permanent. We often think of “pre-historic times” as dinosaurs and Fred Flintstone. Baloney. Not true. Pre-historic times are “pre-history” times, the time before people wrote things down. (And for English-speaking people, that’s about a thousand years ago. Not a long time.)

Keep stacks of sticky notes—of various sizes—in your desk. Carry a notepad and a pen with you when you leave your desk.

When a thought occurs to you (when the light bulb goes “BING!” over your head), write the idea down. Capture it.

(A friend keeps a dry-erase pen in his car. When an idea comes to him, he pulls to the side of the road and writes his idea on the driver’s-side window. Just don’t roll down the window; the brushes erase the note. We learned this from sad experience.)   

How often have you, at the end of the day, thought, “Wow. What was that idea I had earlier? It was a good one. I can’t remember what it was.” Wow. Frustration.

The brain fails or—at least—gets overcrowded. Pen and paper are (semi) permanent.

What are your tricks? A ribbon around your finger? Writing on your hand? What tricks have you developed for remembering tasks? Lists? Dates? We want to know. Reply to this tip or visit our facebook group page.