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How to Not Forget Things Easily with These 5 Simple Ways

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How to Not Forget Things Easily with These 5 Simple Ways

I have a bad memory, and no it’s not a sign of aging; it has always been this way. Tell me something one minute, and unless I won the lottery or you are about to give me a free car, I am likely to forget it.

I was with my solicitor one day and he asked me for the date I got married. I sat for a minute and then took off my wedding ring to check inside for the date. He was dumbfounded; he said he had never before met a woman who didn’t know her wedding date.

Well, there is a first time for everything.

For this reason, it has been essential for me to come up with ways to remember–to remember dates, remember to do things, remember to pick up my kids from school or anything else that I may need to remember:

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1. Use a journal every day

The first thing I find useful is to always carry a journal. This allows me to jot down any thought I may have that needs to be captured.

Anytime I think of something I must do, it gets written into my journal, and when I get back to my desk, I check through my notebook and decide what needs to be done with my notes.

2. Mark down events on a calendar (and set reminders)

If any of the notes I made were reminders of something that I need to do on a particular day at a particular time, I enter it into my calendar.

I use my calendar daily. When I sit down each day in front of my PC, the first thing I open is my calendar. Each week, I schedule my whole week, and then each day, I reassess how realistic it is and what needs to get moved to another day.

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Any tasks that take longer than 15 minutes go into my calendar, and shorter tasks or tasks that don’t have to be done immediately go into my task list.

3. Use a task list

There are many programs out there that can be used to manage your tasks. I use Evernote, since it gives me a place to store everything. I create notebooks for each area of my life and for individual projects.

If I think of something that has to be done on a particular project, I create a note and put it into the correct notebook. So when I am ready to work on that project, all the thoughts and ideas are captured there in one place.

4. Do a mind download

In times of overwhelm or stress, or when I feel I’m not keeping up to date with my work and maybe I’m reacting to other people’s demands, I stop and do a mind download. I get everything out of my head. I write it either in my journal or on an electronic note.

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By doing this, you are ensuring that everything you need to do is captured and not forgotten about. It creates a sense of calm control and ensures that nothing has gotten away.

When everything is out of your head, start to add it into your system. Either it goes in your calendar or your task list so that when the time comes, you will get the work done, and you will never forget anything again.

5. Use different kinds of reminders

If you have a tendency to miss appointments and meetings, set up reminders for these events. Reminders can be set up on your calendar or in a program like Evernote.

You could even set an alarm on your phone if necessary with the name of the alarm being the task you need to be reminded of.

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Here’re more reminders ideas for you:

10 Apps That Help You Stay on Time and Remember Things

No more excuses for being forgetful

There are no excuses! Follow these five suggestions, and you’ll never forget anything again.

Use them individually and you will improve your ability to remember, but use all five and you will be a powerhouse of memory.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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