It seems like I have a permanent guest living up in my head these days. She's crazy and quirky and enjoyed playing around - hoarding and discarding memories at whim without worrying about order or importance. Perhaps that's why I remember the lyrics of a cheesy 50s song that I don't even like while forgetting that I left the gas stove on.
Early this year I went to the library, parked my vehicle by the side of the street, came home walking and then left for a short vacation with my friends. It stood there for two whole nights before I remembered and went looking for it and surprisingly enough, found it. Then again a few months back I forgot it at the same place before another short vacation with the kids, and went back for it after a day. This time I knew where I had left it!
It’s a bit of a mystery why it happens at the same place each time. And why it happens before a vacation. A greater mystery is why no one drives away with it.
Anyhow, the bigger question is why I keep forgetting things. After all this wasn't a regular keys or specs kind of thing. Is it because my mind is too cluttered? Is it because am stressed? Is it even unusual? I don't think so.
A quick round of google tells me forgetfulness could be a result of stress, multitasking and lack of sleep among other more serious reasons like depression and medication. And so, assuming I don't have a serious reason, I decided to tackle that woman in my head with some simple ideas. This is how:
Being organised both physically and mentally
- I spend 15-20 minutes everyday at physical organising, decluttering and putting away things.
- I have a fixed place for things I need often and never find - keys, books, chargers, pens, scissors, cello-tape. A large bowl on the centre table or a drawer for all stationery items helps me know where they are.
- I make to-do lists - lots of them.
- And I use reminders liberally - for children's classes, for fee payments, for library days.
No jumping from task to task
You know how this happens, don't you? You’re working at an article and you need to refer to some notes. You go to the study to get them and find a pile of books the kids have left at the table. You think you'll quickly replace them and while doing that you stumble upon a book you’d needed for another article and hadn’t been able to find then. You begin to leaf through it and your current article is forgotten.
The thing to do is to keep your focus and wrap up one task before jumping to the next.
The other day while at my walk I wondered if I had locked my front door. Try as I might I just couldn’t recollect. I rushed back home only to find I had locked it. Such a waste! Being mindful helps. Try to give each task, however small, complete attention for those two or five or ten full minutes.
Getting enough sleep and some exercise
That's pretty crucial too, to keep the mind and body fresh and happy.
I'm hoping this will set me on the path to driving that woman out of my head. So tell me have you ever forgotten something important? Does your absent mindedness worry you too? Do you have any pointers to add?