My primary school report consistently stated ‘she’s bit dreamy’, I have got quite some experience with the loss of keys / wallet / passport, I more than once forgot an important birthday, and I might have stood along the highway with an empty tank once, because
I forgot to refuel I didn’t receive a notification saying the tank was almost empty.
And so I must have forgotten something (pun intented). In hindsight, these kinds of situations are quite funny of course, but at the time I couldn’t really laugh about it. In fact, until recently my way of dealing with it was as follows: making fun of myself to other people, while at the same time drilling myself into the ground in my mind – because what woman with a full-grown brain forgets to refuel?! Can’t I just remember something for ONCE?
Apart from not being very nice to myself in those situations, it didn’t really help either. Because the more I focused on that which I’m not very good at, I really have to remember things like a normal person does because I really don’t want to search for my keys AGAIN for an hour, the more – you probably guessed it – often I was looking for my keys.
And so I thought: maybe I should start working wíth my brain instead of against it. Making things a bit easier for myself, instead of constantly bringing myself down when I forget something.
Moreover, I can do a lot of fun things with my brain: I am good at coming up with new ideas, I love to read and write and once I am working on something exciting I focus like a man who is in front of a naked woman. But remembering daily, practical things – that’s just not really my cup of tea. In fact, it might even be a bit of a shame if I use my brain as a “dump disk” for practical things that I can perfectly store in a different and thus more efficient way.
So here are my 6 tips that have helped me best in “remembering” the practical things in life.
1. Use a digital calendar and enter all your appointments in there
I always put all appointments immediately in my digital Google Calendar. I repeat: immediately. Since the app is on my phone (which I almost always bring with me), I have no excuse for not entering appointments immediately. A paper agenda doesn’t work for me because I wouldn’t always have it with me. And suppose I am somewhere and we want to schedule something spontaneously, I would have to remember that until I am near my agenda again. Not a good idea.
2. Add birthdays to Google Contacts
I really like this functionality: if you use Google contacts, you can simply add the person’s birthday (the people you want to congratulate on their birthday, anyway). That birthday will then appear on your day in your Google Calendar. Super handy!
3. Use a “tasks” app
For tasks I also use one of Google’s gems: Google Tasks. The moment I think: “oh yes, I wanted / had to do that”, I put the task in Google Tasks. Only if I really want to have it completed on a certain date, I add a date. (This way I prevent that I have an immensely long I–will-never-be-able-to-succeed to-do list in one day). The task will then appear in my calendar on the deadline date. If it’s something I want to do “someday,” I add in my Tasks app without a date. It then is stored into some sort of receptacle, which I go through every now and then to see if I want to take on some of those tasks.
4. Use a fixed grocery list in your notes app
Groceries are those things that you often keep somewhere in the back of your head, like “oh yes I really have to remember that I still have to buy toilet paper” – and then you walk out of the supermarket with anything but toilet paper. Instead of that, I trained myself to think: “I have to buy toilet paper, so I’ll put it on my list NOW”. I use a fixed list for this in Google Keep, that is secured at the top of the page.
5. Marie Kondo your stuff every once in a while
I love Marie Kondo. For more than just practical reasons by the way, but I’ll come back to that later. Many people think Marie Kondo is all about throwing away as many things as possible, but that is not necessarily true. It is all about what you keep: only those things that really make you happy and that you really use. In general, after a good Marie Kondo session you (1) have much less stuff and (2) have given the stuff you want to keep deliberately a permanent place. The result: much more overview and fewer lost items.
That’s why, every once in a while, I have an extensive Marie Kondo session . Not at set times, but just when I feel my head is a bit full and I need some overview and clarity. After the session, I sell or give away the stuff I don’t want to keep. Killing four birds with one stone!
6. Sell your car
Just kidding. Buy a car that clearly indicates when you need to refuel ;).