While it is true that there are many tricks for improving memory, it is also true that there are many ways to avoid needing to rely on your memory.

• Leave written reminders for yourself in places that you pass throughout the day. A sticky note on your desk phone could help you remember to call your child’s doctor. A piece of tape on your watch with a note saying, “Mom” could help you remember to send Mother’s Day flowers. A large note on top of your briefcase could remind you to stop in the mailroom on your way out of work. Take advantage of your own established routines to leave yourself reminders.

• Use a timer with an alarm to remind you of the important things you need to do during the day, such as to make your conference call, finish the laundry, or leave the office in time to make a meeting across town. In the meantime, you will not be preoccupied with checking the clock every couple of minutes – you need only to wait for the alarm.

• When you have a good idea seize the moment and remind yourself. If you think of a good idea for work while watching a TV show at home over the weekend, call your extension and leave a message on your voice mail to help remind you of your insight. Or call your answering machine at home to leave reminders for yourself about things you need to do that evening. Don’t let your inspiration slip away. You will check your voicemail first thing in the morning anyway. Use available technology to remind yourself of brilliant ideas, your child’s soccer game, or just to take out the trash.

• A “memory pocket” is a specific place in your coat, bag, home or office in which ‘reminders to self’ are put. This is where bills that need to be paid, list of calls to make, or supplies to buy may be kept. Once you are accustomed to using this specified location as a place to put reminders, it will become habitual to check this place.

• Your greatest weapon in fighting absentmindedness is order. Create order in your life and reduce absentmindedness by using regular fixed places for all those things you waste time looking for. If you spend time needlessly looking for your car keys, decide once and for all on one place to rest them when you arrive home each day. Put them there consciously until it is just a reflex and you don’t have to think about it.

• Establish a productive work routine. I had a boring class in graduate school that had a huge reading load. I figured that I needed to read an article a day everyday or I’d not pass the class so I made a rule: No breakfast until I’ve read an article. I had some very late breakfasts, but I stuck to the rule and got an A in the class.

• The longer you wait to do something, the more likely you are to forget to do it so as much as possible, do a thing as soon as you think of it.

Author's Bio: 

Tad Waddington says he achieved literacy while getting his MA from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School where he focused on the history of Chinese religions. He achieved numeracy while getting his PhD from the University of Chicago in measurement, evaluation and statistical analysis. He achieved efficacy as Director of Performance Measurement for Accenture. He is currently seeking to achieve a legacy with such books as Return on Learning and Lasting Contribution. To find out more, go to www.lastingcontribution.com.