Memory Strategies for Busy Lives
Picking Up the Kids
If you’ve forgotten, you’re not the first. Avoid leaving your child stranded by setting an alarm on your smartphone or laptop, and give yourself extra transit minutes or time to disengage from what you’re absorbed in.
Forgetting Where You Left Something
Assign a regular location for frequently lost items: a key hook on the wall for car keys, a shelf in the laundry room for your purse, a bulletin board for permission slips. For the items that move with you from place to place, consider whether you need duplicates in other parts of the house, such as a roll of tape in both the kitchen and your desk.
As soon as you open the envelope to check how much you owe (ouch!), take a look at the due date and write it on the outside of the envelope. Stop to check once a week and you’ll never miss paying a bill. If you’ve subscribed to paperless billing, as soon as the email hits your inbox, add paying the bill to your calendar (a few days before it’s due to give yourself a cushion). Or sign up for automatic bill pay and forget having to remember at all.
Forgetting an Errand
Keep a list of errands in a convenient spot at home. You could do the same digitally on your smartphone, using a notepad app. Add texts from your spouse and kids when they ask if you can grab something for them while you’re out.
Taking or Giving Medication
You should take your medication or give your kids their medication at the same time each day. Try incorporating the process with another regular activity, such as sitting down to breakfast or brushing your teeth. A routine activity no longer needs to be “remembered” because it becomes automatic.
To improve your recall, make a point of repeating the name back to the person when you meet them. As you part ways, say it again. If you’ve already forgotten, go ahead and ask them to remind you and use their name again as you say goodbye. Write it later – phonetically for difficult-to-pronounce names – for added retention.
Tracking Life Goals
We often recognize what we want to do in life, but our lack of focus may impact our success. Keep track of goals by writing them down. Having a written list posted where you see it regularly improves your odds of reaching those goals.
These free apps offer short games to improve your memory. They challenge your brain with different types of work – from concentration, to writing and listening, to memory and more. All come with paid versions, but the free version will often give you enough of a workout without having to pay.
Elevate by Elevate Inc. has 40+ activities to help train communication and analytical skills. The game-based program adjusts over time based on performance
Peak by Brainbow pushes your cognitive skills by using games that test focus, memory, problem solving and more. A built-in “coach” encourages you to try new workouts and tracks your progress.
Lumosity by Lumos Labs, Inc. has 50+ games developed to measure cognitive ability. When beginning, you take a baseline test to see how you score among other age groups. Daily workouts are then provided that adapt to your skill level, keeping you challenged.
– Lara Krupicka