My 3 favorite hacks for a slightly poor short-term memory

I have trouble remembering questions in meetings, or good ideas I get for projects at work which leap out at me during my commute. At work, I always have my laptop and my legal notepad, but sometimes I just need to remember something for 10 minutes. Usually I can’t, so I’ve developed coping mechanisms as part of my long-term goal to act more on-top-of-things than I feel (hi imposter syndrome!). Here are three of my memory hacks:

  1. Sign alphabet. In middle school I learned some basic sign-language, the core of which has stuck with me. When I’m trying to remember a question in a conversation or meeting and I can’t/don’t want to write it down, I form the first letter of the question’s subject with my hand and put it in my lap. It mostly looks like I’m fidgeting, but it works every time.
  2. Count the items. I learned this from the theater tech teacher in my high school: if you’re in a hurry (in a show; in the airport; on a train) and you have several important things you can’t forget, don’t try to remember what those things are–just remember the number of things. So when I’m carrying my bag, camera bag, jacket, and wallet I remember: 4. So when I get up to leave the train, if I have 4 things, I’m good to go.
  3. Emailing myself todo lists. I do this for work more than anything else, but if I have an idea for a project, or just want to remind myself of the day’s priorities, I email myself with those thoughts in the subject line. See below:

My todo list
What’re your tricks?

Inspirational Quote:

“The world shrieks and sinks talons into our hearts. This we call memory.”–Tim O’Brien, Tomcat in Love

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