Monday, August 3

Nangle Natters: What was it again?

- August 21, 2017

Mr_pipo_Learning_and_forgetting

I hate it when I think I’ve forgotten to do something. You know, that feeling where you were about to do a thing, then got distracted and are left with the impression that there’s a task still to be done but no memory of what it actually is.

It’s a not infrequent feeling for me. I try to battle it with the reassurance that I’m not a brain surgeon and no one is going to die if I forget something. That and deep steady breathing. It’s probably a contributing factor as to why I’m not the easiest to pin down to commit to do anything or to be anywhere. I write whatever is finally scheduled in my paper diary. In pen.

In my battle against the dropped ball amongst those juggled and kept in the air, I do like lists. I have one at my desk at work with my main tasks bullet pointed, written on the last leaf of a Post-It pad and stuck into the back of a note book. It’s been there for about six months, with occasional additions made, just so that in the middle of an ad hoc maelstrom of interview opportunities and lunch orders I can double check that I haven’t lost track of any of the main things I do each week. I consult it whenever I get that feeling of having mislaid my train of thought – and it helps.

That feeling of having mislaid my train of thought

Other ‘aide-mémoires’ include lists in Notes on my iPhone, remembering the number of things I had to buy when I go into a shop – a kind of hierarchy of memory if you like: I need three things, bread, milk and… mint Poppets – and putting reminders in plain sight.

Obviousness is not an asset to be overlooked. My bedside table holds books I want to read and hayfever tablets I need to take so that when the pollen count is high I don’t accidentally wake myself up snoring. Go to bed, look to turn the light off – bang! See the tablets and take one.

Essentially though, what I need to remember is that when I start to forget things – it means I have too many things to remember. Comedian Daniel Kitson had a good response to this. He said he always phoned up his Mum for her cake recipe. She asked why he didn’t ever remember it himself, the number of times he called. His response: I keep that information in your head. So I shall start keeping things to be remembered in other people’s heads instead of mine.




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