Lists are for People with CRS

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Honey! Do you know what time my dentist appointment is?

No. It’s your appointment, not mine. Don’t you keep a calendar?

Well, no, not for everything. Just important stuff.

And your dental health is not important?

Well, it is, but…

Sound familiar? I hope not, but many of us go through similar experiences daily. Maybe not with dental appointments, but certainly we all have moments of forgetfulness.

As humans, we think we are smart enough to remember stuff. I mean, we only use 10% of our brains, right? We have TONS of space to fill with this kind of stuff.

Except that we don’t.

Our brains are good at things like being creative, figuring out puzzles, and enjoying a glass of wine. Our brains are not good at remembering mundane things like appointments, lists, and long strings of numbers. (I’m looking at you, national debt.)

Think about it. When you go to the dentist, they give you a little card with the date and time of your next appointment because the receptionist knows you will forget that date a few hours later.

What you do with the appointment card at that point is up to you. Do you save it in a “safe place” (which you will certainly also forget) or do you enter it into your calendar?

(Or do you do like my friend at the top of this article and rely on your partner to remember for you?)

Look, we’re just not built for keeping this kind of information in our heads for more than a few minutes or maybe a few hours. Our brains just can’t handle it for any longer because there is little to associate with it.

But seriously, why would you want to keep that appointment in your head anyway? Imagine if you had to keep that reminder up there for six months. You would be thinking about it over and over and over again, every single day.

What a waste of time, energy, and brain strain. You’d be exhausted and probably a little irritated and wish there was a better way to meet your appointments. There is.

Just write it in your calendar.

Let’s face it, we just can’t remember everything all the time. And some of us have a chronic condition called CRS (Can’t Remember S#!t). It’s a horrible affliction and there is little help available from the medical field.

But there is promising research that shows that simply writing things down on a piece of paper can dramatically reduce the common symptoms of CRS. Making lists not only helps with recall, it alleviates the strain of trying to remember so many things each moment of the day.

In fact, there is a lot of science behind the psychology of list-making. Lists provide us with helpful outcomes according to author and psychologist Dr. David Cohen. He says that to-do lists do the following:

“They dampen anxiety about the chaos of life; they give us a structure, a plan that we can stick to; and they are proof of what we have achieved.”

– Dr. David Cohen

With all of this good-feeling list-making activity, it’s a good thing there are numerous options for getting items out of your head and onto paper:

  • Notepads
  • Sticky Notes
  • Calendars
  • Journals

Not only that, there are several systems available to meet your specific needs or preferences for keeping track of appointments, making lists, and achieving goals.

Let’s consider some ways to keep track of activities, tasks, and goals. The Career Contessa has a great post on the following list types.

  • Calendar Comparison List
  • Ivy Lee List
  • 1-3-5 List

I don’t want to steal her thunder, so go check her page to learn more.

As for me, I have to get back to work on that other thing I was supposed to do today. Now where is that reminder note? Hmmm.

Your Mindful Moment:

Use your brain to create ideas; use a notepad to carry them.

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