Have you ever arrived at work, seen a colleague with whom you had said you would spend time after work, and only then remembered your needed to bring a spare change of clothes? Or can you think of a similar story that is true for you? The brain is very good at analyzing and creating, but awful at remembering. If you give it the task of remembering:
- You might forget,
- Your brain doesn’t know when it should remind you, so it brings a reminder to your attention as and when it remembers. And it does so with great urgency for you to do it immediately. It would be far more helpful if the brain reminded you at a suitable time.
To emphasize my second point, imagine entering your office to print an important document. Now imagine seeing above you a bulb that needs replacing, which you said you would take care of two days ago. Your brain, who you left responsible for reminding you to replace the bulb, gives you overwhelming pressure to change it right now, not later, now. So much so that you might forget to print out the document. Your brain has no way to postpone reminding you. So its best chance of ensuring you do the task is to try to make you do it immediately. Despite the importance of printing that document. Those who trust their minds with reminders are either unwise or uneducated.
The Two-Part Tool for Remembering
The key to remembering something is a tool of two parts:
- A trustworthy system capable of reminding you
- The act of putting a reminder into that trustworthy system.
So, put simply, to remember something, you need to have a system you can trust to remind you, and you need to use it.
Note, you could also use a trustworthy human. In this case, the two parts are; a trustworthy human and asking them to remind you. Hereon, I will continue describing the use of a trustworthy system.
As an example, consider an individual who leaves a note on their front door to remind them of something on their way out for work. Here, the trustworthy system is their use of the front door, which they use every morning to go to work and will notice a note if one is there. Their act of attaching a note to the door fulfills the second part and ensures that they remember.
If the individual using this system had more than one door to the house and sometimes left via the other door, they might not see a note left on the front door rendering this system untrustworthy. Using the system, in this case, would not guarantee they remember.
Each Part of the Tool is Binary; Either True or False
Each of these parts is binary and can either be true or false. There is no “grey area” in-between. I.e.:
- You either possess a trustworthy system capable of reminding you, or you do not, and
- You either put a reminder into your trustworthy system, or you do not
There are therefore four possible combinations of these parts
|You possess a trustworthy system||You put a reminder into your trustworthy system|
Only the first combination (true & true) results in you remembering to do something. The other three all result in potential or certain forget.
How I Use This Two-Part Tool
I have described the theory behind a system that effectively ensures you never forget something. The system I have built using this theory will take much longer to explain, but I want to share it with you. Subscribe to my blog so you know when I post again on the subject.
My system is just one of many tools I will share in a Masterclass I am developing for those who wish to heighten their effectiveness on the construction site.