Everyone forgets things from time to time but it seems the more kids I have, the more forgetful I become. It is frustrating, and sometimes costly, to forget an appointment or an important deadline but when you notice it is happening regularly, it’s time to get organized. What are some easy tips parents can use to improve memory?
Write it down
“I am a paper person. I have a spiral notebook I write everything in.” says Kansas mom, Jean Janner. “I use them for menu planning, shopping lists, to-do lists, notes from phone calls and doctor appointments, and holiday and vacation planning. I write the date on the front so I can look back if needed.” According to a study done at UCLA, taking notes, rather than typing on a laptop, improves memory. Therefore, it can be assumed that taking notes during a meeting, writing to-do and shopping lists, and using paper calendars and planners should help you remember more easily.
There’s an app for that
If you prefer to go paperless, there are great ways to use technology to help you remember what you have on your plate today. “Everything, no matter how trivial, goes on a list or calendar in an app I use on my phone.” says Colorado mom, Kara Thomas. “I cannot imagine motherhood without it.” Many families like the ease of electronic calendars because they can be shared easily with all family members. “My husband and I have a calendar where we store all our information which is automatically shared.” says Holly Searls, mom of four. “I also utilize the alarm function on my phone. I set alarms and name them for recurring events and select the days I want them to go off.” This can be used for appointments, reminders to take medicine, or to grab the library books for school. The key to using technology effectively is to be diligent about entering the information as soon as it’s received.
Take care of yourself
When you are overtired, hungry, or stressed it can be hard to prioritize, organize, and remember what needs to be done. A good night’s sleep can do wonders to help improve memory. Similarly, a healthy diet low in saturated fats can help keep your mind sharp. Eating empty calories will cause you to feel tired and sluggish, making it difficult to focus. If you are already eating and sleeping well, try adding cardiovascular activity to your day. Exercise can greatly improve memory. Depending on your fitness level, start with 10-20 minutes of brisk walking each day to give yourself a boost.
The art of multitasking
Parents become great multitaskers. We simultaneously pack school lunches, feed the kids breakfast, watch the news, and go through a mental checklist for the day. While this can be a very useful tool, it can also adversely affect memory. When our minds are occupied with multiple things at once it is far too easy to forget one of them. With the constant bombardment of information in today’s society, it can be hard to break this habit. Try sitting down for a few minutes in the morning and focusing on what needs to be done. Prioritize your tasks, set reminders on your phone, make lists, and check the calendar to ensure you don’t miss anything important.
You can improve your memory by doing things you enjoy or trying something new. One way to keep our minds sharp is to take on new challenges on a regular basis. Learn to play the piano or take up knitting, read a book or work on logic puzzles, or simply visit a museum and learn something new. When we keep our minds active and sharp, our memory improves. You are never too old to learn something new!