Brain on Paper

In the thick of the semester, does it get hard for you to keep track of everything you need to remember?

Have we got a post for you!

A key element of keeping your memory in tip-top working condition is to "keep your brain on paper." (Or on smartphone. Or on Google docs. Whatever works for you!)

This works for scheduling, yes, but also for your key items for an upcoming test, a new network contact's name, or that word you could not think of earlier in class no matter how hard you tried but remembered on your walk home (Dichotomous! That's what it was!).

Not everyone relishes relying a planner or similar system, but everyone can benefit from outsourcing their memory a little. The key is to remember to do it! (Write that down...)

The idea behind this principle is that when you write (or type) down something you need to remember, it becomes a concrete reference for the important item. This means your mind doesn't have to try to keep reminding itself what that nagging feeling is, and what it was that you had to do at 3 0'clock, on top of everything else you give it to process!

A major component to why this works is the fact that the act of writing something down helps you remember it better in your mind! This article explores this idea--that the action of writing things down helps to cement them in your memory, because things you make a concerted effort to focus on (like by writing it) are easier to remember later on and less likely to slip through the cracks. 
Have you ever noticed that the things you took time to take detailed notes on in class are generally easier to recall even without physically looking at the notes? That's the magic of writing stuff down!

You can even use this principle to tackle your big-time goals. Have you ever had a brilliant idea for how to reorganize your closet at 11:30pm and then the next day have no inkling of your epiphany? Next time, write it down! Never again will your most fruitful invention ideas be torn from your mind by the sticky grasp of sleepy-headedness.

Remember that even (and especially) the obvious things deserve to be documented. Sometimes the things you think are a complete given are the first to slip your memory, particularly when you're stressed and/or have a lot on your mind. 

So if you're having trouble juggling all the important things you have on your plate, take the time to outsource and cement your memory by writing it down. 

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