How To Avoid The Feeling That You Forgot Something
Has this ever happened to you? You have locked the house and just about to get in the car and then you suddenly remember that you are not sure if you have turned off the light or switched off the gas connection to the stove or locked the house properly and then go back to the house and check it, only to see that you have done all was necessary but you just did not remember? I know I have and I do that on a consistent basis, esp with my car – even after checking I go back to my car to see if it is properly locked and there are times I do it more than once. Why does this happen? Is there any solution to it? Or is it just that we are too stupid?
Why does this happen?
This is the first question that comes to my mind. Why does this happen? We are intelligent people, we do things which are far more complex than this at ease but when it comes to such simple stuff we often falter. What is the reason? Call it rationalizations or reasons, here are a few I could come up with
– We are not conscious about it – These actions would be so simple that it happens on the background, inadvertently and we do not assign any additional consciousness to it. We are so sure that it happens in the background that most times we don’t even know that we are doing it or in other words, it doesn’t register.
It doesn’t mean anything. Especially it doesn’t mean that we are stupid, it just means that we need to assign a consciousness to the simple stuff we do.
Now we know the problem and we also know why it happens.What about the solution?
The trusted checklist!
The first and foremost thing anyone would suggest you is to make a checklist where you identify what all you need to do, including the very basic stuff. There is a great joy in crossing tasks off the list and I strongly urge you to try it out :). This certainly is a tried and tested solution and works really well when you are going out of the house for a few days or packing or performing an action which is not the most regular one. But how about the daily ones? It certainly is boring to make a list for the everyday basic functionalities. At the same time, I would like to remember what all I need to do so that there is a sense of completion and there is no nagging feeling that I might have forgotten something.
What are the things that you usually forget?
What are the things that you constantly check? For me it is pretty clear, I obsessively keep checking my car to see that I have locked it properly. What is it for you? Come on! Don’t be shy! We all do that. What are the most common things you tend to forget on a regular basis? The first stage of any challenge is identification and esp in this case it will be of prime importance.
What if we make it a conscious decision?
I understand that what we are dealing with here is very trivial, but it does take a lot of time for us to go back and check again. Wouldn’t it be easier to mentally click on a checklist when we are done with something? We already know the usual stuff which takes a lot of time to avoid that constant nagging feeling that we might have forgotten something. Simply stated, I would suggest patting your back each time you do this trivial act. Each time you turn of the light, send a message to yourself saying that you have, notice it, consciously tell yourself that. Do this to all the acts you do and forget on a normal basis. We have made this act of forgetting an unconscious part of our action, can we not try and make it a conscious one instead?
Pat your back
Each time you do this, make a conscious decision and be aware of it, pat yourself on the back, tell yourself what a good job you have done. I do agree that it is a very small thing and you have a lot of important things to do. The only reason I am suggesting this is that you don’t want a trivial thought to be running on your mind when you are taking an important decision. You would want your entire focus on that one important thing – not the question whether you have turned off the stove or not.
Let it become unconscious
So far all of these normal acts happen on a subconscious level and you hardly notice it. In this case, what we do is pretty simple, we notice it. We identify it and solve it till it becomes a habit. And once this becomes a habit, before you know you have already solved the problem and it does not become a burden or an irritation any more.
I can hear a couple of them saying – Easier said than done!
But it actually is easier doing it as well. Give it a shot 🙂
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