Prevent forgetting — do not think about it twice
by Dr. Larry F. Waldman —
When we forget something, the implication is that we did not think about the item. That is a misnomer. In most cases we have, in fact, considered the item at one time or another, but we “forgot” because we failed to think about the item at the critical time, such as when we left the house. We even tell ourselves to be sure to remember something, but unfortunately we become distracted and, again, fail to contemplate the item at the important juncture.
We forget simply because we make ourselves think about things twice. To prevent forgetting, do not make yourself think about things twice, but instead act on the first thought.
Consider the following examples: If you need a file for work or school, do not tell yourself to try to remember to bring it; instead, take that file when you first consider it and immediately place it in your briefcase or book bag and put it by the door or in the car.
If you want to take something to a dinner party, put it in the car when you first think of it; if the item needs to be refrigerated, put a sticky note on the steering wheel of your car. When you finish a report, take it out of the printer and put it where it needs to be, rather than waiting to do so in the morning and risk leaving it on the printer.
Many times while driving I suddenly think that I have forgotten something, only to recall that the item is in the car because I had put it there the night before. These experiences continue to reinforce for me that had I not acted on my first contemplation, I would have definitel forgotten.
Larry F. Waldman, Ph.D., ABPP, is a licensed psychologist who has practiced in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix for over 35 years. He is an author and teaches graduate courses for the Educational Psychology Department for Northern Arizona University. 602-996-8619, firstname.lastname@example.org or topphoenixpsychologist.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 6, December 2014/January 2015.