Posted on: 14/03/2011

Of all the people I currently know, with the possible exception of my 92-year-old grandma-in-law, I feel I can safely say that I have the worst memory.  Short term memory, that is.  I know we all forget stuff from time to time, but I do feel like time-to-time is an inadequate description for how often I forget stuff. Important things and all.

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I was never that great at remembering stuff.  Being a daydreamy kind of child, I was always forgetting things, to the despair of my parents.  At the time, I just thought it would get better as I got older.

Then I got older and I was still just as scatty.  Noticeably worse when I had chronic fatigue syndrome years ago – as a poor poor friend will testify, I even forgot to go to the cinema one time (said friend, having bought the tickets, had to see the movie all alone).  And that has not improved with children either.  It is almost like each child fills up a certain amount of brain space, and the memories get pushed out further and further with each child.  Or maybe it has to do with tiredness?  That would explain it being exacerbated with the chronic fatigue; it’s even a medically established symptom.

Sometimes it almost seems to be subconsciously selective, though please believe me when I say these examples were definitely not deliberate! Remembering to do the reading for the Sunday communion, which, at 9.30am does involve sacrificing a lie-in, for example.  How about remembering to turn up for a physiotherapy appointment when, as a student, I can’t easily afford it.  Yup, I have forgotten both these things and more.

Sometimes it’s just horribly random.  Such as when the rest of the school turned up in spots for Children in Need day at school, and oldest child was the only one still in school uniform.  Such as at work, where you think you’ve arranged a meeting for your boss, you send him across London, and he discovers for you you’d forgotten to tell the other person.  All in all, not good.

It’s particularly annoying if I am teaching a class, and I lose my train of thought mid-sentence.  And I bet there’s one or two of you reading this where I’ve forgotten to turn up somewhere and you’ve just been too polite to tell me.

I once read a book on how to remember stuff better, but it was really no help unless you had no pencil for a shopping list (you were supposed to visualise stuff in a certain way, and then think of those things in the supermarket as you went round), so if anyone has any techniques to improve memory retention that are vaguely realistic, I’m all ears.

And if you’re one of the many, many victims of my forgetfulness, I apologise!


3 Responses to "Scatterbrain"

I’m like this too. Luckily it seldom matters since Dawn has an amazing memory and even Bea is constantly reminding me of things (especially relating to her school stuff). Also, my computer now helps me remember stuff in all sorts of ways. I’d have been even more rubbish 100 years ago!

I have quite a good memory, but still find I have to write everything down. As soon as the kids come in from school, I ask for any letters they have that day and deal with them immediately, noting in the diary any special school days, trips and party details etc. I also write down when bills need paying (though direct debit has reduced the need for this), birthdays, car insurance and MOT renewal dates. Every morning, I check not only what is happening today, but also a few days ahead in case there’s anything I need to prepare for. I also find keeping the dairy in the same place helps too.

I don’t use one, but those family organiser calendars are great for keeping track of everyones activities.

I agree with you both! I use an online calendar which I can access from my mobile, or else I’d be lost. Used to have a paper diary but C couldn’t access that from work. However I still need to remember to check it. Good idea about birthdays/car insurance/MOT renewal etc. One day I’ll get round to adding them…one day…

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