Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Write it down!

The human brain is a marvellous and mysterious thing. Carrying out 24/7 monitoring and managing of thousands of body processes and capable of storing, organising and retrieving millions of items of information. And yet I regularly reach the top of the stairs and wonder what it was I had ascended them for. Or have a 'brilliant' thought during a long car journey, then realise that although I remember having the thought, I can't remember what it was. Or hear a song, like it, but - within minutes - forget what it's called, or who it's by.

Now I'm sure that neuroscientists will eventually find a logical explanation for this, and there may even be a day when there are ways of 'logging' your brain's processes. Until that day, we're stuck with more mundane methods of remembering things.

I've investigated and tried a lot of methods of making sure I don't forget things. Computers are helpful, mobile phones better... but probably the most useful tool in my 'don't forget' armoury are 12 x 8cm cards. And a writing implement. Pieces of card are cheap, require no power source, are rugged and disposable. And my brain's OCR equipment is brilliant at interpreting even the most illegible scribbles.

And by keeping to a 'one card, one idea' principle, they are easily filed or carried, before eventually being disposed once the task has been completed, or transferred to appropriate digital storage systems.

Now, where did i put that pen?


Major Look said...

I find that voice recording onto my PDA or onto my phone is good - but I still have to remember to listen to it at a later date ;-)

brett jordan said...

yep, that can work

but you have to listen to the voice messages consecutively... i can leave a number of the cards on the desk and scan them quickly... throw them away, add notes, make diagrams, pass one on to someone else... it is somehow more intuitive...

but i do use the mobile in the car, usually by making a text and emailing it to myself

Skep said...

A good idea in practise, but what about when you run out of card? Where do you write it down to get some more? Or what about losing pens, due to not remembering where you put them? It seems we need these "pen" things and "card" dealies surgically attached to us somehow...

brett jordan said...

agreed, there are no perfect solutions

although pulling back a nail until it bleeds, dipping your little finger in the blood and writing on the inside of your forearm is a good way of simultaneously making a quick note, and making sure you NEVER forget to have plentiful supplies of both card and writing implements ever again :-)