Some tips that will help:
Write it down: Sometimes just pouring all of your thoughts and worries and “to do” items onto paper takes away some of the brain noise. Journaling is growing in popularity for this very reason, I think. Sylvia Kirks McClintick of Organized Chaos, says journaling is a good way of decluttering the brain noise. Sometimes we keep going over and over something that needs to be done, so we don't forget it. Just write it down. Keeping it in your head is not a good use of space and probably won't be thought of at the right time anyway!
Post It: One of my favorite things to use to get something out of my mind -- but still not lose track of it entirely -- is Post It notes. I have them stuck all over my computer, my scanner, my dashboard in the car, etc. How did we ever live without these little wonders? There should be a national holiday to honor whoever invented these easy-to-use, inexpensive thought provokers. They should be standard issue in every office, home, car, purse, laptop bag, lunchbox or briefcase.
The Old Switcheroo: One good way to quiet brain noise is to replace it with other brain noise, Sylvia suggests. For example, she had a song stuck in her head, looping over and over, until she mentioned it to someone else. That person told her about the song she had stuck in her head, which replaced the one in Sylvia’s head. But the positive thing about this is that if we can replace a song with another song, then we can replace a song with affirmations. It may still be brain noise, but at least we could feel better about ourselves.
Quiet! It may seem silly to say just get quiet in order to quiet the brain noise in your head, but it works. Sylvia uses prayer, meditation, quiet music, and anything that can take away the external input and let her focus on what is going on in her head, talk with herself for a bit and perhaps get it to go away (even for a little while).
Meditation: Meditation may be the best way of all to remove mental clutter from your head. Look for some ways to do this in the next issue of Boom This!
Remembering to remember
Memory Games: Experts tell us to use clever techniques to attach to new memories before we file them away in our bulging memory banks so that, like metadata on a photo you have taken, we can retrieve them when we need to. Meet someone whose name is Joe? Maybe it would help to picture him sitting at a Starbucks, cup of Joe in his hand. Or maybe he resembles your brother-in-law who shares the same name.
Tricks of the Trade: Have to remember to refill a prescription? Put the old bottle smack dab in the middle of a space you will walk by often. I drag my Rx bottles down from the bedroom bathroom where they live and place them on our kitchen counter near the stove, the “staging” area for things I can’t forget. It annoys me to see them sitting there so out of place and therefore I am more apt to refill them quickly and put them back where they belong. I also place an empty bottle of cleaning fluid or the like on the counter until I add the item to the shopping list. I put the list on my fridge and add to it until I need enough items to make a trip to the store worthwhile.
Do it now: Need to take a certain report with you to a meeting later in the week? Put it in your car NOW so you will have it when you need it. Have a coupon you can use at your next visit to the barber shop or hair salon? Stick it in your briefcase or purse NOW. (You may not remember you have it -- that’s always a fear -- but if you do, there it is. How clever!)
Get Help: Logging in with the help of other’s brain power also may help you remember things. Out with my sisters-in-law the other day, it took three of us to come up with the name of an actor who is starring in an upcoming movie. For each of us alone, it would probably have been one of the (many) frustrating things we couldn’t remember that day and really wanted to. Ask people you are with to help you unearth a name or a date, or even better, when you are near a computer, Google it and then relax.
Computers can put our paltry memory banks to shame, so why not make use of their power to help? If you use a computer, you must have tons of passwords, so many that you may not be able to remember them when you need them. I write mine down in the back of a notebook, but then have to scroll through the pages to find the right entry when I need it. At Roboform, you can keep track of all of your passwords. (And remember to make your passwords a mish-mash of different letters and numbers. I read recently that hackers can search for information about us on the web and then keep inserting that information into our Password fields to see if something will work. Best to use something like “wt7Jn@p,” but then remember to keep track of it either in a safe place in your office or at Roboform.)
Another nifty computer aid is Toodledo, which keep tracks of your “to do” items for you, and can separate home and work items. And if you are on the road or away from your home or office often, Jott gives you the ability to call a number and have your message to yourself placed on a to-do list, in your email etc.
(There is a lot of information at these three sites, and I hope you will check them out more thoroughly when you have time.)
By Teresa K. Flatley