When I took a course in journalism, one of the tips in the course was to have a writing pad everywhere. Since I am a very good student, I did whatever they said. I had a writing pad in the car, in all my bags and even next to my bed. It is funny that only after you use a handy tip for a while, you realize how much you need it. Originally, this tip was meant to help me with my work, and it did, but I never thought it would be so beneficial for us as a family until I realized that the note pads I had put in so many places around the house were being used by all the members of my family.
With the very hectic and full lifestyle that we have today, remembering everything that needs to be done occupies a very important and limited space in our memory. If you ask parents to sit down and write the entire to-do list for the week, most of them could do it for 3 hours straight.
Of course, the more kids you have at home, the more memory space you need for your timetable and tasks. You need to remember the dates of rehearsals, what to bring to school, when to pay for the dance class, to call your sister, say happy birthday to your friend, coordinate an outing with your partner, get a babysitter, have enough money in your wallet/purse when you go to the market, to buy a gift for the party your daughter is invited to on the weekend, go over the spelling with your child before the exam, send the right uniform on the excursion day, change the pickup time, dentist appointment, add turmeric to the shopping list for the Moroccan dish planned for Friday and … the list is endless.
We have a good friend that says, “The opposite of forgetting is writing down”, but what happens when you need to remember something while you are driving or when you are in bed, ready to go to sleep?
The thought of going to look for a piece of paper and a pen is probably going to make you reject the idea of writing it down and you will overload your memory again.
In the car
When I drive on my own, I get to think a lot about my to-do list. Luckily, my memory is very well organized. I can go in my mind to a certain time of day, imagine myself there easily and remember what I need to do or what things I need to complete an assignment. Not everyone is like that, so sometimes, writing a single word on a piece of paper is enough to remind you what needs to be done.
Make sure you have a notepad and a pen in your car and make sure you take any notes you have written with you when you leave the car.
Going to sleep is the time when I am most relaxed and all the things I need to remember pop up. The human memory works best where we are calm, so that is no surprise.
Writing down what we need to remember will make your sleep better if you put your thoughts on the paper and no longer have to carry them in your memory. If you remember something when you are in bed and the lights are off, get up, turn the lights on and write it down. Have a pad and a pen/pencil next to your bed.
Make sure to take your notes with you when you wake up in the morning.
You will often find that when you are fresh from a good sleep, you will wake up with more ideas about things to do. Write them down too. You do not have to hold them in your memory until you do them. You can always carry them on a piece of paper instead.
Next to the phone
Having a piece of paper and a pen next to the phone make sense, because we often need to write down numbers and other details when we are on the phone.
It is also important to teach all members of the family to take notes and notify others when someone calls and looks for them. It is embarrassing when one of your kids complains you have forgotten to let them know they were invited to a party. It is annoying when someone else gets a message for you and then forgets it.
On the fridge
The fridge is a good central place to post notes, messages for others in the household and, of course, the shopping list.
Writing the shopping list gradually is a great way to free up lots of memory space in every parent’s brain. Write down “dishwasher tablets” 1 week before the run out, “milk” when you open the last bottle, “garbage bags” when you use one and you see there are only 5-6 left in the roll, etc.
Shopping is also much faster when you have a list and you tend to shop less with your hunger or imagination without constantly wondering “Do we have enough toilet paper?”
I ask the kids to write things on the list whenever they want something, when they discover that something is about to run out and when I am too far away or my hands are wet. This way, they develop this great habit too, everybody gets what they want and nobody needs to remember.
In the toilets
As I said, whenever we relax, we remember things better. Going to the toilet makes many people remember what they need to do. Since you cannot just get up and walk to the fridge, you should always have a piece of paper and a pen in the toilet, so you can them it whenever you want to keep something from slipping out of your memory.
At the entrance
A notepad at the entrance to your home can be used to send messages to each other. Our 22-year-old daughter Eden often comes home late and we leave messages for her. We use a small whiteboard to write love letters, requests and things to do for each other. Sometimes, it is just love messages and other times, it is information about the day after that she needs to be aware of. When Gal and I go out and she gets home before we do, she writes us notes and it is great fun to find them.
You place of work is the most important place to have a writing pad. It is also important that the pad at work is not just a piece of paper that can get lost in the pile of other papers. You can have it in different color paper, stamped or with lines, but you have to know that this kind of paper is where you collect all the ideas and your to-do list and that you cannot ignore it.
When it is time to stop working and there is something we still need to take care of, I put a note on my laptop and Gal puts his on his keyboard, so when we get there in the morning, we see it before we turn the computer on and take care of it first.
Make your own notepads
In our family, we have notepads everywhere. I have taken all our recycled paper, stapled or glued it and cut it in half to make writing pads from it. Notepads do not have to be fancy. They just need to be available. Now, my kids use them as much as I do.
For a little space in your memory, I think this is a very handy tip.
Have an organized day,
This post is part of the series Handy Family Tips:
- Make Your Bed to Make Your Day
- Handy Family Tips: Dishwasher
- Handy Family Tips: Pre-Marinating
- Handy Family Tips: Kitchen Scissors
- Handy Family Tips: First use date
- Handy Family Tips: Kids’ Artwork
- Handy Family Tips: Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Smelly bins
- Handy Family Tips: Treasure box
- Handy Family Tips: Glass jars
- Handy Family Tips: On time is late
- Handy Family Tip: Early is on time
- Handy Family Tips: Electric toothbrush
- Handy Family Tips: Make a Note
- Handy Family Tips: Laundry day
- Handy Family Tips: How to Peel Avocado
- Handy Family Tips: Bathroom Art
- Handy Family Tips: Easy Healthy Spread
- Handy Family Tips: Wake Up With a Smile
- Handy Family Tips: Color Coded Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Road Trip Games
- Handy Family Tips: How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
- Handy Family Tips: What to Do When There is No Shaving Cream?
- How to Control Your Kids’ Mobile Phone Use at Night