So far this week, I have managed to lose my Stars Card. I forgot I was cooking soup, and then burned the soup on the stove (strange things happen when water evaporates). I neglected to pick up my laundry, and went back to the laundry room to find my things placed into the dryer by a kindly stranger.
It took me a few days to realize it, in my new-semester-fog, but as I stood in line to get my replacement ID I finally understood: I am having a Blank Week.
What is a Blank Week? Simply a period 0f time in which your schedule becomes so overwhelming you forget even the simplest tasks. For me, Blank Weeks occur when I’m stressed about other portions of my life. I’m so involved with rehearsals and homework and errands that I forget to do the simplest things in my life.
So how do you fight the Blank Week forgetfulness? Here are a few tips to keep yourself (and your life) on track.
- Sleep it off: studies find that taking a nap can push the “reset” button on your brain. Napping benefits memory, and brain activity actually surges for the rest of the day after taking a nap.
- Pencil it in: make sure you write down things you need to remember, somewhere were you will actually see it. I keep a notebook with me, along with a planner, so I can write down quick “to-do” tips during the day. Another good spot: sticky-notes that can be pasted onto your mirror, bathroom cabinets, door, or other places you see each day.
- Trick Yourself: find memory tricks that work for you! Some people can remember long lists by linking the items. For example, if you need to buy toothpaste, toilet paper, and hairspray, you might imagine writing on toilet paper with toothpaste and spraying it with hairspray to stick. Ridiculous? Yes. But try forgetting that story when you go to the store!
- Phone a Friend: everything’s easier with a little help. Ask a friend who has the same commitment as you to remind you about it the day. For example, if you both have signed up for costume fittings on the same day, make a pact to check in with each other that morning for a reminder. This will provide a win-win: you both remember to keep your commitments.
- One Step at a Time: this is a difficult tip for our culture’s action-and-technology packed daily lives, but it is vitally important–make sure you focus on one activity at a time. You will be much more likely to retain information if you are totally invested in the task. For example, if you are studying, make sure you are completely focused on the task at hand, without the added stimulus of friends, Facebook, or television. While it might be difficult to tune out and tune in to your task, you’ll be happy come that important test or difficult essay.
What are your memory tips?