Our minds aren’t for holding ideas.
Throughout your life, you must have had thousands and thousands of ideas. Some from the movies you’ve watched, the books you’ve read, or the various social interactions you’ve had. I’m sure you’ve also received hundreds and hundreds of advice regarding various things as well.
So, how much of those do you remember?
In a moment’s notice, like right now, you probably can’t recall most of them. Try as you might, you’re not gonna go very far. Our minds just aren’t that great at holding ideas. Sure, you might remember them if there’s a reminder or a prompt of some sort that triggers your memory. But to remember on demand? Probably not.
That’s probably why we write things down and keep reminders, so we can free up our minds from having to hold so many ideas and prevent ourselves from forgetting them at a moment’s notice. It’s also why some people make rules for themselves that they adhere to. This is especially useful when we’re feeling emotional and all rational thinking goes out the window.
To give an example, you might be aware of the idea that less is more and we should be single-tasking, focusing on the important tasks instead of spreading our attention over a bunch of distractions. Do less things, but do them better. A simple advice that would surely help in whatever field you work in.
But wait one week, and you would most probably forget about it and go about your life the exact same way before hearing that advice. You would be multitasking a lot, giving in to distractions, and getting yourself pulled in multiple directions all day long. And chances are, you would probably continue your life in a daze, unaware of the simple advice that would help.
If you’re lucky, you might get a wake-up call and realize the situation you’ve gotten yourself in. Then, you would start reflecting or look online for ways to solve your problem. Most likely, you would be trying to solve your problem from scratch and it will take you a while to remember the idea of single-tasking and doing less.
The solution? It’s easy, just set daily/weekly/monthly reminders on all the ideas you’ve found helpful or impactful. That’s it! Perhaps you might also consider setting up a few rules to follow, in the case of the above example, something like turning off your phone or then internet when writing your report would likely help.
And yes, this is something like a reminder to myself for setting my own reminders. It’s already the end of April and I’ve missed quite a lot of my goals. After a bit of reflecting, I found that I’ve been through all this before and have previously devised a working solution, which, unfortunately, I’ve forgotten all about.