Managing Memory on the Cheap

It’s not new that taking notes, writing and playing with data makes it easy to remember the subject in question. I remember that back on school time when instead of cheating on the tests I would just prepare the cheat sheet and by doing so I would fix the matter and end up not even needing to cheat at all.
Another example is post-it cards that allow taking quick notes and thus exercising the subject in question before even getting back to it. After writing in one, before sticking on the wall I already get it stuck in my mind. In both cases I ended up having a document to refer to when in need of some help to refresh my mind, but still I had it much clearer in my mind.
Here are some habits that help me get on track by creating stronger references in memory for things I need to keep in mind or would like to use in the future:
Commenting when bookmarking to Delicious
A short summary of the link’s content or even my opinion about it, highlights of the most useful parts or maybe a quote took from the content.
Taking Meeting notes
Outline all topics covered and highlight all off-topics that might come in handy in the future. This one is really tricky to adhere to, a good trick is to start writing everything is said on the meeting, and then start filtering as the meeting goes on. This can be much easier for meetings with defined agendas. However, is very effective for meetings without agenda (interviews, 101s, brainstorming…).
Writing To-Do lists
Having a place to dump activities and action items for the future is really handy as it allows not only to quickly understand what will need to be done as it also makes it easier to get back on focus to what I was originally doing. Re-writing the to-do list each day is the ideal exercise to stay fresh on things I need to do.
Carrying a notebook and pen
I bought a really nice notebook and an ok pen that I carry with me everywhere now: I think, I write. This is especially handy to harden ideas and ensure I don’t waste them on the void of my (lack of) memory.
Keeping twitter as my personal journal is a good way to keep remarkable facts in mind. I don’t tweet that much, but I always take some time to drop a note there with things I find cool about my routine or special happenings. Having 3G is something that would definitely help me here, sadly I should only get it sometime around the end of the year.
Another good thing on twitter is using the favorite feature. You can always retweet things you really like and then already keep them in your memory line of sight, but faving it is a quieter way to do so.
Managing memory
These are really about managing memory and reinforcing references to remarkable and interesting things – I wouldn’t use it to manage my knowledge (i.e. keeping track of things I learn and things I should know) – and as memory is something really volatile for me, all techniques – if so I can call them – have to be as “cheap” as possible, which means they need to allow me to execute them really quick and get back on tracks, as I may need to do so while I’m working or while I’m focused on any other thing not related to them.
It’s really important to keep track of the resulting documents, even though I might never look to them again – just make sure they are at hand long enough to serve me while they might be helpful, but try really hard not to fall into the trap of messy post-it and notes all around the desk.
What about you, how do you keep up with memory?
Tagged: Life Management, Memory and Mind