Why do some people w/ poor memories refuse to write thing down?

My memory sucks. I have notes everywhere. I have almost used up all of the memory in my palm pilot. Post-its rock. Sometimes I even resort to recording lectures or my own thoughts. Some of my fellow CRSers (Can’t Remember Shit, haha) use the same methods to compensate.

Then there’s those like my great-uncle. They refuse to write down ANYTHING! I told him how to get on the internet about 50 times. He still won’t remember, and he still won’t copy the directions I give him! I know several other people like him. They miss appointments and events because they won’t use calendars. They go to grocery stores and forget key items, because they won’t make shopping lists. On and on.


I know the answer to this, but I can’t remember it at the moment.

Maybe they forget?

Heh - I write things down all the time, but often forget WHERE.

Or, I write things down, and somehow, that chases whatever it was out of my mind until much later, when I come across it, and remember that I wrote it down for a reason!

So I just ask my husband to remind me about things. Between the two of us, we usually remember the important things.

Pencil & paper are a pain. I got a small digital voice recorder that clips to my belt that holds 60 minutes of recording, and it’s my best friend!

Even keep it by the bed and night for when I awake at 3 am with some brilliant thought or something I will want to do the next day. In the car, you can record random thoughts or license plates of that idiot that cut you off.

Best invention since sliced bread. BTW, who invented the latter?

I write notes, then forget where I put the notes (which will usually be somewhere for ‘safekeeping’).

I can’t afford a palm-pilot at the moment, so there’s that idea out.

I note things down on my various calendars (the one in my mobile phone, my google calendar and a calendar I have at work). The only one that succeeds in reminding me is my phone calendar, because it has an alarm. The others I regularly forget to check, and then find a month later the notes I’d forgotten I write down.

I’m usually found near my work or home computer so I use Outlook task manager to remind me of everything even remotely important. I also send myself emails back and forth from home to work & vice versa if I think of something that I’m worried I’ll forget.

Works for me!

I write everything down but I think that habit has made my memory worse. Maybe if I make so many notes to myself, I’d for forced to exercise my memory more.

I find notes in my handwriting that make no sense at all

Examples: Meankate

               Heavy Alexander kimono

                1:30 -- Appointment

I do at least carry an appointment book. I can’t remember or plan without one. Don’t know how I ever did.

Well, the solution to those problems are routine. Put all your notes in one place. Maybe make a big sign that says “Notes to self here”. Put them all there. No exceptions.

And have a routine for checking your calenders. Check them all once a day or something like that, regardless of whether you think there’s something or not. Of course, it’ll be difficult to start said routine, but once you’re into it, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Not taking notes is better for learning your material. Writing notes just allows you to forget stuff, and most do. And unfortunately if you are in the habit of taking notes, you become dependent on them.

The downside though is that when you don’t use notes you filter out the stuff you just couldn’t care less about. For instance, personally I never cared about dates (i.e. date on which an event occured)–so while I could practically recite everything our history teacher had ever said about some particular event, if on the test he only asked about dates and names, I had no idea. But personally I’m fine with that as, hey I filtered out the stuff I couldn’t care the least about! (And I cared more about learning what I felt had actual value than getting a good grade in class.)

So, pretty much if your great-uncle isn’t remembering to do stuff, it’s not because he can’t remember, and it’s not because he didn’t take notes: It’s because he couldn’t care less.

In addition to the theories already suggested, I would like to propose that there is a certain element of denial connected with it in some cases. The people in question do not wish to admit that their memory is not as good as they wish it to be. If they were to take notes, it would be a sort of admission.

I generally write things down because I have a terrible memory. Well, I have a selectively bad memory - I can remember numbers and dates just fine, but assignments that are due and chores that need doing, not so good.

And I inevitably lose whatever it is I wrote the note on. I lose the post-it note, the PDA, the excel or word file, the notebook, the bleeping PC. So unless I’m very lucky and I somehow need to use the note before I manage to lose it, it’s just not much help.

Cripes. Sometimes I just want to put my head in a pencil sharpener.