365.18: Recipes

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.”

We devise all sorts of systems for ourselves with the hope that they will make our lives better or more organized in some way. Maybe you’re the type of person who organizes his or her books in alphabetical order on the shelf. Maybe you have a system for organizing the digital photos you have saved on your computer. These make sense.

And so, you might have a system in place for trying to remember all those little tidbits of information that you have to remember. As Beryl Pfizer says above, maybe you take the time to write everything down so that you won’t forget anything. But this opens up another problem: how are you going to organize all those pieces of paper?

Remember that this kind of concept doesn’t only apply to physical sticky notes that you have attached to your monitor or scrap pieces of paper you have kicking around on your desk. We turn to various “to do” and note-taking apps on our computers and smartphones for this purpose too, but they can easily get lost, miscategorized or forgotten too. You can potentially eliminate one problem, only to create another.

Yes, it is true that you shouldn’t rely on your memory, because it is inherently unreliable. You might think that you can take that “mental note,” but with everything else happening in your skull, that “mental note” can end up in an unorganized pile like the one depicted above. The “system” needs to be more robust than that.

I’ve discussed this kind of concept when it comes to managing client preferences, but you can see how it can just as easily apply to all sorts of other life situations. Writing it down is a good idea, but it doesn’t help if you end up spending all your time trying to find that forgotten piece of paper either.