Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Email Yourself

Janet writes: Tim and I both have to go through some extra effort to remember everything we have to do in a day. We are busy people, have family members sharing vehicles, and we just can’t keep track of everything that’s going on. Add Tim’s MS into the mix and some of our days are scheduling disasters. When we found out how Tim’s cognitive issues were impacting his memory, we started searching for easy ways to adapt, and one of the easiest ways is email.

When Tim needs to remember something important that is happening later in the day, he writes it on our dry erase board and our calendar, enters it into his cell phone calendar, and then, if it’s really important, emails it to himself. He will either send a message from his phone to his email or ask me to send him an email reminder. This might seem like a lot of extra effort, but when an event Tim has to remember flies out of his memory in the time it takes to walk from the living room to the kitchen, all these steps are really important. If Tim walks past our calendar, he remembers what he has to do. If he checks his cell phone, he remembers what to do. If he checks his email, he remembers again what he has to do. After three or four repetitions with all these reminders, that event seeps into Tim’s memory and he is able to remember it without the reminders. These techniques act as the rehearsal of information that most people do in their heads when they want to remember something. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

I have my own memory problems, due to a loaded schedule and some hereditary scatterbrainedness (is that a word?) [Yup My Lovely Wife :) Tim writes lol], so I have begun to email myself as well. I find this technique very useful when I’m at home and need to remember something I have to do at work, or vice versa. I just send emails between my home and work accounts. When I open my email, I have that “oh yeah” moment when I receive the reminder. It’s a great supplement to the wall calendar and all my “sticky notes to self” on my desk.

Try some of these techniques if you are having difficulty using one reminder method. And please ignore any smart comments Tim has about my being a scatterbrain!

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