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{27/11/2012}   Highlighter pens are the key to remembering things

I once knew someone through work whose diary was a bright array of flourescent colours.  Her diary always fascinated me and it was apparent she was highly dependent on it and that it made her life easier than it probably would otherwise have been.  One day I asked her about it.  It transpired that she used different colours for different kinds of chores/appointments.  She said she could look ahead in her diary and see what kind of work she had coming up based on the colours.  I have, to an extent, started adopting the colour code thing and it has made my diary look lovely.  But, as with so many things I blog about, I fear I am revealing myself to be a tad more anal than I like to to think I am.

I never used to keep much if any of an appointments diary (it was all stored in my head – pff, like that would work now!), I rarely wrote to do lists, shopping lists, packing lists and Christmas card lists and all went smoothly.  I now keep an appointments and work diary and I carry around a notepad full of lists.  And sometimes, when I feel the likelihood of forgetting something is great, I even set an alarm on my phone to remind me to do things.  I do generally remember all these things but having them written down makes me feel more confident and secure in my memory recall.

So, yes, I have adopted a multicoloured highlighter pen system.  I dread to think what will happen when (and it will be when not if) I don’t have the right colour to hand or, panic stations, I mark something in the wrong colour.  However, for now I am enjoying highlighting things in my diary.  I’m not going to embarrass myself completely by telling you what colours and for what diary entries but suffice to say, there is logic to it all in my mind.  It has also made the updating of my diary something I actually enjoy doing and it is very satisfying, especially now as I am in possession of a pack of six different coloured highlighter pens with chisel and bullet tips, double-ended no less.

In part, this is perhaps a bit unnecessary and excessive but I’m sure it’s making me organised and it’s changed the way I picture my diary.  So when people as if I’m free on such and such a date, I am beginning to be able to picture my diary and at the very least know if anything is written on that date.  I feel like I am very slowly learning to use my memory again and better recall things.  So, for example, when someone asked me the other day about a weekend in December, I knew I had something written down there so said that I might not be free.  I kept thinking and then I remembered a) there had been something written down for the Friday and b) that I had vigorously crossed it out when I found out it had cancelled and c) what it was that I would otherwise have been busy doing were it not now cancelled.  I was very pleased with myself for that recall.  Maybe I would have remembered anyway but I appreciated the thought process that got me there and I was confident I was correct; indeed I was.

So while I may be mildly embarrassed at the thought of anyone seeing the array of highlighter pen colours all over my diary, I have reason to be smug that it is making me remember things much better than I have done for the past ten or more years!

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