A recent study in Bipolar Disorder found that those with the disorder had prospective memory impairments compared to those without the disorder. Prospective memory is the ability to plan to do something and later remember to carry it out.
Just today my prospective memory failed me as I had plan to make a crock pot meal for supper which involved combining the ingredients and turning the crock pot on low five hours ahead of when we planned on eating. I became engaged in other tasks, namely watching TV and stressing about getting my house cleaned for company this weekend, before I realized it was four hours before dinnertime and I hadn’t even started preparing the crock pot meal!
Now this isn’t as tragic as forgetting to take an infant out of the car before going into the store, or leaving a scalpel inside a patient after surgery, which are both examples of failing prospective memory, but it was annoying nonetheless. Next time I will set the timer on my microwave to remind me when I should have started the meal prep.
Here are some other ways to improve your prospective memory:
- use checklists
- write out when and where you intend to complete a future task
- use calendar alerts on your cell phone to remind you to do a task
- do not put off important tasks for later; do them now
- write the reminder on your hand
- tie a string around your finger
- leave a note on the door you exit everyday
How do you remember to do something later?