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  • 3 people were explaining to me how writing down things

    makes one lose his memory. I was trying to respond but they absolutely denied that writing down what one needs to do is the way to do it in this day and age. One of their arguments was that now that everyone has phone numbers in a cell phone (and on a speed dial) they can't remember numbers any more.

    They were really ganging up on me disparaging my Palm and my organization methods which left me perplexed... Now, I have always learned foreign languages so I always train my memory. And I have not had any problems lately remembering numbers, facts, etc.

    Anyone here can tell me what I should have said in response?

  • #2
    About lists.

    Ask them if they have never forgot to take something important when they were going to vacation or business trip and if they were never afraid that they forgot about some important commitment?
    TesTeq

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    • #3
      Tell them..

      ... that that is exactly the point of the exercise.

      You don't WANT to remember X telephone numbers.

      Keeping lists of all the unimportant "memory clutter" keeps your head free to do nice, beautiful, creative, amazing, wonderful, dreamy, imaginative, cool, crazy, off-the-wall, lovely, inspiring things instead of ....
      ...reminding you to buy butter.

      ::: emp :::

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      • #4
        Lists

        Phone numbers have to be stored in a cell phone to insure timely and accurrate recall - so do todos (NA's).

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        • #5
          Re: 3 people were explaining to me how writing down things

          Originally posted by alsa
          makes one lose his memory. I was trying to respond but they absolutely denied that writing down what one needs to do is the way to do it in this day and age....

          They were really ganging up on me disparaging my Palm and my organization methods which left me perplexed....

          Anyone here can tell me what I should have said in response?
          Alsa,

          A lot of times when you do something different in life, you will attract a crowd of self-styled "experts" who will pooh-pooh what you are doing. The key question here is whether or not they are worth listening to. Are they any more effective, efficient, and organized than you are? If not, then why should you care what they think, and why should you bother answering their inane opinions? These are the kind of people who would disparage your diet when they are fifty pounds overweight, or disparage your investment strategies when they are flat broke.

          If this is the case, my suggestion is that you just roll your eyes and walk away.

          Comment


          • #6
            Interestingly, I've found that writing things down (and getting them out of my head) has helped me remember then when I need to, even without reference to the written item!

            Specifically, at work I park in a multi-level self-park garage. Almost every day I park on a different level. Previously, at least 2-3 days a week I'd forget which level I parked on by the end of the day. If I didn't guess right, I ended up walking up and down flights of stairs looking for my car.

            Then I decided to enter the level on my CLIE as an untimed appt for the day (so it appears at the top of the Palm calendar app).

            What I've noticed is that now that I've written it down, on the way out to the garage I almost always remember what level I parked on, even without checking my calendar.

            I can't really explain it, but at least in my experience is disproves the argument you were faced with.

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            • #7
              Re: Tell them..

              Originally posted by emp
              ... that that is exactly the point of the exercise.

              You don't WANT to remember X telephone numbers.

              Keeping lists of all the unimportant "memory clutter" keeps your head free to do nice, beautiful, creative, amazing, wonderful, dreamy, imaginative, cool, crazy, off-the-wall, lovely, inspiring things instead of ....
              ...reminding you to buy butter.

              ::: emp :::
              I agree. I think that it is less not being able to remember phone numbers anymore, and more not having to waste the psychic RAM to remember them. We can do better more creative things with our minds...if we would just use them for those things.

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              • #8
                that's ridiculous

                I do research in cognitive science, the foundation of which is the study of learning and memory. It's ridiculous to assert that writing something down will make you LOSE your memory. The only things that cause you to lose your memory are time (memories decay over time, becoming less strong), or disease (such as Alzheimer's). Writing something down, as Esquire has noticed, ENHANCES memory and retrieval.

                The key thing about human memory is that it is limited by time, not space. Your computer's hard drive can only hold so much information, because each bit uses space. Not so in the brain, that we know of. Instead, it takes TIME (in terms of repetition) to form a memory trace. Every single memory, whether a fact (the phone number of your HMO), or a skill (how to tie shoelaces), is strengthened by repetition, and repetition takes time.

                I have maybe 200 phone numbers in my PDA. Yes, I COULD memorize them all. There is no known limit to human memory capacity. But there IS a limit to how many things we can do, mentally, at once. That limit is also a limitation of time. So while I'm memorizing all the phone numbers on my list, I'm unable to do anything else. And the payoff? The few times per year I might use most of those numbers, I just think of 'em and punch 'em into the phone. High cost (time to memorize), low value. Instead, I save a great deal of time by NOT memorizing them, but instead putting them in my PDA where I can quickly look them up.

                So the next time you talk to these people, point out that they must be wasting a tremendous amount of time memorizing facts they could quickly and easily look up. Use your memory for something more interesting than phone numbers.

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                • #9
                  I have always liked Henry Ford's response when he was chastised for his lack of knowledge about business details and automobiles. He said something to the effect that he didn't have to waste his time memorizing all the details because he could just call on any number of experts who could provide the needed information. He said he didn't want to clutter his mind with unnecessary information, information that he could easily get from others. He preferred to use his mind on more creative things that would keep his business successful.

                  Seemed to work, wouldn't you say?

                  Carolyn

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