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Sorry, was it tea or coffee?

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  • Sorry, was it tea or coffee?

    Hello,

    Noticed something recently and not sure if it's to do with my first year of GTD or maybe it's middle age creeping up on me!

    My GTD system is working fine, always have a capture device at hand, can't remember the last time something slipped through the net and all loops are closed!

    But I've noticed that if I don't write it down I forget trivial, "small stuff" things (that I only need to remember for a very short term) pretty quick these days!

    I'll be at home at the PC or busy cranking widgets and a friend will pop round to see us.

    I'll ask the usual "would you like a tea or coffee?..." and by the time I've made it to the kitchen and chatted a bit more I've forgotten what they want!

    It's as if I automatically don't even try to remember the small stuff anymore because I'm so used to capturing everything into the GTD process!

    In a way it's cool as it means I'm completely trusting my GTD system but in another way it's slightly worrying what this could do long term to my short term memory! (said slightly tongue in cheek!)

    Maybe I'm so used to not having to remember all the small stuff, my brain doesn't hold on to it anymore?

    What is interesting is that I'll forget the small stuff (did they want tea or coffee) but I will remember and get into the main thread of their conversation... It's like I can concentrate more on the flow of conversation and get into that, without having to hold onto the small stuff...

    ...and none of this "small stuff" ever needs to be remembered for more than just that moment... if they ask me to pop round and fix their PC or whatever that's remembered even if it doesn't get written down either!

    I'd get some real funny looks if I got out the memo pad next time and wrote down "Kate wants coffee, Lucy wants tea..."

    Anyone else experience anything like this? Any feedback much appreciated!

    Now, would you prefer blueberry muffins or doughnuts with that coffee?

    Best regards,

    Andy.

  • #2
    Could it be that you're not really listening to the answer so it doesn't even get a chance to get in your head? I know I'm often guilty of that. Can't remember your name because I wasn't really listening when you introduced yourself. Can't remember if you want mustard or mayo because I wasn't really listening when you answered. (Or because by the time you answered I was mentally on to something else. I didn't mentally wait for the answer.)

    Make mine doughnuts with latte, please. :0

    Karen

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it means that you are developing the habit of being fully engaged in what you are doing and pushing all else out of your psychic RAM. That is a great thing. When I tell you how my day was while you are walking to the kitchen, you are actually listening to my reply. What a rare gift to give someone. Unfortunately it means that the relatively trivial tea/coffee detail is lost. Oh well. Just ask again in the kitchen

      Improving memory is a whole subject area. There are lots of tricks for this kind of thing. There is a book called "mega memory" that compiles lots of them. It sounds like you can anticipate when you will have this problem. One possible solution is to assign a value to the choices. You asked tea or coffee? Tea is the first choice and coffee the second. The values are 1 and 2. When you get the answer, discretely hold you thumb against your first or second finger to indicate the answer. When you get to the kitchen, the thumb will tell you what to make.

      Alternatively, if you know sign language alphabet, you could hold the sign for t or c. Or you could visualize your friend sitting on a giant used tea bag instead of the couch, squirming from the moist heat or throwing crates of tea into Boston harbour with a terrific splash. This image will stay with you long enough to get to the kitchen to make the tea.

      Comment


      • #4
        @Karen, you could be right - I'm maybe not really listening to the answer as I'm more interested in the conversation rather than the "trivial" milk or tea answer!

        A bit like selective deafness where you don't hear what you don't want to hear!

        It's funny because this just happened again about 30 mins ago and I forgot to make sure I remembered it!

        Quote "I didn't mentally wait for the answer..." - that's a very good point, I'm already onto the next bit of the conversation before the tea or coffee has registered!

        Quote "Make mine doughnuts with latte, please. :0" - sounds good! Not sure how well it would air-mail though!

        @Barry, quote "I think it means that you are developing the habit of being fully engaged in what you are doing and pushing all else out of your psychic RAM. That is a great thing..."

        I'd like to think it was this! I do engage in the conversation fully and you're right in that I'm perhaps not letting the tea or coffee thing clog up the flow of the conversation!

        Quote "Unfortunately it means that the relatively trivial tea/coffee detail is lost. Oh well.."

        Exactly! I make up for it though with a good cuppa tea or coffee!

        I'm going to look out for the "mega memory" book you mentioned, like the sound of that.

        I'm also going to try the visualisations you described too - trouble is I have a vivid imagination for that kind of thing and I'll be so engrossed in the imagery I'll lose track of the conversation!

        On a similar thread, is increasing your knowledge the same as increasing your memory capacity?

        If I study a book on American History for example, would that also exercise my brain into better remembering tea or coffee? Probably not!

        Then it's down to understanding versus simple memory recall?

        Sorry I've gone off at a tangent, but do find it fascinating to think you can give your memory exercises to improve itself! But not necessary knowledge based. Kind of a gym workout for the brain!

        Thanks for the feedback very much appreciated!

        Best regards,

        Andy.

        Comment


        • #5
          Andy, I do this all the time, and it didn't change when I started doing GTD. Personally, I think it's a matter of being too much 'inside my head', rather than focusing on the question I'm asking (or at least the answer I'm getting!). But I, like you, tend to get caught up in the conversation, which is a good thing (or so I like to think): it means that we're totally engaged in our social interaction.

          One little thing you might do that helps (when I remember to do it): look at the person's face when they answer, and repeat the answer out loud. The more senses you use, the better chance it has of being embedded in your memory.

          Although I do think the sitting-on-a-giant-teabag idea sounds much more groovy.

          Comment


          • #6
            > if I don't write it down I forget "small stuff" (very short term)

            I found that adopting GTD actually improved my memory (more at Applying GTD to aging gracefully - Improved memory!). If your system is 100%, and your brain is trusting it, then maybe you've done all you can in this regard.


            > I'll ask the usual "would you like a tea or coffee?..." and by the time I've made it to the kitchen ... I've forgotten what they want!

            Could this be a symptom of your mind's still overloaded by trying to track stuff? Also, memory *does* change as we age. So if the chatting is getting in the way, would it make sense to cut back on it until you've done your task?

            Also, why *not* write those small things done? Sometimes I experience the same thing - I'll get to another room and wonder "what was I going to do in here!?"

            However, in addition to age, stress and tiredness can negatively impact memory. Is there anything going on right now that's particularly stressful? Also, are you healthy, and getting enough exercise and sleep. The latter can really slow the brain down if missed too much...


            > It's like I can concentrate more on the flow of conversation and get into that, without having to hold onto the small stuff...

            Another consideration (a bit heavy): Have you noticed these changes increase significantly recently? A change can indicate other medical factors, e.g., medication change. Something to double-check.


            > I'd get some real funny looks if I got out the memo pad next time and wrote down "Kate wants coffee, Lucy wants tea..."

            Hmmm. Wait-people do this ALL THE TIME! Why? Because they know their memories don't work the other way.


            Hope that helps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Green tea only.

              Don't ask - just offer green tea to everybody and tell them that it is the best choice for their health. Some of them will not come to you again. The rest (your friends and green tea lovers) will accept it.

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              • #8
                Better yet...

                ...show me the kitchen and I'll get my own tea. But ya got any diet coke?

                Cheers,
                Stacey

                Comment


                • #9
                  @unstuffed, I think you’re right when you said “it's a matter of being too much 'inside my head', rather than focusing on the question I'm asking…”.

                  It’s as if I’m not really interested in their answer as I’m too much caught up in the conversation! But as you said too, I think it’s a good thing as we’re really listening to the actual conversation! That’s my excuse anyway!!

                  >> The more senses you use, the better chance it has of being embedded in your memory.

                  That’s a good tip I will try that next time!

                  @cornell, just read your very interesting “Applying GTD to aging gracefully - Improved memory!” article. Haven’t checked all the links in it, but I will do! Makes an interesting read. Especially intrigued by the “tip-of-the-tongue” memory loss!

                  >> Could this be a symptom of your mind's still overloaded by trying to track stuff?

                  Most of the time when this happens, I’m not so much in tracking stuff mode, I’m more in the conversation mode instead! I think I’m not even giving their answer the chance to get into my memory as I’m (wrongly) dismissing it as trivial or unimportant – as if I don’t even have to remember it anyway – they’ll tell me if I make the wrong drink anyway!!

                  >> So if the chatting is getting in the way, would it make sense to cut back on it until you've done your task?

                  I should! But sometimes I think they like the chat more than the tea/coffee!

                  >> Sometimes I experience the same thing - I'll get to another room and wonder "what was I going to do in here!?"

                  I know that feeling exactly!

                  >> Also, are you healthy, and getting enough exercise and sleep. The latter can really slow the brain down if missed too much...

                  No major change in fitness over last year or two, so I don’t think it’s related. But about 5 years ago I was the fittest I have ever been, a lot fitter than now. I was cross country running, cycling, very healthy low-fat eating, lots of cardiovascular exercise. That was when I was single, now with my partner, children and other commitments it’s not so easy to live the lean, mean, running/cycling machine lifestyle I use to live…

                  But it is on the Someday/Maybe list to get back into all the fitness thing – and you’re right it makes a HUGE difference to mental agility and overall feeling of well being. I find DA’s analogy’s between GTD and martial arts particularly interesting. Right now I feel a little sluggish, carrying a bit too much weight!

                  One active project is to finish repairing my bike and get back out on it to start the whole fitness thing going again – and I think you’ve just inspired me to focus on it this next week or so! At the same time get the whole fitness thing off the Someday/Maybe list and back on the runway where it should be! It’s possibly the single most important project I could ever have!

                  Fortunately not on any medication, so no change there.

                  > Hmmm. Wait-people do this ALL THE TIME!…

                  My little black “note-taker style” pad would fit the bill perfectly, shall try it next time – but if they see me using this they’ll want me in waiter uniform next!

                  > Hope that helps.

                  It certainly does – it’s inspired me to get going again on the fitness project!

                  @TesTeq, “Don't ask - just offer green tea to everybody…”
                  I like that… “You can have any drink as long as it’s tea... And green!”

                  @Stacey, LOL! I wish we did have diet-coke - but my partner's banned it from the house - she says carbonated drinks are bad for me! Oh well...

                  Thanks again to all, very much appreciated,

                  Best regards,

                  Andy.

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