Overcome memory problems.

Do you forget names?

  • When you meet someone for the first time, use his or her name in conversation.
  • Think about whether you like the name.
  • Think of people you know well who have the same name.
  • Associate the name with an image, if one comes to mind. For example, link the name Sandy with the image of a beach.
  • Write the person’s name down in your memory notebook, personal organizer, or address book.

Do you forget where you put things?

  • Always put things you use regularly, such keys and eyeglasses, in the same place.
  • For other objects, repeat aloud where you put them.
  • As you put an object down, make a point of looking at the place where you put it.
  • If you still don’t think you’ll remember, write down in your memory notebook or personal organizer where you put the object.


Do you forget what people tell you?

  • Ask someone to repeat what he or she just said.
  • Ask the person to speak slowly; that way, you’ll be able to concentrate better.
  • Repeat to yourself what the person said and think about its meaning.
  • If the information is lengthy or complicated (such as advice from your doctor), use a small cassette recorder or take notes while the person is talking.


Do you forget appointments?

  • Write them down in an appointment book, in a calendar that you look at daily, or in your personal organizer.
  • Set an alert on your computer calendar or task list.
  • Ask for a reminder call the day before – often companies do this now, as part of their services.


Do you forget things you must do?

  • Write them down in your personal organizer or calendar.
  • Write yourself a note and leave it in a place where you’ll see it (for instance, on the kitchen table or by the front door).
  • Ask a friend or relative to remind you.
  • Leave an object associated with the task you must do out in a prominent place at home. For example, if you want to order tickets to a play, leave a newspaper ad for the play near your telephone.
  • If you must do something at a particular time (such as take medicine), set an alarm.

See also the companion article How to Prevent Memory Loss

(Adapted from Harvard Medical School Health Report)