Mind Like Water

Get things out of your head

Back when I was studying psychology, I read this article about the human mind. It started out with this little anecdode that stuck in my head:

How cool it would be if at some point in the future, somebody invented a device that could hook up to our minds and store all the information we've accumulated so that we would never forget it? Intrigued? Well, it turns out somebody's already invented it: a notebook.

What I love about that idea is that something as simple as a notebook can be so powerful

Lately I'vee been experimenting with different forms of note taking. When I read articles for school, I tend to forget what I've read by the time class rolls around. So what I've been doing is taking notes. For some classes, I might write down a single paragraph describing the contents of the article for seminar-style classes, that's really all I need. For other classes where I have tests, I've been rewriting virtually the whole thing in my own words.

Sure, it takes longer than if I weren't taking notes, but I then have everything I need to know for the test written down in the most concise form possible. I can review whole chapters before class in less than 10 minutes by skimming my notes.

I think one of the big lessons I've learned as I'm learning to work with my ADD is to get stuff out of my head. For example: I don't trust myself to remember everything I have to do, so I keep a task list. I don't trust myself to remember where I have to be tomorrow, so I keep a calendar. I don't want to spend hours shopping online, so I set up price alerts. I don't want to miss a rent payment, so I have my bank send it out for me every month. You get the idea.

Of course, getting stuff out of your head is only half the battle. The other half is figuring out how to get everything back in your head when you need it again.