How To Get Rid Of Absent-mindedness
The Credit For This Post Goes To Harry Lorayne.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the absentminded professor who slammed her husband and kissed the door!
How many times have you opened your refrigerator door and stared into it only to wonder why you are there? How often do you drive yourself crazy trying to figure out where you left your keys, pen, or eyeglasses?
I devised the system for eliminating absentmindedness over thirty years ago for strictly selfish reasons—I wanted to get rid of my own time-wasting, aggravating absentmindedness. The first time I published the system was in 1957. In all the years since then, I’ve received more mail, calls, and comments about it than about any of my other ideas.
Perhaps that’s because the system is so easy to apply. All
you need is the knowledge of association, or reminder connections,
which you already have.
-•Accept This Fact
The word “absentminded” itself tells you what the problem is. You do certain actions while your mind is absent.
When a problem is easily and clearly seen, the solution, too, is usually easy and clear. In this case, just make sure that your mind is present at the moment you do those certain actions.
When you put something down without thinking about that action at that moment, you are not being originally aware. You are not registering that piece of information. You can’t forget where you put that something, since you didn’t remember where you put it in the first place.
You know the solution: Think of the activity during the moment of that activity. That means: Make sure your mind is present, not absent.
You already know that it’s necessary to force your mind to pay attention. You also know that forming an association or reminder-connection is what forces that attention and pinpoints concentration. So get into the habit of forming a silly association—between the item and the place—whenever you “just put something down!”
One of the things that plagued me years ago was searching for a pencil that I’d perched behind my ear. I solved the problem easily when I started seeing that pencil going into my ear each time I put it behind my ear! I could almost feel the pain.
How did that help? Without breaking physical or mental stride I brought my mind to that activity during that fleeting moment. I forced my mind to take note of the activity at that moment. I forced original awareness.
Not in over thirty years have I ever again searched for the pencil that’s behind my ear.
Nor do I ever search for my eyeglasses pushed up on my forehead, or that I “just put down” somewhere. I always associate eyeglasses to where I put them when I put them there. If I momentarily put them on a television set, I see the antenna going through, and shattering, the lenses. The next time I think of glasses (when I need them), my mind instantly responds television set!
Yes, you have to form the habit. Force yourself to do it the first few times and the habit is formed.
Although it takes no time, you may think it does and be hesitant about trying it. Well, think of the time it will save and you’ll lose your hesitation.
Do you put away treasured items for safekeeping, then forget where you hid them? Make an association at the moment of hiding. You hide a treasured book under your shirts. See a shirt reading a book.
You think of ketchup, which you have to get out of a kitchen cupboard. The moment you think of it, see ketchup squirting all over you. I assure you, you won’t stare into the cupboard wondering what you wanted and why you’re there.
There’s an old Gracie Allen joke:
When you put a roast in the oven, put a small roast into the oven at the same time. When you smell the small one burning, you’ll be reminded that the large one is ready!
It’s funny because there’s truth to it. But instead of burning an expensive roast, drop your potholder to the middle of your kitchen floor when you put the roast in the oven. That will be a constant reminder that you have a roast in the oven!
It’s an old idea of the string-on-finger family. I’ve enlarged on the concept through the years.
If you think of something while you’re in bed, half asleep, reach over and turn your clock away from you, or reach down and toss a slipper under your bed. Something out of place will jog your memory in the morning. As a matter of fact, I call them memory joggers.
Now, what about remembering to take home the book you bought during lunch hour?
Apply the Basic Reminder Principle
What’s the last, or next-to-last, thing you do or see when leaving your office? Associate the book or whatever you want to remember—even if it’s an activity like making a phone call—to that last thing you do.
Perhaps your last action is checking if your secretary’s door is locked. Form a silly association between that door and book, or whatever. As a backup, you can also associate book to the elevator man, to whom you say “good night” each day. You’ve got two reminders.
When you leave your house for an evening out, see yourself switching on your telephone answering machine with your head, or locking your door by sticking your entire foot into the keyhole. You’ve forced your mind to be present during the actions.
You’ll never again ruin an evening at the theater wondering whether you turned on the answering machine, locked the door, unplugged the iron, switched on the burglar alarm, or what-have-you!
Here is a video crash course with more tips.