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Are You Forgetful and Lose Your Keys? How To Never Do It Again

memory

[Reading time: 2 min 10 secs]

Recently, I was talking to a friend who was exasperated with himself for losing his keys. Again. He'd come home, set them down, and completely forgotten where he had put them.

He spent 20 minutes searching (and fuming) before he found them in the garage... along with the mail - which he was also happy to find.

Do you have a history of forgetfulness?

In college, I was notorious for losing my keys and when I got married, my kind and compassionate husband installed a hook by the door.  But did I always use it?? Noooooo. Muscle memory trick for how to stop being forgetful and never lose your keys again

For those of you who can relate to the annoying trait of being forgetful, I'm happy to share a fool-proof solution for how to never lose your keys again.

Engage your muscle memory

This is an easy three-step process and you're going to laugh when you realize that something so simple actually works!

STEP #1 is to figure out where you want to keep the keys. Every organizational expert in the world will tell you that things need a home. So look around the house and figure out where it makes the most sense for you. You could keep your keys on a hook or a shelf, in a basket, or on your desk.

Whatever place you pick needs to be a dedicated home - not a transient one.

To be clear, transient homes for your keys would be: the kitchen table, a coat pocket, the coffee table (especially if you have little kids), the couch, the door itself. Transient homes are problematic because they have multiple purposes, many people may use them, and they are easy to forget.

STEP #2 is to take a few minutes and develop the muscle memory around using the home for your keys. Let's say you've decided that the home for your keys is going to be on a shelf by the door.

Here's how it works:

  • Set the keys on the shelf.
  • Pick up the keys and go directly out to your car and put them in the ignition.
  • Take your hands off the keys.
  • Take the keys out of the ignition, walk back into the house and set the keys on the shelf.
  • Then pick up the keys and go back out to your car and put them in the ignition.
  • Take your hands off the keys.
  • Then take the keys out of the ignition, go back into the house and put the keys on the shelf.
  • Keep doing this over and over until you find yourself thinking of something else.

STEP #3 cements the learning: The next time you realize that you haven't put the keys on the shelf, immediately stop what you're doing and go back to Step two.

This is critical and key (pun intended) to the success of the muscle memory strategy and not forgetting. Don't tell yourself you'll do it tomorrow. Even if it's late and you're headed to bed, stop right there and then, get the keys and go back-and-forth between the car and the shelf.

Forgetfulness is a common complaint

A survey of 1,000 adults by Pebblebee.com showed that every week, 1 in 5 people forget where they put something. The most common lost item? Yup, car keys. 

Here's another stat: 28% of the people they surveyed said they usually gave up searching within a week and just accepted that the thing was going to be lost forever. 

The good news

You no longer have to try and figure out how to force your conscious mind to remember where you put the keys (which won't work anyway).

But that's okay because now you can just use your muscle memory!

 

 


What is Working Memory?

Working Memory is about our brain's ability to remember a series of details. How many chunks of information can your brain hold before that first one gets forgotten?

You park the car in the garage, get out and walk to the mailbox. You see a postcard from the dentist that it's time to get your teeth cleaned "Maybe I can go next week". When you walk across the yard, you notice the grass is pretty long so you tell yourself "I'll mow the lawn after dinner. Come to think of it, I wonder if we have any gas for the mower". You set down the mail (and the keys) so you can poke around to find the gas can. You find it at the same time that you remember the garbage gets picked up tomorrow "I'd better roll the cans out". Then you go into the house where your family greets you and you don't think about the keys or the mail until you're brushing your teeth that night and think "Oh yeah. I got something from the dentist today..."

Support your brain's tendency to forget

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