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RealSimple: Tricks to Improve Your Memory

Performing Automatic Tasks

Problem: You can’t remember whether you’ve turned off the stove, the coffeepot, or the iron. When you perform an automatic task, like switching off the stove, you’re using procedural memory. This type of long-term memory is used for actions like riding a bike, typing, or putting a key into a keyhole. Because the act is more mechanical than conscious, you’re not fully aware of the action while you’re performing it.

Solution: Most of the time you probably do turn off the stove, the coffeepot, and the iron. But if you find yourself frequently guessing or sometimes truly forgetting, make an effort to be mindful of the critical moment when you flip the switch. Say out loud, “Oven is off,” “Iron is unplugged.” If you still find yourself forgetting, invest in products with automatic shut-offs and leave a reminder by the front door. A Post-it on the front door with a checklist of what needs to be on, off, open, or shut is a good remedy.

(James Baigrie)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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