Often, I'm in a situation where I need to remember to do something without being able to write it down.

Example: While changing diapers, you notice that the used diaper bin is almost full. You make a mental note to replace it. You cannot make a written note, because you haven't washed your hands yet and the baby might fall off the changing table. Of course, as soon as you are done and the baby is dressed again, you have forgotten about the mental note. Repeat until the diaper bin is actually full and you have a problem.

How do I fix this? Are there techniques to "set a mental timer" to go off in 5 minutes? Or are there other smart ways of taking notes when you cannot use your hands at the moment?


I'm confused by the example you've used; you're not going to put the diaper in the bin till the baby's dressed and somewhere safe (on the floor, in bed, in a chair, whatever). When you put the diaper in the bin, that's when you empty it as well. If you are putting it in the bin immediately because it doesn't mean leaving the baby unattended (because its nearby) then don't - put it on top of the bin, that way you'll see it when you're done with baby and remember to empty it.

If you really have a baby, I'm not surprised you're forgetting to do tasks, but the only way to remember what you need to do is by doing it as soon as you think about it, or making a note of it, or use tricks like the one I mention above to trigger your memory at an opportune moment. If, say, you're in the shower and you remember something you need to do, just repeat it to yourself till you're done in the shower, then either make a note of it somewhere useful that you'll actually remember to listen to or look at, or better still, do it immediately if possible. Tricks can be useful - if I need to order a prescription drug from the chemist, but its night time, I leave the pack from the last supply in front of my electric kettle at bedtime, so when I get up in the morning, I notice it there because its in the way and that's unusual... and make the call, so that kind of thing.

  • 1
    Thanks, I will try the "put the diaper on top of the bin" approach. This can have two possible outcomes: (1) my problem is solved or (2) the room starts to smell terribly because I left the diaper on the bin and forgot about it. ;-) – Heinzi Aug 23 '16 at 9:10
  • @Heinzi ah yes, but the smell will remind you too! The more sensory input the better. – Bamboo Aug 23 '16 at 9:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.