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gifele.gif (3048 bytes) Strictly speaking the word mnemonics applies to any method of remembering things, but this section is devoted to things you can do to jog your memory when it might not come up with the required information on its own gifele.gif (3048 bytes)

These are the back up files!

1.  A tear off calendar
If you have one of those calendars which you have to tear off a sheet each day to see the new day and date, and really look at it each time you tear it off, at least you will have the day of the week and the date imprinted on your mind at the start of each new day. This may seem unnecessary for those of you with full appointment books, doing particular things each day, but as we all find when on holiday, if all days are rather the same and there is no set routine, it is very easy to forget which day of the week it is, and nothing makes you feel more out of touch and stupid if you are caught out.

2.  Appointments
These must be entered on your engagement calendar as soon as possible after you have made them. This calendar or diary must be one that you look at every day as a matter of course. It's no good having all your appointments neatly entered in a diary you hardly ever look in. It is probably best to have the appointments on some sort of calendar which you cannot help seeing regularly, say by the telephone or near the kettle.

If you have something to do or remember which you know is quite likely to slip out of your mind, write a reminder on a Post It note and stick it up by your toothbrush, or on your tablemat where you eat your breakfast.

3.  "A place for everything and everything in its place"
This old phrase is very much out of fashion now, but certainly if you always put the same things in the same places at home, then it is much easier to find them when you want to go out in a hurry. No running round the house looking in every conceivable place for your car or house keys.

If you decide to hide your valuables when you go away, then choose what you feel is the best place and use the same place whenever you go away. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find things which you have hidden yourself.

Keep all your important documents together, ideally in a fireproof box and again somewhere that you easily remember.

4.  Anniversaries of all kinds
Birthday books are always attractive, but absolutely useless unless you have trained yourself to look in them very frequently. Much better to transfer important anniversaries to your main calendar at the beginning of each year, and then you will inevitably see them well in advance.

5.  Telephone messages
It is useful to have a notebook which stays open easily placed next to the phone, possibly with a pen attached to it, so that all messages are in the same place and can be seen at any time you go to the phone. This book could just be used for one calendar year and then filed for future reference. It is amazing how often these books are referred to even when the year is past.

6.  Telephone numbers
Don't be taken in by all the memory facilities in modern phones. There is no substitute for having the numbers of your nearest and dearest in your head. It is amazing how quickly a well-known number can disappear from your mind once you stop thinking of it regularly.

However, as a backup for all those important numbers you only use every so often like the plumber and the dentist, it is quite a good idea to keep one master list by the phone written on a couple of sides of A4 in a plastic wallet.

7.  Leaving Drill
Every time you leave home it is vital that you are happy that you have done all the things you need to do before you go out, so a leaving drill which you go through every time is important.  This is especially true if you have a burglar alarm and maybe a neighbour would be called out if you had forgotten to go through some vital part of the procedure.

You need to make sure you have your keys to get in again, your list of things to do while out, you must have locked all the exit doors and have gone through all the stages of setting the alarm if you have one.

Don't go through this operation while chatting to a friend.  You need to concentrate, so that once you are out, if you have a moment of panic and wonder whether you have left the iron on, then you can look back and see yourself checking all the appliances before leaving home.
You can even say out loud as you are doing it, "I am locking the back door.  It is Tuesday the sixteenth of July."

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