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Manage Your Gray Moments

By Gerry McRae

Short-term memory lapses are a fact of life as we grow older. Would you believe memory loss begins increasing at age 25?

For every fact of life there's a management solution!

Do you find yourself forgetting such little things as unplugging the iron, leaving groceries or animals in the car, missing important meetings, turning off lights and appliances and all the other mundane activities? Too mundane to worry about?. They are annoying enough to erode confidence in yourself. Worse, they cause others to lose confidence in you. Some lapses could cause your house to burn down.

Manage to place reminders in doorways or with unusual placement in passageways. Identify the trouble spots for these reminders. Whenever you say to yourself, "I must remember to do..." is a good identifier. This is just a variation of that old trick of putting an elastic around your finger. Gradually, strive to wean yourself from these props.

Do you experience lapses in concentration such as throwing the good part in the garbage while walking away with the trash still in your hand?

Manage a program for reinforcing your habit of snapping your thoughts away from preoccupying moments at each change in movement or action. This assumes your short-term memory can span a few microseconds until you return to your musings.

It's similar to your action, when driving your car, where a street intersection triggers a snap-to-attention interval. At our coffee counter, I grew weary of pouring honey into the spoon cup instead of into my coffee cup. Once I became aware this was a snap-to-attention spot, the honey went into the coffee more often.

Are you increasingly forgetting people's names? There are many younger people with that problem. So, it's easy to be superior in that skill. If, instead of being a "has-been rememberer" you are a "never-were," it's not too late to learn.

Manage to practice various methods for aiding your recall function such as an alphabetic association method. For a refresher of instantaneous recall you can manage a schedule for reviewing membership or client lists, all the people you know in various area and people attending a gathering. Include the ideas or mnemonics you associate with each person. Practice recalling names of people you see wherever you go. It's not too late to learn and practice the many techniques for remembering names.

Some general management solutions for combating memory loss.

1. Learn more about memory processes by taking courses and including memory as a topic in your reading regimen.

2. Exercise the brain by practicing recall techniques and increasing your demand upon your brain functions.

3. If there's still a good rapport between your conscious and your subconscious, convince your subconscious to smarten up and to stop forgetting things!

4. Admit to yourself you are aging and develop the habit of making lists to store in places where you will easily find them.

5. Recognize your long-term memory certainly works very well. Younger people are probably thinking or saying behind your back, "too well!"

6. Firmly believe that you are not losing your short-term memory. Today's faster pace is adding too much information. Convince others this is so by impressing them with all the stuff you do remember from the recent past.

These management solutions may not eliminate loss but, they will slow the loss rate or cause you to think so.

Early in life, I read a little pamphlet which mentioned about living in the world of "I am." Since I found this brown-stained booklet amid the papers of a famous and successful person, I took the advice quite seriously. Later, I learned this was a simplification of the four stages of memory - record, store, retrieve and recognize. I managed to develop a superior memory from that earlier advice. Of course, this causes greater frustration and loss of pride during today's gray moments.

Some believe the situation worsens commensurately with the time you spend worrying about it. It's not so much as the amount of memory lost, it's your awareness of more frequent losses. Adjust your focus.

Laugh and joke about having gray moments because it's all in your mind.

About The Author

Gerry McRae is the creator and principal author of the small business advice website Gerry is also the author of "Time Management for Entrepreneurs - What to do, When & Why" available at


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