5 Simple Memory Habits For Busy Minds
By: Abby DeGennaro, Program Coordinator
There is never a dull day in the world of association management! Each day presents new challenges in this fast-paced, exciting environment – challenges that may seem overwhelming at times. You know that type of day: The phones are ringing off the hook. Your previously empty inbox has reached the double digits. Out of nowhere, a meeting notification pops up on your calendar. There is a long list of tasks running through your mind, and it is important to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and each of these tasks is completed.
I work for multiple associations and find myself switching gears between clients as new demands arise. This requires not only attention to detail with a task and results-oriented mind, but the ability to remember these details and tasks. This can be difficult when you have so many thoughts and responsibilities running through your mind at once. I graduated from college in May of this year, and joining ASG marks not only my first taste of association management – but also my entrance into the professional workforce. Every day is another day to learn and grow in this industry, and that includes adapting to this fast-paced environment where time management and accountability are key. Here is a step-by-step process I use to cut through the mind clutter and ensure tasks get completed.
- Write down EVERYTHING
Okay, maybe not everything…but as close to everything as realistic. Ensure you take detailed notes for future reference. Perfect penmanship may not be an option in a fast-paced meeting, but be as legible as possible. If you use abbreviations, make sure you’ll know what they mean later.
Also, have a notebook handy whenever the phone rings. Jot down the details of the call (including the person’s name and number). It never hurts to have a record to look back on should you need to review what was discussed during a particular call. After taking all of these great notes…
- Organize important records
Find a filing system (either electronic or print) that makes sense to you. You could put all of your meeting notes together, or organize by date or topic. Personally, I like to keep all of my meeting notes organized by client and all of my daily notes organized by date. Just make sure you’ll have these notes readily available when you need them! And to ensure you don’t accidentally file away important dates and deadlines.
- Record deadlines in multiple places
Planners are great, but if you’re anything like me, they are occasionally forgotten on the kitchen counter or an office drawer right when you need them most. Write your deadlines in your planner first, then make note on an online calendar or app. These will often allow you to set notifications for an added reminder.
You can also print out important deadlines and put them on your desk or bulletin board – seeing the deadline in print keeps the task at the forefront of your mind. After you’ve taken all these steps to record what needs to be done and when, it’s time to…
- Take a short walk
Even walking down the hall and back can be invaluable when it comes to processing information. Doing this gives you chance to step away from everything and put your tasks into perspective. Use this time to decide the three most important tasks that need accomplished in the next few hours. Once you have those tasks…
- Consolidate everything into a clean checklist
Now that you have your pages of quickly written notes taken throughout the day and you’ve gotten your priorities in order, it’s time to translate those notes and ideas into a neat to-do list organized in order of importance. I try to make mine as nice to look at as possible. You don’t have to be an artist by any means, but having a clean and clear checklist is much less overwhelming than a page covered in sloppy notes. Now it’s time to get to work!
Finding a plan that helps you break down the day’s tasks in a manageable way can quiet a noisy mind and allow you to get things done. Once you fine-tune your mind-decluttering system, you’ll find your productivity increasing and your stress decreasing.
Abby is a graduate of Berry College, where she studied public relations and English. She enjoys mystery novels, road trips and spending time with her English Mastiff, Bella.