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Give your memory a holiday

Routine is memory's best friend. Make the mundane events in your life routine and forget about them.

Always put your keys in the same place when you come through the front door. We're inclined to pay little or no attention to mundane events and actions and this is why we can never remember where we put things that we use all the time if we don't have a routine.


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To Be Remembered

How useful is this tip?

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Total votes: 41

This is not a representative poll and the figures do not purport to represent public opinion as a whole on this issue


Sounds pretty obvious

Lynn Henry
Yes works

That is spot on! Whenever I move from routine, I bet I can't find whatever it is I've put in a different place!

Very useful indeed! I always put my keys etc. in the same place .Then I go on "brainstem" thinking if I can't remember some "routine" task.!

Sue D.
Again it means you don't have to actually make the effort to remember, and can use your memory for more important/less routine things

Fantatic method, until the wife moves the keys!

Get into a routine with the mundane things of life and you will be able to occupy your mind with far more exciting things. I do this all the time. I just run into trouble when someone decides to be 'helpful' by moving things!

Yes, it works almost 100% - except for my glasses!

Well, in my little world I think the routine is the best way to help me remember whatever I need to remember. If I can incorporate what I need remembering into my routine I most likely will remember it. However, if I miss just a single part of my routine, there is a risk that it will screw up the rest of my routine. Especially if this happens during my morning routine, the rest of my routine is unbalanced and I wouldn’t be able function properly the rest of the day.

Routine is the only point all people can recognize . If for example, you have had a routine since you were born, like Where you put the keys, it is very difficult to get rid of. That tells us that the routine is the strongest way to remember things!

This method is very good for me when I have to remember a specific series of numbers, for instance a random-made password for an e-mail-address. In the beginning it’s quite tough to remember it, but a few times after you’ve started you got build up a routine, so that you don’t even have to look at the keyboard or remember the specific numbers to enter the password. The bad thing is that when you should read your mails at another computer and they got a different keyboard than yours, you could have serious problems.

This is very useful although can go wrong because of distractions.

I try and do the routine bit but again with a child I can be easily distracted and I am always being told off for leaving the car unlocked, or leaving my keys in my bag instead of hanging them up. Routine is good but only if there are no distractions!!

I do this for morning routine i don't leave my bedroom until meds are taken hair done etc. I can go to work hair not done or slippers on if I don't keep to the routine! I find a place (usually the first place that comes into my head) for things often lost and keep to it, the only way, I find to keep track of virtually anything from jam to toiletries.

Good practice to keep things in same place, the problem can be if there is an interuption just at the moment when you are about to do the above

I have a terrible memory and find this technique very useful as I can 'relax' my brain on the trivia of life. Others in my household often put things back in the wrong place and I find if I get a mental image of what I am looking for I can scan around and when I see it it will jump out at me.

I lock my front door when i get in. Whenever I need to go out, I have to unlock the door in order to get out, so always have the key in my hand. Twice I've found myself outside my front door, with the key, but forgotten by bag indoors. At least I could get in and retrieve it. I guess this works for me as I live on my own. But my neighbour lives on his own, and is always forgetting his keys.

A place for everything and everything in its place... Except what really happens is the place for everything has everything else in it!


I find that routine is foolproof. Keys are especially important and if they are deemed to be 'missing' they are always found where they should be usually under another set hanging on the hook. My husband's wallet is constantly being searched for as he often forgets which pocket he has put it in and which pair of trousers he has been wearing. His glasses are another source of constant searching as after he has taken his lenses out he cannot remember where his glasses are and cannot see to find them!

I always do this, so much so that everything in my house has it's place and therefore it's mostly tidy. I get very stressed out and feel confused if things get and stay messy for prolonged periods.

I use this in conjunction with 'Cues' to remind myself of something important which is outside of routine - by hiding my keys under a written note, for example.

I always used to call it fire and forget - you just start the action off (like getting into the car to go to work) and you forget what happened to the rest (you just arive at work). Unfortunately, if something is not exactly the same, it all start to go wrong. It just takes a set of road works for me to start questioning if I had: turned off the lights; cooker; locked the door, etc.

I mostly use this technique for work related dull but important matters.Setting alarms checking outside doors are locked etc.Get an order of doing them and it becomes second nature. The only problems with this idea come when variations are needed.Don't set the alarm because X or Y needs access.It becomes difficult to not do the things you have committed to your routine.

Kate D
I do tthis with most things the problem comes when others do not.

Trevor Coffey
I read in a Readers Digest years ago, that if you want to remember where you have put an object eg keys,spectacles,then as you place the object down,you say out loud to yourself,"I am putting my keys on top of the fridge".I do this all of the time now,and the interesting thing is, that if you temporarily forget,the image springs back into your mind 10,15min or even 1 or 2 hours later, so you eventually find the object.

Some people seem to be taking the example too literally and are only thinking about putting objects in a consistent location. However, routine can be useful for actions as well. For example, when I get into a car as a driver, I have a routine order which helps me remember to do everything I need to do (sit down, put my seatbelt on, check to see if headlights need to be lit, put my foot on the brake, turn the key, take the parking brake off, set the car into gear, etc) and then I basically reverse that routine when I am about to get out of the car. Sometimes when someone is telling me something particularly important or something else major happens to break my routine, I find I've forgotten to set the parking break when I get out of the car or I try to turn the key before putting the car into the parking gear... but it works for me about 98% of the time.

it is a good method, until u put important things in places which are too safe. I lost sme of my money sme where in my room, thinking it was a 'safe place' frm my dad. it wasn't.

Routine is fine most of the time, but this morning I put the back door key (which looks similar to the workshop key) back on the workshop key's hook instead of in the lock. Later on I wanted to lock the back door and spent half an hour looking for it. I'm so used to putting the workshop key on that hook that I automatically put the back door key there whilst thinking of something else. So my 'routine' went a bit wrong!

Jaromir Buczek
Yes, this is true, however, as some said above, it cannot be applied to everything in life.

I use this memory prompt almost all of the time - but unfortunately no one else in the house does. I have almost given up even trying to help others find articles because these bits and pieces could be anywhere!

I wish my wife would put things back where she found them. She frequently uses my tools, dumps them anywhere, and then complains she can not find them th enext time she wants them!

It works - but the slightest distraction can make me forget to do it the routine way.

Sandra says she can't think of other things to use the "routine" memory technique for. Here are some I use: -shoes -remote control -wallet (purse) -mobile phone -desktop items (pens in a jar) -even putting computer files in well-named folders every time (all my docs go in a document related folder. all music goes in a music folder)

This putting things in right place stuff: Has anyone else had experience whereby someone else takes article off shelf and puts it back in wrong place. I then come along, use said article (say a jar of coffee) and put it back in WRONG place simply because I found it in wrong place and put it back where I found it. Most irritating when I later cannot find the wretched thing because i put it in wrong place!!

I do this a lot. I generally put things into the same pockets all the time. If my girlfriend puts something back into the wrong pocket I get flustered and uneasy. Needless to say she takes great pleasure in this, giggling "wrong pockets!!" at me.

janet stiles
To avoid the frustration of not being able to find your keys, shoes, bag, phone, etc. the routine method is the best because 9 times out of 10 it works. If it fails you have to use lateral thinking.

Has worked well for me for years. I use a a key holder and leave specific keys on same hook

Peter Green
I have a bad memory, but always putting keys in the same place, is very very useful

This is okay until somebody moves the item without telling you, tidying up or something. :D

We do that for keys but can't think of anything else. It certainly does work though.

My mum always used to tell me when i was a kid, to always put things back in the same place, so i would be able to find them. I didnt listen when i was younger, but gradually as i grew up, i realised she was right!

"Make the mundane events in your life routine and forget about them." I thought this was about remembering things. If your tidy and organised you can just leave things in the same place. However, If you share your house with a pack of untidy teenagers and work full time the "forget about them" is just that - forgotten. I find the best way to remember stuff is to make the event important enough to remember (focus). Simply thinking out in my head 'I've put the keys in the top of the filing cabinet and taking a good look at what I'm doing helps me to focus and remember. Routine! What's that!!! Life is not routine, not when you work and live with other people. Flip even trees move!

I totally agree. My partner has no set place for his mundane things, and wastes time hunting high and low for them. I have suggested that at least have a box for assigning these everyday items indoors. But this advice goes ignored, so everyday there is a panic to find them and frequent calls to cancel credit cards he thinks he has lost.

I must remember to start this one as I am always losing my keys by not putting them where I thought that I had? I get distracted with a job as I walk in the house and put my keys down next to the fish tank or bin or mail etc

shanaz ahmed
i feel it is good to have a routine as it minimises forgetfullness

I have my keys on a key holder - the type used to attach keys to the tab on Jeans. I put a large safety pin in my day pack, handbags and luggage and clip my keys onto the pin when I'm not wearing trousers.

I do this all the time & its brilliant. Until you change the routine for some unconnected reason & then it all goes wrong DOH....

True, true, true. I become very bad-tempered if things are not in their usual place

This worked great until I had a family and now I can't find anything because their place for something is not the same as mine.

Keys always lost unless in the basket; phone on the bookshelf; bag by my desk etcetera etcetera etcetera.

It works just fine as long as the routine is maintained constantly, its amazing how I can forget my password coming back from a holiday.

Peter Newman-Legros
Works really well until - as I was - stood in front of the cash machine unable to remember the code for my card or stood in front of the bathroom mirror unable to recall which disposable contact lense went in which eye. Nothing! Blank!

Yes. Very useful. I've been looking for my sunglasses for days, because I didn't have a special place where I put them. But putting things in a 'safe' place is a very bad idea, unless it is the same safe place.

I don't know what my PIN number is, and I don't need to because I know what 'shape' it makes on a keypad, which I just remember from the routine of making that shape. Since all keypads are the same this works perfectly for me, but it'd be a problem if I came across a keypad where the numbers were arranged differently, though so far this has never happened.

This is a useful way of doing things - like first thing in the morning when you're only haalf-awake - until you do something unconsciously and then you aren't sure whether or not you have actually done it!

again - yes, good one to give your consciousness a break! Too much routine though would make my life boring and I'm happy to break it and take a risk!!!

I do this for some things, such as my train ticket, phone etc. But i also do it with things that i am not really likely to forget. I keep most of my possesions in exact places which helps with general organisation, and of course memory because, well, if you kept your socks in precisely the same place in your bedroom you would hopefully remember where they were after a while..

Yes, it works for me. A place for everything and everything in its place.

A very effective method. We are creatures of habit and tend to form patterns and routines very easily. And we are comforted by routine. So this method is most natural. The same applies to all animals, I guess. It is when we have to break the routine and start something new we get a level of nervousness because it's something new. But a new routine will quickly form. The more frequently we are asked to break our routines during our life time the easier it becomes to form new ones.

Very helpful provided I am not subject to frequent interuption

Deanna Pini Waldenberg
Excellent, as long as I don't get side tracked before hanging my keys up in their usual place. If I do get side tracked G-d knows where I am likely to put them.

It may be a good way of remembering stuff, but it makes life so boring! Where's the spice of variety?

A routine for mundane events is very liberating - only one thing to remember ie the routine. And as you use it every time (!) it is self re-inforcing. My female work colleagues might dismiss the need on the claimed grounds that they are able to 'multi-task'..... why not save that for something bigger? But they put their car keys in the fridge with the perishables they bought in the lunch hour so that they can't forget them at going home time.

Yes, I agree - but the downside is not actually being able to remember switching off the coffemaker!

I do most mundane things on auto pilot - it works for me

Great! But don't let your mind wander - slip into neutral when you're driving - as the routine might have been altered by new road works and that driver who pulls out unexpectedly ...

This works for me very well - I work on auto pilot then when my head is full of things to do elsewhere. Just occasionally I wonder.. "Did I lock the door?" but in the main it works and woe betide anyone who moves things!

All we have to do now is get everyone else to do it!



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