Posted on February 23, 2009 by


I was halfway to work this morning when I realized that I had forgotten my laptop computer. I’m taking evening classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, and I need my computer for them, so that’s kind of a bummer. It got me thinking how this has been an ongoing issue for me. Through high school, I consistently forgot to bring my homework to class. When I’m conducting meetings at church, I usually inadvertently skip over various items of business. And I’m about 50/50 on remembering to take the church key to events that I’m supposed to unlock the church for. I could probably come up with a dozen more examples of my forgetfulness.

But really, I don’t think forgetfulness is the right word for it. That makes it sound like a memory issue, and I don’t think it is. I’ve got a good memory. Where I’ve got trouble is in remembering to remember, or to take the time to review and prepare. It’s more of a preparation and organization issue. And then it makes more sense that I have trouble with it.

I believe that just about everything in life is a skill, and that with practice and exercises you can improve in any skill. So I’m going to call this skill “checklisting”. Checklisting is the skill of taking care of things that you’ll need in the future. It’s kind of a temporal-spatial skill, one that depends on having a mental model of the day. It means being able to to look at the future and provide for it. And it means taking a moment before activity transitions to recalibrate and consider if anything else needs to be addressed before you move forward.

So now that I have a name for it, I need to figure out how to work on it. It’s kind of a catch-22 thing, since generally you work on a skill regular practice, which means remembering to do that practice. And if you are having trouble with checklisting, then that means that remembering to do regular practice is one of the issues you’re trying to resolve. I guess I’ll have to think about that for a while…

Posted in: Musings