Well, we’ve come to the end of this special month, where for the past four weeks I have been offering suggestions for how to “Make a Fresh Start” in the new year. We have one final challenge for today, and tomorrow I will provide a wrap-up of all the ideas.
When it comes to the mind, and specifically our memory, I find that many people have trouble leaving things behind. This can be particularly frustrating when we forget an item while on the go. Figuring out where we left something isn’t always easy. In addition, even if we remember exactly where our forgotten item may be, it can be difficult or time consuming to retrieve it.
Here is a simple trick I’ve used for years to help me bring home whatever I’ve taken with me. It is called the “number of items” trick.
Right before you head out the door (or onto the airplane, or into a venue, or into a meeting, etc.), count how many items you have with you. For example, “I have (1) my purse, (2) a coat, (3) an umbrella, (4) my phone, and (5) a hat.”
More important than what you are carrying is the number of items you have. Say out loud, “I have five items today.” It is a lot easier to remember the number five than it is to remember a list of belongings.
When you are heading back to your car or leaving your venue, count how many items you have with you. Make sure you have the same number you had when you initially set out. If you don’t, you know you are missing something, and need to go back and find it. Even if you can’t remember exactly what you are missing, you will know you can’t leave until you find something you’ve forgotten. Odds are, as you hunt for your missing item, you will recall what was left behind. However, even if you don’t, keep looking and you will eventually come across it.
This is a great trick for children and adults alike. Teach children to count their items each morning when they go to school, and to make sure they have the same number when they come home.
Using the “number of items” trick has saved me from leaving items behind many times. Taking a moment to mentally note a number only takes a few seconds but knowing this number each day can pay back in huge savings of time, and sometimes money. It also alleviates the mental strain of trying to constantly think about exactly which belongings you are toting around.
Do you have a trick for making sure you don’t leave things behind? Will you try the “number of items” idea?