Have you ever wondered how your wife manages to keep track of every appointment, birthday, and event on the calendar, but can’t remember where she put her keys? Some days, it seems like women have the superhuman ability to keep track of exactly where they’re supposed to be when, even when they have a million things on their plates. Somehow, they never forget when it’s their turn for carpool or when they need to get off work early to bring Timmy to the dentist. As men, it can be tempting to take that off our plate and claim that it’s not what we do. Instead, I argue that we should hold ourselves to the same exacting standards we hold our wives to.
Here’s the thing: Women don’t have a magical compartment in their brains that keeps tracks of dates and times for them. What they do have is years of societal training telling them that it’s their job to keep track of these things because men won’t. It’s not fair—not to them, and not to us. We are just as capable of remembering our anniversary as they are, but it is only when we as a group make an effort and decide to focus on this that the stigma will come off and we can truly engage as equals.
Ready to hop on board and begin to expect more of yourself? It’s easier than it sounds. Here’s what you need to do.
There’s a reason our wives don’t forget toilet paper when they go to the grocery store, and it’s not that they’re just miraculously better at remembering than we are. In fact, most human brains can only remember three or four things at a time. The magic power your wife seems to possess comes in the form of a carefully crafted grocery list. Keep a special notebook with you on a daily basis where you jot items as you need them. Then, when you go to the store, you can cross them off as you pick them up.
Pro Tip: Use a nice notebook with a notebook cover. Not only will you better be able to remember to grab it as it will stand out, but the pocket inside the front cover can be used to store coupons and receipts.
Update Your Calendar
Cell phones these days almost invariably have a calendar feature on them. Using your calendar regularly is your golden ticket to remembering events and appointments. The trick is not only adding to the calendar on the day you need to be somewhere but also having your calendar remind you ahead of time
Want an example? Say your anniversary is August 23. Go to your calendar now and set an event on your calendar for August 23rd. In the box where it says “Reminders” select both “Remind 1 Week Ahead of Time” and “Remind the Day Before.” The first reminder gives you an opportunity to go out and get an anniversary gift, and the second reminder ensures that you won’t forget to say Happy Anniversary in the morning. Finally, set this calendar event to recur every year. Doing this once ensures that you have a lifetime of reminders about your anniversary (or at least reminders for the lifetime of your phone).
You can do this with anything—anniversaries, birthdays, holidays. Even smaller things such as carpools and pickups can be added to your calendar as one-time events, and you can set reminders for the day before or a few days before depending on your needs.
Phone alarms aren’t just for getting up in the morning.
Say you need to remember to sign your son’s permission slip before he gets on the bus in the morning. If he typically leaves the house at 7, set yourself an alarm for 6:45, which gives you plenty of time to sign the form and stick it in his backpack. Though the alarm won’t tell you what you need to remember, typically the sound itself, paired with the time of day, is all you need to jar your memory and get everything done.
Believe it or not, if you implement these three strategies into your life, you’ll soon find that you rival your wife in keeping track of day-to-day activities and events. Now if you can just remember where you put your car keys…