Memory tools, such as list making, force us to pay closer attention to the information we need to remember, and they give that information meaning by placing it an organizational scheme. In addition, they let us control what we need to remember by giving us the opportunity to review it. Here are my top five reasons why list making is beneficial:
- Lists get us to pay attention to things we need to remember. Using lists, just like using any technique to boost your brainpower, will focus your attention more actively on the information you need to remember. Why? When we work with information, we pay closer attention to it.
- Lists help us remember the things we need to remember but not memorize. We deal with three kinds of information:
- Things we really need to remember
This category includes certain things we really must remember, such as our name, address, phone number, PIN numbers, email addresses, and the names of people we work with closely. Committing this kind of information to memory is essential.
- Things we don’t really need to remember. Let’s face it, there are some things we really, truly don’t need to memorize. For example, the number to a restaurant that you visit irregularly or the channel of a station you never watch.
- Things we need to remember but not to memorize. This is information we need to remember for a brief period of time to help us function effectively. Such information includes appointments, errands, and phone calls we have to make. In general, however, we do not need to commit this kind of information to long-term memory.