Does any of these sound like you (or someone you know)?
You walk into a room and don’t know why you went in there in the first place. You are always late. You can never find your keys (or purse, etc). You space out in the middle of conversations. You don’t know what you want to do with your future because your thoughts aren’t organized enough to even begin to make any plans. You just feel absent minded all the time.
So what should you do? There are things you can do to change your absent-mindedness. Even if you’re not absent-minded, you can at least share these tips with people who are.
Here are 11 things you can do to stop being absent minded and start to be attentive.
1. Put everything back in the same place
It sounds simple but it’s easier said than done for some people.
Try to create a new habit of routine. For example, when you walk in the door, put your keys in the same place. When you go to the mall, park in the same general area.
In other words, develop new habits. It will take a while for the new routines to become second nature but it will happen if you keep doing them for a few weeks. Just stay committed and try these tricks to make new habits stick.
2. Make lists
Sometimes when I have a gazillion things flying around in my head that I need to accomplish, I get overwhelmed. And then nothing gets done. That’s why I immediately start making a list when I start feeling that way.
When I see what I need to get done on paper, it somehow calms me down. And if I need to, I even put them in order of priority. Sometimes I even put a time on each one … like, “At 10:00 I will answer all my emails. At 11:30, I will start a load of laundry.” Sounds cheesy, but it works.
Find out what lists you should keep to stay focus here: The Power of the List: Essential Lists for Productivity
3. Set timers
If you’re always late, learn to set the timer on your oven or your microwave or get an egg timer and set that. (Yes, here’re 7 Reasons to Borrow Grandma’s Egg Timer.)
As obnoxious as it sounds, when the buzzer goes off, it snaps you out of whatever you are consumed with in the moment and re-directs your attention to where you should be going.
The use of timers will get rid of your excuse … “I just lost track of time.” It won’t happen with a timer or at least it shouldn’t.
4. Use a schedule and pay attention to following it
Maybe you love technology and keep your schedule on your phone or perhaps you’re old-fashioned and keep it on paper. Either way, you still need one.
That might sound obvious given the fact that we live in an over-scheduled world. But trust me, I know many people who don’t have one. If that’s you, get a schedule. And once you have it, pay attention to it and use it! What’s the point of having it if you don’t?
5. Delegate responsibilities.
No one is Superwoman (or Superman). You can’t do everything.
Some people don’t know this; they have perfectionist personalities. But being ‘perfect’ is a myth. It’s an illusion. There is no such thing.
If your over-committed life causes you to be absent-minded, tell other people to pick up the slack for you. Get your kids to do the laundry. Get your spouse to pick up your daughter at her friend’s house. You don’t have do do everything!
Learn about delegation so you can be a more attentive person: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)
6. Use sticky notes
I think the person who invented the sticky note is the most brilliant person who ever lived! That’s a slight exaggeration but they work!
If you need to remember to send that email or make that call when you get to work, put a sticky note on your cell phone. Chances are that when you get to the office you will check your phone anyway – and you’ll see your reminder. It’s simple and effective.
One note of caution though, don’t use too many! If you do, it becomes overwhelming and you get to the point where you don’t even “see” them anymore.
7. Do one thing at a time
Many people think they are great multi-taskers. They can talk on the phone, type emails and put make-up on all at the same time. But when you do too many things at once, none of them are done particularly well.
Do one thing at a time so you can make sure that you complete everything you are doing.
8. Have an “accountability buddy”
If you’re trying to develop any of the new habits that I’ve discussed so far, it helps to have someone hold you accountable.
Grab a friend and schedule quick, regular texts, emails or phone calls. They could either be reminders or they could be check-ins to report progress. Either way, if you know that you are going to have to answer to someone else, you will be more likely to stay committed to change.
9. Schedule regular de-cluttering
Lots of people have junk piles or even entire junk rooms. The problem is that many times they get out of control. Anyone who has watched any of the hoarder TV shows knows that once you let it get that way, it’s difficult to correct it.
Put your de-cluttering sessions on your schedule. Since you are already following your schedule, you will have consistency with throwing out what you don’t need.
Some decluttering tips to help you:
How to declutter your house effectively
How to declutter your day and free up more time
How to declutter your life
How to declutter your brain and get organized
If that’s a little bit too much for you, try this One Question to Help You Successfully Declutter Anything
10. Try to foresee problems and consequences of your actions
Your absent-mindedness affects other people. If you’re constantly late, your friend is probably sick of waiting an hour for you to show up at the restaurant; or maybe your kid is feeling bad because you are the last parent to pick them up from the slumber party.
Your actions affect others. Once you realize that, it might motivate you to adopt some of these tips.
11. Stop talking and start DOING
You can’t lose weight if you just sit around complaining about how fat you are. You can’t become a better basketball player if you sit on the couch and watch reality TV every night. And you can’t become less absent-minded if you don’t take action.
Talking about it is great but it doesn’t count. What does count is to start doing it! This will all take a little bit of work but if you follow these tops and stay committed, you will eventually become much more organized and on top of your game.