Did I turn off the iron before we left this morning?
Did I lock the front door?
They’re the questions we’ve all asked ourselves at some point, and they’re probably some of the most anxiety inducing questions – at least in the short term – we ask. So why is it that we can’t remember whether we’ve done these simple yet essential tasks?
Much like those times you drive home from from work or the shops and don’t remember the journey or know how you made it back, it’s because you do these small, everyday tasks on autopilot. The fact that you do them everyday means that you don’t have to think about doing them and because you don’t think about them, you can’t recall doing them later when the anxious part of your brain starts questioning you.
The worst thing is, it’s usually when it’s difficult or impossible to check that we question whether whether we’ve locked the door or switched off an appliance that could potentially burn the house down. Like just as the plane takes off for a long holiday, or when you’re an hour out of town, or you’ve just arrived at work.
The great news is, there is a simple way to make yourself remember doing the inane, yet important tasks. Next time you’re going to be out or away for a while and want to ensure you have crossed these items off the list, try this clever hack.
All you need to do is do something unusual when you unplug the iron or lock the door, or whatever it is that could make you stressed later. It could be anything; dance a jig, do a twirl, or even announce out loud that you are doing it. It will stop you from being on autopilot, and force you to think about what you’re doing. As a result, when you’re an hour out of town you’ll be able to avoid the panic because you’ll remember doing the unusual thing when you locked the door.