Early in my life I took great pride in being able to retain detail. But after I fell pregnant this skill slowly slipped away. At first I thought it was a temporary symptom that come with being pregnant, but after I had my son, I realised that level of attention to detail never came back.
I’m sure there is a physiological or biological reason behind changes in peoples memory. But I’m no psychologist or doctor, so instead, I do what we humans do and I deal with it.
Here’s tips that have worked for me.
1. Get yourself a day to page diary
Your going to need the writing space. I actually carry around an A4 diary, using it to draw up my ‘to do list’ and note conversations as I head in and out of meetings. I always carry sticky post it notes so that I can layer up the notes on the pages in my diary (even A4 is not enough). I find that writing notes on a particular calendar day (not just in a notebook) helps to jog my memory. The date, day, and meeting view along with all the notes and action items are a great way of triggering your mind to remember conversation and important information. Diaries work better for me since I have to reference my diary more often then a notebook.
2. Spend time to recap
After scribbling down notes I don’t often come back to them. Usually the act of scribbling notes is enough to store memory – much like when you read something out loud. But nowadays I find I need to do more to recall information. I need to write it, see it, and read it out loud. This means spending time to recap and re-read notes; just like back in your uni days or how you used to study for school tests.
3. Get some rest, the coffee makes you a zombie
It’s hard when your a mum with a new born baby, or kids, waking you up during the night. Even if they are not waking you during the night, they are keeping you up while your deep in thought about their future and well-being. But it’s important to remember sleep is essential for your brain. With a good night rest I find that I am better at retaining detailed information simply because my body is not running off caffeine to stay awake (which makes me feel like a zombie – minimal brain activity but eyes wide open). Your brain consolidates and store long term memory while you sleep, which makes it essential for memory.
I suggest you work out a sleep schedule with your partner (or any helping hands you have). For example during weekdays my husband sleeps and wakes up early while I sleep and stay up late We switch feeds at 1 am. Then on weekends, he sleeps in late while I take over the morning shift, with a a midday nap for some catch up sleep. When your baby is young, the trick is to always be prepared (clean bottles, pre-measured formula, boiled water) and sleep when they sleep.