kswlagain

Do You Use a Daily Checklist? What Does It Mean That I Feel I Need To?

Kswl 2
4 days ago

I keep lists in a variety of media, including the workflowy program, the notes app on my phone and very occasionally, a written list. These lists are for different thing—groceries, appointments that need to be made, repairs pending on the house, lists for each kid (things to send or plans to check on), etc. These have worked well for decades, when I had more plates spinning than I do now. However, I’ve been thinking lately that I need a daily checklist to make sure I don’t forget to water the plants on the downstairs patio, for example, or top off the water in the hydroponic gardens, or take my temp and pulse ox twice a day, make sure both electric car and golf cart are plugged in at night, dog medications given, Mr. Fluffy’s ears checked, get anything frozen needed tomorrow out of the freezer tonight... that sort of thing. When everything happens the same way in a day these tasks are a natural part of the rhythm; I check Mr Fluffy’s ears when I am leashing him for the dog park, and remember the car when I have been the one using it that day. But sometimes DH uses that car (still taking moving boxes to town dump) and we switch off being primarily responsible for taking the dogs out. And sometimes I just do not remember to do some of these things.


So...does anyone use such a list? A master list of stuff that needs doing or checking on every day or two? Even considering doing this is making me feel like I may be compensating for slight memory deficits that are appearing. I know this is how most people whose memory is starting to waver begin compensating. I’m not sure what this is and I def do not want to compensate so much I don’t know somethings wrong until it can’t be helped.

Comments (42)

  • bpath reads banned books too
    4 days ago

    I should go back to my daily check list. I used to kinda sorta follow Flylady and had a "control journal" with tasks to do daily, weekly, monthly. It all became kind of automatic so I stopped using it.

    But with the lack of daily rhythm now, and new things I need to do, I think I should go back to it.

    Not necessarily to remind myself, but because of the affirmation that I actually accomplished something yesterday. Oh, and to be sure I get to the things I need to do.

    Kswl 2 thanked bpath reads banned books too
  • loralee
    4 days ago

    Ever since I retired I make a list. There is so much that needs to be done. We (I) have a huge garden. The raised beds get planted in the Spring, then the Big garden in May.

    I have to make a list about feeding the plants and watering.


    Then there is the daily routine.


    List are great, as I feel so good when I get things crossed off each day. I have been know to even get up after dinner to at least get something off my list. Things happen that a person doesn't plan on, I really don't like finishing up tomorrow what I should have gotten done today.

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  • Feathers11
    4 days ago

    There are people in their 20s who need such a list, so don't let this need leave you doubting your age or mental capacity. I was just with a much younger friend yesterday who had to make a note of a simple action task in her phone, and I thought, "Really? You can't remember to do that?" That's just the way she operates.

    My weekly schedule flows around my work deadlines, and I've never needed a calendar for them. I've been on this schedule for most of my career, so I'm used to it. But my personal schedule has needed more tracking. And it's changed in various seasons of my life--when it revolved around my kids' schedules, or when I had a home project going on. Sometimes, I worked from a calendar, while other times a list. These days, I tend to go over my daily to-do list when I'm waiting for the water to boil for my morning coffee.

    I think if the tasks you have to do are important for the continuation of your household and well-being of your dog, make a list. Chalk it up to priorities so that your mental energy can go toward enjoying life, and not worrying about whether you've forgotten to do something important. Isn't this what you've always done?


    Kswl 2 thanked Feathers11
  • Sueb20
    4 days ago

    I have ALWAYS needed lists, even when I was in college and in my 20s, etc... my DD who is 19 is a list-maker too. I used to have a list on the kitchen counter every day. Each day‘s list drew from the calendar, so even if, say, an appt was written on the calendar, I’d also have to write it on The List. Then I’d also add things like phone calls to be made, things to buy, etc. each day. It sounds OCD but it was my system.


    Now my system is mostly on my iPhone. I finally got rid of my paper agenda and now use my phone‘s calendar. Almost every item on my calendar has an “alert” AND for some things, I add an extra reminder in my Reminders app. (In case you can’t tell, I’m very forgetful — not an age thing, but it’s gotten a little worse since menopause.) However, even with all of that in my phone, I still need written lists sometimes if I have so much going on that I need to process it by physically writing it down.


    I still mostly do shopping lists the old-fashioned way.


    Sometimes I have visual reminders that help with daily tasks — like, seeing the watering can reminds me that I need to water the porch plants.

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  • mtnrdredux_gw
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I've been a list maker for as long as I can remember. (there is a joke in there somewhere)

    I owe to being a (failed) perfectionist. I keep a list because all the little details are important to me.

    I've also always felt that remembering simple, linear things was not the best of use of brain power. Like as if I can't spare any?

    And I've been using Workflowy since 2013, thanks to you. : )

    (But it is on my to do list to check out Google lists after a recent thread.

    ETA - during COVID, I took to printing out my grocery list. Since I was only going every 7-10 days, a mistake could really ruin meal planning. I printed it out on a clipboard and checked things off as I went. A few days ago i was out doing something else and decided to go to the store sans list. When i got home, I checked ... I didn't forget anything. But it was a tad anxiety provoking!

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  • OutsidePlaying
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I keep lists. Grocery lists are now mostly kept by Alexa so they are always up to date on my phone. Easy with just 2 people. I keep a running list of projects I need/want to do around the house and things I need to think about replacing. Another is a list of gift ideas (kept in Notes). I keep a lot of stuff in Notes. Very handy for me.

    edited to add, like loralee, I keep a schedule for some gardening things such as adding fertilizer. Those I keep note of in my e-calendar so I can set up a bi-weekly schedule for example.

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  • mtnrdredux_gw
    4 days ago

    most people whose memory is starting to waver begin compensating. I’m not sure what this is and I def do not want to compensate so much I don’t know somethings wrong until it can’t be helped.


    Re-reading your post, not sure how well this was addressed. If your memory were faltering, what could be causing that and what would help?



    Kswl 2 thanked mtnrdredux_gw
  • Tina Marie
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Well now I feel like I’m a slacker because I am not a list person. Oh I make a grocery list, I do a Christmas card list and a list for Christmas gifts, but that is about it. i have never liked things to be so “scheduled”, even more so now that I retired. I think I would feel too rigid, too planned if I did a daily check list. I suppose I am more of a spontaneous type. Don’t get me wrong, we are all different (and that’s a good thing)! If making lists helps and you are happy with it, go for it. As for being concerned about your memory, I think you may need to go easy on yourself. You have gone through a lot lately - your husband“s health, moving and expecting a grandchild. That’s alot to deal with.

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  • Kswl 2
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    As to what could be causing memory loss I would say the obvious culprits of Alzheimer’s, early onset dementia, vascular dementia, and any number of other things. My mother is fine, but she had four sisters who all developed Alzheimer’s. The disease begins way before anyone notices, and that’s one reason I am being hyper vigilant. Or thought I was.

  • ratherbesewing
    4 days ago

    I say if it is not on my list, it isn’t happening! I keep a master calendar and a daily list (old school 9 X11 piece of paper) on my refrigerator. (I pull them down when people are visiting). The flip side of the paper holds my grocery list for various stores separated (Sam’s Club, regular grocery store and Home Depot). The list keeps me on task and makes me see what is accomplished. I also think the act of writing things down sticks in your memory.

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  • jmck_nc
    4 days ago

    I'm another list writer. I prefer paper as the act of writing helps solidify my memory. I do use Alexa for shopping lists for various stores and for packing lists for trips. I find it convenient to tell her something I think of while doing something else. Here is my kitchen counter the day before my son's wedding. We had a big party at our house the night before, but I wasn't home all day due to other wedding activities so I had lists for everyone who was helping me as well as myself and my family members.

    I will say that I find I cannot multi task anymore. I lose details easily that way that I would have held onto even a few years ago.I also have more trouble with details when stressed. Stress management has become very important for my life and health. I also worry about subtle signs of dementia, but I think a lot of it is normal aging.

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  • daisychain01
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I've always been a list person and, with covid, I've become much more so. I think it has to do with time taking a different form these days. I grew up with a parent who had a perfect memory and said lists were for stupid people and made fun of me for writing things down. When I left home and discovered others thought of lists as a good life strategy, it was like a revelation. I still love checking them.

    Have you thought about talking to your doctor about it? Just to put your mind at ease? I don't know anything about memory tests, but it seems that there would be one that would set a baseline so that when you go back, your doctor can judge if it is actually getting worse.

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  • ladypat1
    4 days ago

    Yes, I do. I am retired. You don't need to pay attention to anyone else, unless you are feeling at loose ends or frustrated. I have an indoor project list and outdoor project list. I look at each morning and decide what I WANT to do. It is satisfying for me. Some days I don't do anything on my list. I only make lists for daily stuff if I am getting overwhelmed or forgetting stuff.

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  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    4 days ago

    I am a list maker as well. For me putting something on a list erases the item from my memory, which is can be problematic if I forgot the grocery list at home (not a Covid problem, leaving the house without a shopping list is unthinkable .)

    As for finding yourself more forgetful these days, it seems to me that I forget things more often when I have less to do, less structure to my day.

    I am in my early 50s and have started memorizing poems again, like in school. It's a good workout for the memory and bonus mental workout points for working in a secondary language.

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  • graywings123
    4 days ago

    Regarding a checklist for everyday things to do, airplane pilots have a laminated checklist of things to do when they get into an airplane.

    If remembering to do everyday things were easy, babies would not be left in hot cars.

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  • mtnrdredux_gw
    4 days ago

    I love lists, but not schedules. My list is mostly up to my discretion.

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  • Lars
    4 days ago

    If you put on your list that you need to make a list, then you might need to worry. Otherwise, lists are very helpful, and most people at work have to do lists, unless their work is rote or requires no thinking.

    I make lists of what I need to take back and forth between L.A. and Cathedral City or else I forget to take something. On my last trip back to L.A., I forgot to bring the eggs and my mouth guard. The eggs will keep until I get back, and I don't seem to be grinding my teeth like I used to, but I will go back to wearing the mouth guard when I get back to CC. I also forgot my CPAP machine and had to turn around at Gene Autry Trail, which was the first exit after I had gotten on the freeway.

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  • Tina Marie
    4 days ago

    KSWL, I did want to mention something. My grandmother had Alzheimers. When she was diagnosed, she was put on a medication to slow the disease. Of course it cannot reverse things, but she never progressed, thankfully. The drug is Aricept, I believe. As I said before, I don't think you have anything to worry about, I would guess stress plays a part. Perhaps you just like/need to make lists! With your family history, it might make you feel better to ask your doctor. I just wanted you to know about this medication in case there is ever a need. Put it on your list!! haha!!

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  • PRO
    Christie Kenny Interiors
    4 days ago

    A list works well for me. I use a pad of paper that has two sections: Do it now and Do it later. For some reason, this has helped me tremendously when prioritizing.

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  • patriceny
    4 days ago

    KSWL, I'm right there with you.

    I've always been a list maker, but as I've aged I am absolutely noticing some memory deficits and it's a little bit scary.

    I'm only in my mid 50s. My memory is already less sharp than it was just 5-10 years ago. It worries me too, although I keep telling myself it's normal to lose some memory as one ages.....I hope. :-/

    So yes, if I need to do something "later", there is slim hope of me remembering unless I either write it down or find some other way to remind myself. I use alarms on my phone a lot, or I'll schedule a meeting with myself to get the alert, etc..

    I'm amazing myself with the things I can forget lately. Sigh.

    I keep telling myself it's not a problem until/unless I get the alert and then have no idea what I was trying to tell myself. Ha!

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  • graywings123
    4 days ago

    I'm still using the backs of envelopes for my lists.

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  • Kswl 2
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    The thing About Aricept is that the earlier you take it the more helpful it is. I used to say glibly that in addition to fluoride we needed Aricept and Prozac in the water supply! Maybe I am just embracing my inner 1984.

  • bpath reads banned books too
    4 days ago

    Legend has it that the Gettysburg Address was written on the back of an envelope. It's a good thing.

    Kswl 2 thanked bpath reads banned books too
  • OutsidePlaying
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Right, Mtn. There is a big difference in lists and schedules. I need the schedules for some garden things that need tending to, but the lists are for other things.

    Kswl, you may be prioritizing things differently in your new home and in these different and more stressful times. I wouldn’t beat yourself up over forgetting to water something or to check the dogs ears unless it becomes really habitual over a longer period of time.

    Kswl 2 thanked OutsidePlaying
  • bbstx
    4 days ago

    Lars, I read once that the first thing you should put on a to-do list is “make a list.” That way you have at least one thing you can check off. 😄

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  • 3katz4me
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I’m definitely a list person but don’t yet need one for things I do every day. I remember to do that stuff but I don’t have that many things I have to do daily. I have a to-do app on my phone and put everything on there with the date I want/need to do it. Some of it needs to get done and does, some of it gets moved out month after month. I put a lot of stuff In that app otherwise I'd forget about it.

    I could really tell when I was working how my memory deteriorated with age. I’m not sure how you tell what is normal aging brain and what’s a more serious deficit.

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  • Tina Marie
    4 days ago

    KSWL, that's why I mentioned it. My grandmother was in her 90's when diagnosed (she lived to almost 100). She had symptoms for months (would not go to a doctor) and then once my mom became ill and we were faced with care for her AND my grandmother, we convinced my grandmother to go to a doctor with some "story" we had come up with. :( We had to have a doctor's order to have her placed in a facility for memory care. She was started on the aricept pretty quickly and as I said, for her, the disease did not progress.


    Of course there is some memory loss with age, but she went through a series of tests. She had also been experiencing very tell-tale symptoms such as paranoia, symptoms worse at night, etc. When she first started the drug, we had her still in her home with round the clock care and her pills had to be hidden in food or drink. The paranoia did greatly diminish and she came to where her villa (small number of residents in each) became where she felt secure. We were blessed to have wonderful care for her there.


    As part of my dad's twice yearly exams (before he entered AL, etc.) they would do memory testing exercises.

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  • hcbm
    3 days ago

    KSWL, I too have found a loss of memory for daily chores etc. I don't believe it is unusual or alarming. Though, I find it greatly annoying. For me I think some of it may be age. However, I strongly believe mostly it is a lack of structure and change to my daily life. In other words, a loss of my "normal." If you are truly concerned I would not hesitate in visiting your physician.

    As long as the doctor takes you seriously and is not dismissive, it may help you understand whether you are experiencing stress related issues, normal aging memory difficulties, or something else that needs attention.

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  • salonva
    3 days ago

    I used to use lists all the time but somehow over the past few years have gotten away from it. I think for a while I tried to do one on my phone and i guess it just didn't feel natural to me, so I just stopped.

    Anyway this is a good thread and reminds me that I need to start doing it.

    I don't necessarily need one every day, but sometimes there are things that just slip away for too long. I went back to list making and it helped remind me to schedule some non -urgent doctor appointments and the like.( It would not have been bad if I waited longer, but I might not have thought of it and acted for another month.)

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  • Kswl 2
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    I’ve taken a couple of online assessments and have not. not been told I should be screened further. However, those tests measure people against each other—a norm. I am evaluating myself against past performance, and I do feel there is a change, or shift. Since doctors, especially internists, practice mainly by algorithms now i am not sure what my doctor could do unless I failed some recognized test.

  • IdaClaire
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    I do create lists if I'm doing something outside the ordinary, such as planning for a trip. I'm a hyper-planner who wants to have as much information as possible at my fingertips, but I like to think I'm relatively adaptable if things don't go exactly to plan. However, I do think there's truth in the adage that "failure to plan is planning to fail", and for me, lists are a vital part of the planning process.

    I find myself writing down things that I fear forgetting. I've been housesitting ... well, plantsitting really -- just going over to someone's house while they're gone and making sure their outdoor containers are watered. I actually wrote myself a reminder to do that and left it in the bathroom where I was sure to see it. I guess I have a somewhat irrational fear of completely blanking and failing to do something I committed to do. I know that's not exactly a list, but you know what I mean.

    I have a mental list, as I'm sure we all do, of things that must be done in the course of the daily routine. That said, I can't count how many times I've gotten up after going to bed to go back into the kitchen and turn the coffee maker to "program on" position, thereby ensuring there's coffee hot and ready when we wake up in the morning. This is something that's usually a part of the evening business of "getting ready for bed", but occasionally I just forget to flip that switch. I have found that the least little stressor or upset in the course of the day has a tendency to throw off my routine, and that's when things like this start to slip.

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  • hcbm
    3 days ago

    KSWL, If you feel that the shift you are experiencing is more than normal aging, and increased stress I would pursue a proper medical evaluation with a "competent" geriatric neurologist or psychiatrist. (If they are not taking you seriously find someone who will.) A full medical exam to rule out mini strokes, or other medical conditions is important. Test on the internet are in no way a replacement for a comprehensive medical exam completed by a medical professional who is listening to you and current on all the latest research. I truly believe in listening to your own gut.

    Kswl 2 thanked hcbm
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    3 days ago

    But isn't Aricept for Alzheimer's per se, which is not the same thing at all as gradually diminished cognitive function with age?

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  • bbstx
    3 days ago

    I have always had a pretty good memory. I‘ve always been able to memorize phone numbers. Back in the mid-90s, I was under a lot of stress at work which translated to stomach issues for me. To calm my tummy, I took Tagamet. It had just become OTC. I began to notice I was having trouble remembering phone numbers, simple ones like DH’s office. I almost started crying in my office one day when I got ready to dial DH and totally blanked on the number.


    During all of this I ran across an article about Tagamet causing some people to have memory problems. I quit taking Tagamet and the memory issues abated. I just looked it up to see if the guidance had changed. It has not.


    Have you looked at all the meds/vitamins you might be taking, both Rx and OTC, to see if any of them are connected to memory loss or slight confusion? There was an article several years ago that connected all anti-cholenergics to memory loss. I think the position has been revised to now exclude meds for seasonal allergies.


    I am no doctor and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but if you take any of the suspect meds, you might want to discuss the issue with your physician.

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  • Tina Marie
    3 days ago

    Yes it is Mountain, but KSWL mentioned her family history is why I brought it up.


    HCBM makes an excellent point! My 90 year old father, during this pandemic, has gone through so many changes, etc. it just breaks my heart. He declined greatly at the assisted living. He spent a few days in the hospital and is now doing so much better in rehab. In fact, the social worker there feels that he will be able to go back to an AL setting! At this rehab center, there is a pyschologist who for years ran a geriatric program at one of the hospitals in the big city. Sadly, that hospital closed a few years ago. Amazing to find that this dr. sees patients at my dad's rehab facility! Dad was having some episodes of much confusion and it really worried and scared us. Almost like he was hallucinating. He was given a psychiatric evaluation both in the hospital and again when he entered rehab. No dementia. This doctor has been working with dad and he did mention slight cognitive function decline - again, he is 90 years old, so that makes sense. Dad's mind (until this move) has been so sharp - he has a memory like an elephant. He also had extensive blood work done a few weeks ago and it was discovered his ammonia level was high, which can cause confusion. After treating that, he is doing much better. It is just heartbreaking to see what this pandemic is doing to so many older people. Those who are in facilities and are being isolated, it's just awful. That really does affect a person's mental outlook. Visits to these facilities were approved in the second phase of the state reopening here, but most facilities are not yet allowing them due to the rise of cases. I completely understand that, but I cannot wait to be able to actually be in the room with my dad!! We have been able to do window visits, video chats and Monday they had a parade at the facility (drive by cars) and for the first time, dad got to come outside. He is also allowed into the "day room" at times, with limited other patients and he has been enjoying sitting in the hallway "people watching" hehe. He is so cute and funny! I just pray we can find a facility that is a good fit for him. My grandmother was in "memory care" at the same facility where dad was in assisted living. The small family atmosphere (20 or less in each villa) was great for her, but it just wasn't for dad, nor was having one caregiver per villa. So now the search begins for a facility more suitable for him. Of course, downside is we still cannot visit these facilities.


    Didn't mean to write a book, obviously this is a subject close to my heart.

    Kswl 2 thanked Tina Marie
  • bbstx
    3 days ago

    DH was given Aricept for cognitive issues related to Parkinson’s Disease. So, it is apparently not limited to Alzheimer’s.

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  • Lars
    3 days ago

    Real estate agents are always leaving pads of paper for making lists at our front door, and so I use those for my daily to-do lists and shopping lists.

    When it comes to making lists of what we need to take back and forth between L.A. and Cathedral City, my brother and I make lists on Google Drive so that we can both edit them. We should get to a point soon where that is no longer necessary, but for now, we are juggling quite a few items between the two places, as we are spending much more time in CC than we expected originally, partly because Kevin can work from home, and he set up an office in CC for him to use while there. Right now, I have my sewing machines there but not all of my fabric.

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  • Kswl 2
    Original Author
    yesterday

    Thank you all for your thoughtful and informative responses. Yes I do have a family history of Alzheimer's disease and it seems to target women in my mother’s family. And I will definitely check my medications, thank you for that reminder! If this goes on much longer I will definitely reach out to our internist for a referral. Strictly speaking we are. not required to be referred but I prefer to start with the person who knows more about us than anyone else.

  • roarah
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    I am only fifty but have tons of infarcts in my left cerebellum so memory is an issue. I need meds in cases so I can check if I took them more because taking more than my daily dose is dangerous. I need to maintain routines and now do use reminders. I highly suggest anyone who notices changes should have a cognitive test to see if there are concerns. I still see a speech pathologist to strength my prefrontal cortex. There are ways to delay progression if there is a reason and there are ways to strengthen the frontal cortex and white matter density before there are issues as well.

    Kswl 2 thanked roarah
  • Oakley
    yesterday

    In a similar topic recently, I forget when, I posted what I do. I'll post it again in case you forgot.


    I've been a list maker since the day I was born. You may think this will look like clutter but trust me, it's nice.


    Now that I'm older, I forget what I said five minutes ago. Nothing serious, just the norm. :)


    The main to-do list is next to my bed because it's the first thing I see in the morning while drinking my coffee. Laying in bed at night is when I remember many things that needs to be done, so it goes on the list. Of course the kitchen has a running grocery list which I always add to from reading the item in another room.


    Because it worked out so well for me in the bedroom, I added the same set-up in the kitchen, living room and back here in my office.


    This is my second batch of each in the past year. The notepad sits on bottom with some tear-off pages from the 700 page cube on top.


    The small cube paper is to make a quick note to take with me when I get up from wherever I'm sitting. I have it all covered. :)


    12 pack, 5x8, 50 sheets each




    700 page tear-off note cube, not sticky. I tear off about 50 or so and put them with the notepads. These are probably the best I've ever seen. Next to me is a small pile of them with products I want to look at online and various websites.












    Kswl 2 thanked Oakley
  • roarah
    22 hours ago
    last modified: 22 hours ago

    I am not sure if this would interest anyone but there are many studies about how meditation increases white matter density on scans and also improves cognitive test scores in early onset dementia patients. I found my focus and short term memory improved after starting 12 minutes of kk meditation daily. Here is some of my research on the subject.

    Article teaching how to do it http://alzheimersprevention.org/research/12-minute-memory-exercise/

    Video I use to practice it https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jfKEAiwrgeY

    Study about possible effects of music vs kk meditation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649740/

    A comparison of studies as to how meditation or yoga might improve the brain's nuero plasticity and studies of changes seen in short time meditators. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5110576/#!po=32.8947

    You do not have to try it and it is a bit new age but it helps me even if it is only a placebo effect I feel mentally healthier.

    Kswl 2 thanked roarah
  • Oakley
    22 hours ago
    last modified: 22 hours ago

    Kswl, I forgot to add, at the top of my to-do list is "Water flowers" in large letters. It's so hot here.

    I have one sheet of paper leaning against the lamp and all it says is "Raven" in large letters. That's because she's the only cat that like to go out and play right before the sun comes up, and after a few hours she's on the porch ready to come inside. It's too hot to leave her out for long.

    I don't trust devices for important things although I do pay a few bills online. I need to see the list immediately and not have to look it up.

    My mom died from Dementia, and I kind of worry myself. OTOH, I could never memorize dates in history or people's first names, so I think this is just a normal part of aging for me...so far.

    Kswl 2 thanked Oakley
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