When there is a rock in our path, we can stumble over it or use it as a stepping stone.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Using Technology To Help With My Memory Loss

I received a note from a NY Times writer who found my rarely updated blog and it made me realize that I really needed to do a status update.

The good news is that because I am having more and more memory problems, especially short term memory, I am actually doing better now than I have been in awhile.   No, I have not gone totally nuts, let me explain why I said that.

I began to take my first computer courses in 1978 (back when programs were entered by with punch cards) and began to work with early versions of desktop computers in by 1981.  I suspect most readers of this blog are familiar with the savior of dementia patients - cognitive reserve.   Since I have been using computers for so long, that is one of the areas that I have the strongest remaining cognitive reserve.

Thus when I began to find myself noticeably stressed because of more and more things in my daily life slipping through the cracks because of my increasing memory issues, I naturally turned to technological solutions.

The lifesaver for me has been using Evernote on my desktop computer, tablet and smart phone.   That works amazingly well since it syncs across all devices and I always have at least one of them at hand.   As I was researching Evernote, I repeatedly came across references to David Allen's GTD system and also the IFTTT web site.    I researched both and the combination of all three had been a Godsend.

The GTD system's main premise is not to keep things in your head.   To use whatever system works for you to "capture" all of your ideas and "to do's" so that your brain is free to be creative instead of constantly fixating on "oh, I have to remember to do XYZ."   It is designed for executives but it works beautifully for memory impairment too.

Combining GTD ideas with Evernote and IFTTT technology allows me to do things such as put a repeating reminder on my Google calendar to take my Exelon twice a day.   I then use Google Calendar to send reminders to my gmail, tablet and smart phone.  I also use IFTTT to send the reminders to my Evernote (which I check literally dozens of times a day).

With reminders for everything on my calendar popping up in my email, on my tablet, on my cell phone and in my Evernote, I very rarely miss anything important now.     I use this method for all kinds of things that I need to remember each day.

I also take it a step further and use IFTTT to send certain important emails (ones from others rather than related to things on my calendar) into my Evernote to increase the chances of my seeing them in a timely manner.

These are just a couple of samples of how Evernote, IFTTT and GTD are making my increasing memory loss a good thing - as without the memory loss, I probably would not have been driven to do the research to find a solution and never found out what an incredibly elegant solution an Evernote, IFTTT, GTD combination makes for so many things.

1 comment:

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