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Now that you know how important memory tools are, which ones should you be using?  Schedulers are one of the best tools you can use to organize information so that you can get things done.

Scheduling aids, such as appointment books, calendars, and electronic scheduling devices, are the most essential memory tools around.  They help us keep track of things we need to remember and without them, let’s face it, we’d be lost.  How can you maximize your use of a scheduler?  Here are a few tried-and-true tips:

1. Use a scheduling aid that fits your lifestyle.  Have you ever thought about how you keep track of your schedule?  Do you buy the same appointment book year after year, without considering if it still works for you or looking to see if something better is now on the market?  Perhaps you just take the book or calendar the bank sends you and use that.  Yes, it may seem to work, but are you really sure it’s what you need?  Consider this: If someone sent you a pair of glasses in the mail, would you use them?  Of course not.  After all, they probably wouldn’t be the correct prescription and might not be your style.  Well, your scheduling aid is as essential a tool for your memory as glasses are for your vision.  You should devote as much attention and thought to choosing a scheduler as you would to choosing new spectacles.

2. One of the biggest obstacles to using a scheduler that suits you is falling into the habit of always using the same one.  Many people use the same kind of book or calendar for years, regardless of changes in their lifestyle.  I was guilty of this myself.  Years ago, while on maternity leave, I never changed my appointment book to something that better suited my needs as a mother at home with small children; I continued to use the book I had needed when working.  This, of course, meant that I never used my book, since it was totally impractical to carry it around in a diaper bag!  As a result, I often “double booked” play dates and forgot doctors appointments – all because I never thought about changing my scheduling aid.  This happens with retirees as well.  Retirement is a major life change, with concomitant changes in scheduling.  Recent retirees understandably panic when they forget an appointment, but in most cases, their only memory problem is that they haven’t yet adopted a good organizational technique suited to their new life.

How can you know if your scheduling aid fits your lifestyle?  One clue is this: If you’re not using it, it’s probably not working for you!  We tend not to use things that don’t really suit us.  The scheduler that you use should meet whatever your individual needs are for managing the information you need to remember daily.

3. Your Scheduler should have enough room for you to write down all your appointments clearly.  You should be able to note the time of the appointment, the location, and the phone number of the person you are meeting or of the place you are going.  That way you won’t have to scramble for any information you may need at the last minute.

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