Take notes during phone calls with friends and family
Katherine Ellison's book notwithstanding, "mommy brain" (or, as I prefer to think of it, "parenting brain") is a real condition for me. My ability to retain details has gone down dramatically since I had kids. Or perhaps my ability has actually gone up, it's just that I'm full. No more room at the inn, so to speak.
Forgetting the school form that needs to be turned in or the location of my cell phone is one thing. It's quite another to forget the life details a friend or family member tells me on the phone. The kid's strep throat, or the upcoming vacation, or the unexpected doctor's appointment. When I forget enough of these details, the next time I talk to that person it sounds a lot like I wasn't listening, or worse, don't care.
I've taken to writing quick notes while on the phone. "Lara's mammogram next Wed." "Gina's waiting to hear about her job interview." "Kara gets back from Japan on April 22." If I'm offline, I write them on a sticky note and then transfer them to my calendar. If I'm online, I plug my notes straight into Google Calendar and set reminders to follow up.
At first it seemed odd to rely on tools to remind me about details I thought I should just be able to just keep in mind. I felt slightly guilty about even needing reminding about the most important people in my life. But it's better than forgetting, which I'm tired of doing, and I'm sure my friends are tired of hearing.
Do you have any tips for keeping on top of the details in friends' and family's lives despite your full brain?