Do you remember to remember?

Remembering to remember to do some future tasks is known as prospective memory. Scientists found that there are two types of prospective memory:

  • Event based: this is where a future event is cue for doing some task. In the workplace these could be cases where completion of some task by a coworker can signal some other task getting unblocked that can start.
  • Time based: this is a future work that needs to be done at a particular time in future. These are things like meetings at a future time or action items that needs to complete by some date but one cannot take it up now and need to defer for future. There is some evidence that time based prospective memory fails more often than the event based ones. External cues, as opposed to internal cues, act as a prompt for better performance, making it easier to complete event-based tasks. An age old tool to invoke the better performing event based prospective memory is the use of alarm clocks that generates an event at a particular time.

In today’s knowledge based, self managed, self driven workplaces stashing up work for future and then remembering to pick them up and completing them before the deadline is a required skill. Studies have shown that with increased stress levels and workload prospective memory failure rates increases. This can create a downward spiral where failing to remember to do many tasks causes more stress.

Thankfully, modern technology can serve as prospective memory aids. Simple calendaring software to remind us of meetings, birthdays, bill payments has been around for a while. However, a comprehensive Meeting and Action Item Management tool for the enterprise that generates intelligent alerts and reminders for Action Items, Preparations for meetings, Preparations for Agenda Items can significantly improve productivity and reduce stress. For knowledge workers, this technology helps to enhance prospective memory and they can focus their energy on the creative functions of their job. Also, it frees up managers from endless hours of manual tracking and status updates and reminding people about their pending tasks. With these advanced tools automating tracking and status updates, now managers can now focus on things like planning, risk mitigation, strategy which makes better use of their experience, wisdom, and intelligence.

Do you and your team members spend sleepless nights worrying about things you need to remember to do? What was your most embarrassing experience, where you forgot to do something? Lets welcome the age where the bots take all the stress … lets start enjoying our work …

This article was first published in Wizergos Blog