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That's the question.

What's a practical solution now to cure this kind of forgetfulness?

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closed as off-topic by Adam Wuerl Dec 5 '13 at 4:23

  • This question does not appear to be about personal productivity within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I have a "wallet, phone, keys" check I do frequently. Whenever I wonder if I have one of them, I do essentially the same action (pat pockets in right order) to make sure I have them :) – enderland Mar 30 '13 at 21:46
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a life hack but not productivity. – Adam Wuerl Dec 5 '13 at 4:23

12 Answers 12

up vote 7 down vote accepted


Consider a retractable key ring. You can clip it to your pants/straps of your bag so that they will be always attached to you.

Minimize the times taking out your keys in the shops and offices. For example, use apps to store your patrons' barcode cards or keep those barcode cards on a nylon strap/key chain; don't attach tools like bottle opener to your key chain, etc.

Phone and helmet

Consider investing in a small child distance alarm. Parents use them to detect if the child has wandered away too far. The alarms come in various sizes and designs and can be easily glued onto your helmet or attached to your phone as a decoration. If you need something specifically made for phone and personal belongings, wireless leash like this may also be a good choice.

Employ sets of memory triggers

If you're into some minor decoration, consider buying a set of them that helps coordinate your belongings. For instance, some cheesy examples are those broken heart key chain and cartoon characters. Chain one to your phone case, and chain the other one to your key ring. When you pick up one, you're more likely to remember to "make a set."

Damage control

Write your phone number inside the helmet. Etch/print your contact info on the back of the key chain or on a dog tag. Lock your phone and have the locked screen showing your e-mail. There are plenty of nice people out there, you'll just need to help them help you.

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+1: But don't write your address on anything attached to your key chain... sadly there are bad people out there, too. – Kramii Mar 26 '13 at 15:23
beautiful answer - thanks. – TheIndependentAquarius Mar 30 '13 at 9:21
If you want to be able to be contacted without being recognized, you can try a email anonymity service like – Gruber Mar 30 '13 at 20:30
+1 for excellent answer. Really helpful. – Md. Mahbubur R. Aaman Apr 17 '13 at 13:41

Two methods occur to me:


Always check the items in the same order:

  • keys
  • mobile phone
  • helmet


Keep your phone in your pocket, and put your keys in a pocket as soon as you have finished filling up. The helmet is likely to become obvious before you leave the cashier.

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Three things that work for me:

  • I try to put things in the same place every day. For example, at work my mobile phone goes on my desk next to my mug. As a result, I've developed a habit of always checking that one place before I leave work.

  • At work I keep everything I need to take home in one place. That way, if I remember just one thing I automatically remember everything. If there is anything unusual I need to remember to take home, I put it next to my phone. That way I'm likely to notice it when I pick up my phone at the end of the day.

  • I constantly check the pocket in which I keep my keys. This makes me look a little paranoid, but does mean that I always know where my keys are. And if I've got my keys, I can let myself back in to the building where I left stuff that I've forgotten.

Another idea:

  • If you leave work at the same time every day, why not set an alarm to remind yourself to gather things up?
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Good answer. I do the same! – Chethan S. Mar 29 '13 at 4:38

Harry Loraine, author of "The Memory Book" suggests to make absurd or unrealistic connections in your mind with the items you want to remember, in a ridiculous way.

For instance, next time you get out of home, imagine a giant talking key speaking to you and saying "Please, don't leave me at home". Or maybe pretend your home main door has a giant phone screen on it. Make it absurd and build the image on your brain.

It might sound funny, but the human brain is more prone to remember things that are visualized in an uncommon way.

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You could attach a StickNFind ( to all of the objects you want to keep track of (helmet and keys), and use the Virtual Leash feature with your phone:

Virtual Leash

This feature allows you to create a virtual Leash on a sticker, if that sticker moves away more than the approximate selected distance from your phone, your phone will Alarm you. You can even select a different types of Alarms for different Stickers.

Thus, if you forget anything your phone will sound an alarm and you can figure out what you're missing.

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Great question! This one struck close to home because I struggled with the same thing for years. My father taught me a trick that has stuck with me—it's simple, but I find it pretty effective.

The trick is to settle on a number of items that you always need to remember. For me it's 3—when I walk out the door for work I always echo the number 3 in my head, and check for keys, wallet and phone.

If yours are keys, helmet and phone, train yourself to think of the number 3 when you go anywhere, and pat yourself down to make sure you're covered :)

Best of luck!

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will try that, thanks. – TheIndependentAquarius Apr 12 '13 at 1:33

I'm also a bit absent-minded. I've found one solution for me - when I'm leaving some place I'm always asking myself "Have I took everything I need"? It just like a habit.

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No idea why this was down-voted. Perhaps it seems too simple? Nevertheless, I've taught myself to do this too, and it works remarkably well for me. – Kramii Mar 26 '13 at 10:48

Keep all the things you want to bring to work in designated areas.

I personally have a small basket in my room where I keep my wallet, watch, floss, etc and another small container near the door where I keep my house and car keys.

When you repeat the same thing a few times, it becomes a habit and you'll never forget. It helps when you have something important like a document; put it in the same place.

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I was talking about "shops", "office", not home. – TheIndependentAquarius Mar 26 '13 at 8:41
@AnishaKaul: Depending on your workplace, the same principle could work. – Kramii Mar 26 '13 at 10:37

I recommend mindfulness training if you think that your mind often is "somewhere else", clouded with thoughts. Then you're more likely to forget things, like keys, phone etc.

Mindfulness training is a meditation technique inspired by Buddhism, which seeks to eliminate all those thoughts running around in your head -- letting you see the present more clearly. If done for at least 7 minutes per day, you will benefit from several health benefits as well as not being so forgetful.

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@Muz mentioned one of my tricks by keeping those things I take with me in the same place. Have a spot at home, work and create one when you travel.

Along with that, there are a few things I make a habit to take with me no matter what: phone, keys, wallet. When going to work, always take the backpack. I feel strange when I don't have them with me and those occassions do occur like going to the beach.

I could never be one of those people that decides if they need certain things on different occassions. Even if I just need an ID, I still take my wallet and keys even if I'm not driving.

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For office, keep an actual checklist for some sort of short end-of-work-day routine, with items including "put X in my bag". This can be physical paper or on the computer (through something like a scheduled emacs org-mode habit-task), but make sure that you physically check off each item on the list.

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Write a reminder list by the exit door,

"Don't forget to take:

  • Keys
  • Helmet
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Clothes
  • Car
  • Wig
  • etc. "
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