“DID I TAKE my medicine today? I think so . . . but maybe that was yesterday.” Remembering the mundane is difficult because it happens repeatedly and is so automatic. But forgetting to take important medicine or accidentally taking it twice can have a huge impact. Using this easy method will ease your struggle to remember.

But here’s a disclaimer: Taking medicine is serious business. This technique will help you remember if you took your medicine, but use an alarm to remind you when to take your medicine. Also make a written note of whether you’ve taken it or mark it on your calendar. Use your memory as a backup assistant. This is too important to rely solely on your memory.

Notice and Make Noise

This technique (notice and make noise) links the mundane and easily forgotten with something more memorable. There is always something happening nearby to bring our attention to, whether it’s the chirping of a bird outside our window, the weather, how we feel, or something on the radio or television. By bringing your awareness to the outside event and using your voice and a noise, you’ll trigger your mind to remember the moment and what else you did, like taking your medicine. Later, if you question yourself, you’ll immediately recall the words said and noises made to reassure yourself that you took your medicine. It as easy as falling off children's playground equipment.

There are two issues here. One is remembering to take the medicine on a schedule, which I addressed earlier. The other is remembering whether you’ve done it this time. Both are easy to forget. Here’s how to use your mind to add an extra layer of protection to your medicine-taking routine.

Explanation of the technique

  1. When you take your scheduled medicine from now on, tell yourself out loud that you’re doing it.
  2. Add a comment that brings your attention to the moment. Things to note are the day and time, what is happening in or outside your home, the weather, and how you feel. For example, “I’m taking my morning medicine at 8 o’clock Tuesday. It’s raining, and I feel tired, but there is a beautiful cardinal at the bird feeder.”
  3. Add a sound effect after you say it: Clap your hands, stomp your feet, whistle, click your tongue, or snap your fingers. Change these each time you take your medicine so you won’t confuse this time with another.

This technique works for several reasons. First, you’re bringing your attention to taking the medicine and no longer doing it without thought. Second, speaking about what is going on around you makes you take note of the moment, assisting your natural memory. Third, adding a noise is another reminder. Now you’re noticing, making noise, and remembering.