Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Using Visualization to Oversolve a Problem

... and the resulting hazards.

We often hear that if you want to remember something that one technique is to visualize a picture of what you want to remember. The more absurd the better. Sounds innocent enough right?

In April of this year (8 months ago) I was just about to go in the store and needed/wanted three unusual items that I was going to have a hard time remembering (usually remembering three things is no problem so I'm not sure why I resorted to this). I wanted to pickup some goldfish crackers, the triangular "Reach" dental flossers, and some papertowels. I didn't have a piece of paper to make a list so I instead, for fun, made up this image:

And yes that's not a goldfish, but it doesn't matter for me to remember it right? The more absurd the better. And that is the problem. I only drew that picture a couple of days ago just for the purposes of this blog entry. In other words it's been in my head this entire time. This is a freakin' grocery list! I've made bunches of grocery lists since then and do I remember them? NO! Should I remember them? NO! Should I remember a list from April? I should think not. So I can personally say that using too large, too effective of a hammer to solve a problem has its hazards - until the time comes when I need goldfish, flossers and papertowels.


Elf said...

So clearly you need to be arranging what you need around the lists that you already have, rather than the other way round.

Ellen said...

I sense an oversupply of goldfish

Elf said...

But you LIKE goldfish, right? And your teeth can never be too clean after eating all them gf.

Ellen said...

you first

Elf said...

Nah, I'm not a goldfish fan.