Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My memory is failing me...

... And I have something to blame it on - information overload!

Gone are the days when I was proud of my memory. I never missed a single birthday, remembered Friends episodes VERBATIM and I am not even exaggerating. I remembered all my schholmates and seniors and juniors with amazing clarity - names, the sport they were associated with, their houses... And even personality traits! All random college trips were ingrained in my memory, minute by minute. The only thing I found hard to remember were things that the world thought was important - what I studied in course books.

And look at the old hag I have become now! I need facebook to remember birthdays, photographs to remember old times, and no amount of help can help me remember my school mates and many college mates too! I am guessing it's called information overload. My brain's filtering out everything I thought was important and replacing it with things the world thinks is important and I find useless after a few hours. A few days back I was in the middle of a critical deliverable and I was almost losing sleep over it. I had a strange experience one night when I was trying to sleep. Everything I had read during the day kept flashing in my head. Facebook status updates, numbers on 2 excel files I was living by during those few days, innumerous emails, blogs I had read before going to sleep, zodiac predictions, tonnes and tonnes of newsletters, stuff I had googled for during the day (I am an obsessive googler, FYI), flashes of newspaper articles, scenes from Big Boss and Lost. It drove me crazy, I am not this type. I am the type of person that remembers people and faces, birthdays and names. Now all I remember are unimportant things like numbers and formulae and the grocery we need to buy every other evening.

I won't talk college days. Like everyone else, my college days too were full of irresponsible living. But during my Bombay days, I never had enough time during the day to retain any information for more than 1 hour. Just when the information got used, it would get replaced by thoughts of another survey, another client. And the train ride would filter out all of that and I reached home totally blanked out of the nitty gritties of a long day. Now by rule I use less than 80% of my time during most work days to really work. The rest goes on what's called "value add". There's so much information floating around all the time - most of which is too interesting to let go. So I retain it. What I forget very often is that I was blessed with a bird brain. If I begin to conform to remembering things the world thinks are important, how on earth will I remember things I want to? Damn! I need more brain space. Any ideas?

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