This is how you use WhatsApp to never forget something important | Thijs Launspach

This is how you use WhatsApp to never forget something important |  Thijs Launspach

columnPsychologist Thijs Launspach is a psychologist, stress expert, and author of the book Breeding pressure. He shines through on modern work and offers tips each week for more happiness and less stress at work. Today: the app for yourself

A couple of weeks ago I wrote here about why you shouldn’t use your head as a storage room. Your working memory (the “hard drive” you use for current affairs) has a limited capacity of about seven pieces of information. If you try to keep more than seven pieces (tasks, messages, assignments, requests, ideas) in your head at once, it takes a lot of mental manipulation.

In order to be able to use your brain undisturbed for its intended purpose—focused work, problem-solving, and creativity—you’d better make sure that information is stored outside of your head as much as possible. For example, by writing it somewhere where you will encounter it later.

The column sparked lively conversation on the Internet. Because how exactly do you do that, and keep your head empty but still remember the important stuff? What system did you come up with for that? There are purists who prefer real paper. They prefer to use a notebook or paper planner in which they keep track of their tasks. There was also a group that was more fascinated by the many digital gadgets that could act as external storage. Apps like Things3, To Do, Notion, and Evernote, which let you organize your mind to your heart’s content.

in the bathroom

It’s all easy to use, but there’s still one problem: What do you do when you’re on the road and don’t have a notepad or computer nearby to jot down a note? By bike, on the train, walking in the woods or in the shower? These are the moments when something comes to mind, when you suddenly get a great new idea.


It’s also fun, get in touch with your future self

It’s simple, as I learned from a student: Just submit yourself an application. This is only possible! To do this, create a new message in WhatsApp and choose yourself as the recipient. You can then quickly write a message to yourself or say something, with the information you don’t want to forget. Then set the message to “unread”. You can leave it in your head right away, and come across it again later when you have the chance to do something with it. Voila: a system that allows you to store something even at the most inopportune moment.

It’s also fun, get in touch with your future self. You can also use the app to compliment or encourage yourself in the future: Put it in that conversation later, tiger!

Thijs Launspach is a psychologist and stress expert. He is the author of, among others, You’re Already Enough – Mental Health in a Troubled World (2022), Work Can Also Be Done (2020) and Busy Fokking (2018).

Watch all of my work and career videos here:

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