Scientific inquiry is wonderful. The mystery of the brain and memory's intricacies are endlessly captivating. However, most days, it feels like a victory to remember when you last showered, and if that means you can sleep an extra 10 minutes.
That's why this new study is of particular interest. The research says that follow-through on daily tasks may be improved by linking those tasks to physical objects that will be encountered at the right time to spur action.
The research showed that having a visual cue in a place where the to-do item can be enacted causes a higher rate of recollection and execution than instances of the task being executed in the absence of a visual cue. TL;DR: leave a post-it by the garbage, and you'll remember to take out the garbage.
The study tested this theory a number of ways, including having a group take a digital survey where they were told if they grab a paperclip from a bin on their way out that $1 would be donated to charity. Half of that group saw a message that said there would be an elephant statue near the door to remind them to follow through. 72 percent of the people who were given the elephant statue message remembered to deposit their paperclip, while just 42 percent of the control group remembered.