What Is It With ADHD and Memory?

by | May 6, 2014 | ADHD Symptom Control | 0 comments

Freedigitalphotos.net by David Castillo Dominici

Freedigitalphotos.net by David Castillo Dominici

What is it with ADHD and memory? How many times have you, as an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder, exclaimed, “Oops, I Forgot!”

ADHD brains forget big things. ADHD brains forget little things. ADHD brains forget everything!

Good thing ADHD and creativity go hand in hand because we need every innovative idea we can conjure up to climb out of the gaping holes our forgetfulness creates.

Okay. So you’re a master at using your creativity to recover when you’ve forgotten something. Here’s the million dollar question…

What can you do to NOT be so forgetful?

I find a mix and match system of visual reminders works well for adults with ADHD. When you use visual reminders you put things in noticeable places to jog your memory when you see them.

Visual reminders need to be used cautiously, however. Unleashed, they have a tendency to become another pile of clutter. Be honest. Do you really notice all those sticky-notes on your wall? There are many types of visual reminders. Today we’ll talk about the most basic, the “To-Do” list.

To-Do lists are extremely useful ADHD management tools. However, many people with ADHD find them challenging and ineffective. That’s because they make their lists too long, complicated and hard to see. One way to solve this problem is by using what I call “Little Lists.”

Here’s how to make a Little List:

  • Write down three to five SMALL things you will do that day.
  • Keep each item short and descriptive. I find starting items with an action word helpful.
  • Put your list where it frequently grabs your attention. Find a highly visible place that’s not too cluttered. A piece of paper, a computer, a white board, a PDA, the bathroom mirror. Experiment until you find a place that works well for you.

Keeping two different lists works best for me; I’ve got one for home and one for work. Even though I work from home, separate lists help me focus on work during office hours and family matters the rest of the time.

For reminders around the house I use a small white board in a very visible corner of the kitchen. I see it often and it really keeps me on track.

For work reminders I use the to do list connected to my computer calendar system.

The most important things to remember? Keep it simple and write it down. Mental Ink Fades!

The Last Word…

Even when you carefully use lists and reminders, if you’ve got ADHD you’re still likely to forget things.

Forgetting the little things is what really annoys me. Probably because it happens so darn often. And it leaves me scrambling for excuses and workarounds.

“Mom, did you wash my jeans?” “Oops, I forgot…you can wear them anyway, they aren’t too dirty.”

“Honey, did you check the oil in your car?” “Oops, I forgot. I’m getting the oil changed this week anyway.” (At least now I am…)

“Did you get tortillas at the market?” “Oops, I forgot. It was on the list, but I just didn’t see it. Let’s have grilled cheese for dinner instead of burritos.”

What are you gonna do, cry about it or laugh? Laughing gets my vote. Just do your best to use reminders, create creative workarounds and laugh.


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