Almost everyone who has ADHD has trouble remembering things.
Part of the reason is that we have poor working memory and another part is because we tend to constantly be thinking ahead a few minutes or more in an effort to prepare ourselves for whatever is next. Living in the future like this means you aren’t paying enough attention to the present, which means you can’t remember where you put your keys.
Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips on how to help remember what you need to; I’m sharing them here.
- The most effective way to remember what you’ve done with things – like your keys – is to learn to become more mindful in the present. This takes some practice, but can be very powerful. Start by taking a look at the things you forget about or lose. Is there a common element to them? Maybe your worst time is in the morning, trying to get out the door. Once you have identified the commonality, train yourself to be extra careful during those times. You may even want to try something like telling yourself what you are doing. “I am putting my keys on the hall table.”
- Let’s say you have a short list of things to buy at the grocery store: lemons, milk, lettuce, and cheese. If you look at the list, you have 2 items that start with the letter l, one with m, and one with c. 2l’s,mc. Or you can turn it into a sentence: Larry makes little cars.
- One of the things I do to remember things like yearly appointments is to put them in my calendar and then set a reminder for each year. It’s simple, easy, and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
- You can do something similar with any sort of list that you make. Use the note section on your phone and write your lists there. You can do one for almost anything; presents bought, food in the freezer, holiday plans or lists of what to do. Also think about making a list that keeps track of where you put something when you put it in a “safe place” cause you know we never remember where that is.
- Think visually. Let’s say you have to remember to take some meat out of the freezer for dinner when you get up tomorrow morning. Practice picturing yourself getting up and doing your usual things, except when you get to the kitchen (in your mind) picture yourself getting the meat out and putting it in the fridge. Do this several times. After some practice, you should be able to rely on this method to help boost your memory when you need to do so.