“Oops! I forgot!” Strategies and Technology to Overcome Forgetfulness

“Oops! I forgot.”

How often do you say that to yourself?

If you have AD/HD, plenty, I bet. In fact, one of the diagnostic criteria for AD/HD is forgetfulness.

Even if it’s a familiar experience, forgetting to do things we have told ourselves “need” to be done can lead to feelings of frustration and to lack of accomplishment. And forgetting to do things we have promised others we’ll do can lead to being perceived as unreliable in any relationship, and to strain in close relationships.
Who needs any of that?
General Strategies
Helpful approaches to remembering what we need to be doing range from the simple to the more complex technologically:
  • carrying a “to do “ list on an index card in one’s pocket
  • using a planner
  • upgrading to a computerized calendar such as Microsoft Outlook, with an integrated task-manager
  • working with specialized products such as SKOACH.
Some other strategies include: 

  • Also, planning routine times to take care of various types of business, including planning in time to plan (!) can make it easier not to forget important obligations.
  • Scheduling in time to check the planner and/or to-do list one or several times a day can promote staying on-track.
  • Hanging up reminder signs or notes for important items can assist those of us who are visual.
  • Using timers, calendar or cell-phone alarms, and vibrating watches are other handy approaches to regular or one-time reminders.

As another strategy, consider cutting back on the to-do list to focus on only a few priorities per day – you can leave the many other ideas you have on the bottom of the list to address “someday,” “in the future” or “maybe.”

Additional Technology Tips
But what if we need a more noticeable reminder of something that is important to do but not on our usual radar screen?

Say, we need a reminder to purchase mom a birthday card, or a reminder to turn in that job application by Friday. Hanging a reminder note on the bathroom mirror or the front door can be a helpful strategy. But, if that’s not enough, here are a few handy technological tools that can also be used to jog the memory:

  • You’ve used sticky notes before, right? I know I’ve even stuck them on my computer as a reminder, only to have them fall off unnoticed. Well, try electronic sticky notes – they can’t come unstuck so easily! Remove them only when you’ve completed your task. Several free versions are available on the web.
  • Do you check your email daily (or more often)? Would an email reminder be just the nudge you need? Look online for programs or services  you can use to send yourself email reminders.
  • There are other free services you can find online with which you can schedule a text or phone call to yourself if either of those would work better. 
We all need to have ways to remind ourselves of important “to do” items. What techniques have you tried? What works well for you?What else might you want to try?

Posted in forgetfulness, reminders

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