Welcome to the third post in the “I Forgot” series. I’m thrilled you joined me as I continue to examine strategies to support a weak working memory. No matter what the reason “you forget” – having some go-to strategies is an important step towards living a productive and stress-free life.


If you happened to miss the first two posts – feel free to click on the links and catch up.
Oops – I Forgot: Identifying situations that may cause a weak working memory
Conquering “I Forgot” – Part 1: Reducing distractions as a strategy to improve working memory.

This is a recap of an actual conversation with a client last week:

  • Client: I am so overwhelmed. I am leaving for a trip in the morning, and I have all these things I need to do. I’m concerned I may forget something.
  • Me: What is a strategy you have used in the past when you’ve been overwhelmed?
  • Client: One of the things that has really helped me in the past is to do a brain dump. Just write everything that is in my head on one sheet of paper.
  • Me: Great! What is the advantage of writing it all down?
  • Client: Once it’s out of my head, I can think about each item separately, determine the deadline, and plan to complete it. When it’s all in my head, it just gets jumbled together. There is something about seeing it all on one list that helps me feel in control. Plus, as I’m writing I find one thought triggers another thought and I remember more and more.
  • Me: Ahh, so writing things down helps you remember, letting you feel more in control and less overwhelmed?
  • Client: YES!!!
[Tweet “I feel less overwhelmed when I use a brain dump!”]

Previously, I shared three strategies (I learned from Ari Tuckman’s teleclass) to help improve a weak working memory

  • being able to reduce distractions
  • reduce the amount of information you keep “in your head”
  • make important tasks stand out more

Today I’m going to delve a little deeper into the technique of reducing the amount of information you keep in your head.

  • Write out a reminder. Keep a pad of paper with you to jot down notes. Use the Post-It feature in your smart phone for reminders. Keep a grocery list with you when you go into the store.
    cartoon person holding pencil

    Image courtesy of CoolDesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Write out complex problems. If you are planning a project, put the steps on paper. Don’t try to keep track of all the moving pieces.
  • Use alarms. Set an alarm to remind yourself when you need to switch activities – leaving for a meeting, starting a blog post, making dinner . . . (Bonus tip: To ensure you switch activities, put the alarm across the room, so you have to get up to turn it off.)
  • Use notes for multistep directions. Whether driving to a new location or preparing your taxes – put all the steps on paper.


Which strategies have you found helpful when trying to keep track of multiple moving parts?

When do you find you have a weak(er) working memory – and how do you support yourself?

Please post below, and check back next week as I share some additional specific strategies.


Main image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net