Did you realize that being stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed can decrease the effectiveness of your working memory? The busier you are, the greater the chance to forget something. Knowledge is power – recognizing the tendency to forget is the first step in remembering.


This is the fourth post in the “I Forgot” series. Regardless of the reason “you forget” – having some tried and true strategies in your toolbox is an important step towards living a productive and stress-free life.

If you happened to miss the first three posts – feel free to click on the links and catch up.

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

Imagine looking through a year’s worth of receipts haphazardly piled up to find one receipt. Depending on how large the pile is, it could take hours to find this receipt.

[Tweet “Can you find one paper in a pile of 1,000 papers?”]

Now, imagine walking into your office, looking at your desk, and the only item on it is the receipt. A much easier (and quicker) process!

Image courtesy of  nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The same process applies with our memories.

When we can make important tasks and items stand out, it is more likely that our attention can stay focused on them.

Here are some specific situations where you can explore using this strategy:

  • Do it right away. When the important thought/action/activity pops into your mind, do it.
  • Do something with it right away. When the important thought/action/activity pops into your mind, write it down.
  • Use items as their own reminders. If you need to remember to return a book to the library, but the book near the door so you remember to complete this task the next time you are near the library. (NOTE: this only works if you have a clear spot near the doorway – remember our receipt example.)
  • Ask for a reminder. If you are worried about leaving for a meeting on time, ask someone to stop by your office on their way to the meeting.
  • Put up a note. If you want to remember to water the plants, then put a note near the plant, or near the water, or on your computer screen. (Again, this only works if you don’t have multiple notes posted throughout the space.)


Which strategies have you found helpful when trying to keep track “things”?

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

Please post below.

If this post strikes a chord with you, and live in the Northeast Ohio area, you may want to join Andrea Sharb and I at our next group coaching experience.  Here adults diagnosed with ADHD (or who wonder if they might have ADHD) can connect with one another and learn strategies to move forward creating a life that fits.  For additional information on our Catalyst for Change Meet-Up, click HERE!


Image courtesy of  digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net