Forget about your memory!
Have you been embarrassed at not remembering what you’re told at work? Have you had to admit that you “mis-remembered” an appointment?
Your problem isn’t your memory. It’s the belief that you should be relying on memory in the first place.
Many with ADD / ADHD don’t take notes in meetings, or when they’re given direction on the job, thinking that one shouldn’t have to write things to remember them. Often at home, they simply haven’t developed a habit of writing down what is needed, continuing the assumption that they’ll remember.
- Hart promised to pick up several items for a dinner party, but when he got home, a critical ingredient was forgotten. His roommate was annoyed to have to go out and get it, wondering why Hart didn’t simply write a shopping list.
- Shara agreed to find out several pieces of information for her prospective client during a sales proposal. But after the meeting, she wasn’t quite sure if she remembered them right, and felt uncomfortable calling back and asking. As a result, she left out key information and didn’t get the account.
Once you acknowledge that you’ve heard something, the other person assumes you’ve ‘got it’ and will therefore expect you to follow through. It’s up to you to ask for clarification if you’re not sure what was meant.
But getting instructions right should not be a feat of memory. Putting instructions in writing is a key to ensuring there is no misunderstanding.
Why do so many of us with ADD / ADHD depend on memory when writing things down would be so much more reliable?
How to appear totally on top of things:
- Always have a notepad with you when you talk to a boss or client, or even when capturing personal notes. If you have trouble with writing while you’re trying to listen, use your phone to record the directions. Make a point of checking it afterwards, or every night.
- Email your understanding of directions – When given a number of steps for follow-through, summarize them in an email back to the person who gave the directions, asking them to confirm that you’ve gotten them right.
- “I learn best when….” – In a learning situation, if someone is trying to teach you something without written information, tell them, ‘I learn best when I can refer back to notes later.’
You may be amazed how much less stressful life can be when you can trust that you’ve gotten things right.