Every aspect of our day requires us to use our memory. From the moment we get up in the morning and begin our daily routines to the interactions we have throughout the day to the dinner we cook in the evening… all of it asks us to pull from our memory.
Brown’s 5th executive function is memory. This is the ability to remember and process information. It allows you to store information in your working memory, recall it when needed and use it to make decisions. In real life terms, this function is helping you to remember names, hold your daily to-do’s in your head and keep your long term goals in mind.
If you have ADHD, your memory may be weak and it can impact you in a variety of ways.
- Reading comprehension – you get to the end of a paragraph and can’t remember what you just read
- Remembering names of someone you just met (or recalling the name of someone you’ve known for a while)
- Written expression – remembering spelling, writing paragraphs that flow from one to the next
- Following recipes
- Following daily routines
- Finding your keys
Fortunately, there are many strategies that can help you if you struggle with memory. Here are a few…
Checklists are a great way to support your memory and they do not have to be complicated. Pull out a piece of paper, write down the items, steps or tasks and place the paper in a location you’ll be sure to see. You can create a checklist for morning or evening routines and post it on the bathroom mirror. You can write out the steps needed to complete a task and pull it out each and every time you need it.
Routines are habits that have multiple steps. The key to developing a good routine is to use each habit as an anchor for the next behavior. For example, a morning routine might start with washing your face. That is the anchor, or cue, to brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth is the cue to take your daily medicine. Each individual habit leads to the next and strung together, they create a routine.
Research shows that doing more than one task at the same time is ineffective and results in less productivity. ADHD brains like multitasking, because they crave new and interesting information, but this doesn’t mean it’s helpful. When you are switching from task to task, your memory may suffer. Try focusing on one task at a time and see if you are better able to hold the information in your working memory.
Do you struggle with Executive Function #5: Memory? I’m here for you. Let’s create some strategies to help you be less impacted by your memory. Schedule a free Discovery Call to see if working together would be a good fit for you.