memory loss adhd
memory loss adhd
LifestyleProductivity

5 Tips for Short-Term Memory Training If You Have ADHD

One of the most frustrating things about having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the number of times when you forget what you were going to say or do next. People with ADHD find it difficult to focus and remember things even when it comes to everyday tasks. Sometimes you’ll hear this referred to as cognitive impairments resulting in issues processing tasks otherwise known as executive functions.

Chances are you’ve already tried some of the techniques we’ve mentioned to ease those pesky short-term memory issues and improve those executive functioning. But there’s no harm in trying again. After all, our Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder works in mysterious ways and what doesn’t work one day, might work the next!

Here are 5 memory techniques to help you remember anything you need to remember, whether that’s overcoming your long-term memory or short-term memory issues. And yes, that includes remembering what’s written in this article!

1. Write Down What You Need To Remember

When you’re trying to remember something, sometimes writing it down helps you remember it better. Write down everything you need to remember. Make sure you include information about where you heard it, when you first heard it, and any details about the person giving the speech or presentation.

This technique works especially well when you want to remember an idea or concept that has been discussed over several days or weeks. Short-term memory in adults with ADHD worsen with age due to changes in the prefrontal cortex affecting dopamine distribution. So writing things down is one of the best habits to keep your cognitive processes active, even if seems pointless at times.

For example, you might want to remember a key point made in a conversation you had last week with one of your colleagues. Writing down the key point will help you remember it later. And then you can go back to the notes you took and refresh yourself on the topic.

A second benefit of writing down information is that it creates a record of your thoughts, reducing those short-term memory deficits and improving cognitive function. If you find yourself struggling to remember something, this can help you remember it again.

Businesswoman writing on a clipboard with white background

 

2. Use Visual Imagery to Build a Storage of Memories

Visual imagery is another short-term memory technique that can be effective for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s important to use visual images when you’re trying to remember things. You might think of a word or phrase in your head, but if you try to remember it, the words seem to disappear right before your eyes.

If you can see the image in your mind’s eye, however, you can remember it much easier than you could if you simply tried to recall the words. Long-term memory tests often make use of visual imagery.

Try using visualization to remember ideas and concepts. For example, you could imagine seeing a picture of a building or a house. Or you could visualize a friend or colleague giving you a hug.

Using pictures and visuals makes it easier for your brain to store the information you need to remember. It’s also easier to remember these images than it is to remember the actual words.

3. Say Out Loud What You Want to Remember

Sometimes saying out loud what you want to remember can help you remember it. Say the name of the object or place aloud as you visualize it in your mind. For instance, if you want to remember the color of a dress, you could say it out loud.

As you repeat the name of the item or place in your head, you can strengthen the connection between the image and the sound. Mnemonics such as acronyms are popular brain training techniques for learning to remember things through words, some of which you might do already – Ever heard of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Limited)?

By repeating the name out loud, you can improve your short-term memory deficits. This way, when you hear the name, you can easily access the image of the thing or place in your mind.

red dart on a board labelled SMART acronym mnemonic for business goals

 

4. Repeat Your Thoughts In Your Brain

Another way to improve your poor working memory when your Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder gets in the way of your executive functioning is to repeat the same thought over time.

Repeat a thought to yourself repeatedly while you’re going about your everyday tasks. For example, if you want to memorize a phone number, you could repeat it to yourself over and over until you’ve committed it to your working memory. Brain games are great for repetition as they teach you a number of techniques to improve memory recall.

Repeating the same thought strengthens the association between the spoken word and the sound. It also helps you connect the verbal message to the image you’ve created in your own mind.

5. Think About Where You Heard It

Finally, make sure you understand where you heard the information. And we don’t mean “where you last had your keys”. But use location reference points to help create memories you can refer to over time to improve poor working memory and executive functioning.

Think about where you heard the information and why you wanted to learn it. Then, make note of this information in your notebook so you can refer back to it later. If you’re the rare example of someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder that finds a notebook useful, of course.

Or, if you can remember where you left it in the first place.

girl lying on floor in 60s fashion taking a mental note of a letter she just opened

Remember That Memories Come and Go

There are many ways to help you remember things whether that’s through brain games or visual imagery. The best approach will depend on how well you retain information in general. But there are some techniques that can strengthen your prefrontal cortex, improve your executive function skills and remember specific pieces of information.

And by learning more about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your short-term memory, you’ll be able to develop strategies that work better for you.

So, whether you have trouble remembering names or just want to get better at remembering everything else, keep reading our articles on eidetic memory and see what else might help you remember where you put your keys!

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Neurodadversity
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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