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15 Super Relatable Examples of ADHD Forgetfulness (& Tips to Help)

adhd memory strategies May 01, 2023
Distracted african american woman sitting at laptop searching for examples of adhd forgetfulness.

Do you ever find yourself standing in your living room, trying to remember what you were looking for? Or maybe you've suddenly forgotten the name of someone you just met? These are just a few examples of how ADHD forgetfulness can show up in your life. 

While it can be frustrating, managing ADHD memory problems is totally possible – and as a memory health coach for women with ADHD, I'm here to show you how. In this article, we'll be exploring 15 examples of ADHD forgetfulness and providing helpful tips to manage it. 

15 Relatable ADHD Forgetfulness Examples

Let's just dive right in. How many of these cognitive tasks do you struggle with?

  1. Forgetting people's names.
  2. Losing your car keys and other everyday items.
  3. Forgetting to take your pills and vitamins, or your ADHD medication.
  4. Unable to recall important details you've just read.
  5. Missing an appointment or important events.
  6. Abandoning an important task midway because you forgot you were doing it.
  7. Forgetting to drink water.
  8. Can't remember what you wanted to say.
  9. Difficulty remembering recently learned information.
  10. Forgetting to complete daily activities that you've already started, like the laundry.
  11. Losing your place in a conversation.
  12. Misplacing your planner and other reminders.
  13. Forgetting why you walking into the other room.
  14. Difficulties with recalling specific memories on demand.
  15. Forgetting to eat throughout the day.

Keep reading for why they happen and what you can do about it.

Explaining These ADHD Forgetfulness Examples 

 Memory problems are one of the lesser-known symptoms of ADHD in adults. But I think you'll find many of these examples super relatable. 

1. Forgetting people's names.

I know I've seen you before but...

Do you find yourself struggling to remember names and faces, even after meeting someone more than once? If you have an ADHD diagnosis, this can be a common symptom of the condition. Women with ADHD often have a short attention span and more difficulty focusing on the details of a conversation, which can make it harder to commit names and faces to memory. 

Short-term memory issues associated with ADHD can also make it harder to remember people you've been introduced to in the past. While this can be frustrating or embarrassing, difficulty with remembering names and faces is not a reflection of intelligence or worth. With the right strategies, you can learn to remember names more easily and feel more confident in social situations.

2. Losing your car keys and other everyday items.

Misplacing items is one of the most common examples of ADHD forgetfulness. It can be incredibly frustrating and lead to feelings of stress and helplessness. It’s also a relatable experience for many people with or without ADHD, as we’ve all had moments of misplacing our items.  

When it comes to misplacing items, the best way to avoid it is to create effective systems - which is something I help my 1:1 clients do with the Memory Confidence Method™ program. I want to help you with it, too so here are a few tips to get started.

  • Make sure to always put your keys in the same place when you get home, such as a hook or a designated drawer.
  • Create a mental checklist of the items you need to take with you when you leave the house and tape it to the door. 
  • When you need to remember an item, leave it in the way of your path out the door.

This will help you remember to grab your keys and other important items before you go.  

3. Forgetting to take your pills and vitamins, or your ADHD medication.

Many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder take regular medication to manage their symptoms of ADHD, but it can be easy to forget to take it. Ironic, right? It's also common for people with ADHD to forget to take their vitamins or other supplements, which can be important for overall health and well-being. 

Check out this article on 10 Super Simple and Effective Hacks for How to Remember to Take Vitamins (and meds).

4. Unable to recall important details you've just read.

Have you ever had to re-read a paragraph or page multiple times in order to remember the details?

This can be incredibly frustrating, especially when trying to remember information for work or school. It can also lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment, as women with ADHD are often viewed as "forgetful" and "disorganized."  But it doesn't have to be this way. 

With the right strategies, you can learn to remember the details they've just read, no matter how long it's been a struggle for you. It's all about finding effective focus and memory strategies that work for you. 

One of the biggest mistakes I see my clients with ADHD making is trying to adopt generic strategies and then feeling even more stressed out and hopeless when they don't work for them. 

We can do better than that my friend! Personalizing memory strategies that fit you and your life is what it's all about. This is something I help my 1:1 clients with every day. With the right balance of strategies and habits to improve your focus, remembering important details doesn't have to feel so hard.

5. Missing an appointment or important deadline.

Forgetting appointments or important dates can be incredibly frustrating, as it can lead to missed opportunities or important tasks not being done on time. It's also embarrassing, as it can reflect poorly on our ability to manage our time and stay organized

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Make a list: Writing down all of your appointments and tasks in one place can help you stay organized and remember what needs to be done.  
  • Set reminders immediately when you set the appointment: Set reminders on your phone or computer to alert you when something is due or when you have an appointment.  
  • Take notes: During meetings or conversations, take notes to help you remember what was discussed.  
  • Prioritize: Prioritize tasks by importance so you know where to dedicate more of your mental energy.
  • Ask for help: Dont be afraid to ask for help or enroll in coaching if youre feeling overwhelmed.   

6. Abandoning an important task midway because you forgot you were doing it.

Abandoning a task midway because you forgot you were doing can be incredibly disheartening. This can happen with nearly any task, from writing an email to making pasta to cleaning a room in your house to completing a project at work. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially if the task was important and had to be completed on time. 

Working memory and attention difficulties, ya know, the ADHD struggle, play a huge role in why this happens. When we can't focus and keep track of what we're doing, it's easy to lose track of the task and forget that we were doing it in the first place. And if we don't have the necessary strategies in place to help remind us of our tasks and goals, it's can lead to a ton of wasted time and energy. Task starting and stopping, anyone?

7. Forgetting to drink water.

Women with ADHD often have a hard time with drinking enough water - this is especially true when you're busy or preoccupied, as you may forget to drink water until you start to feel overwhelmingly thirsty.

Of course, this can lead to dehydration, which seriously dampens your ability to focus and can cause a range of health issues, from fatigue and headaches to brain fog and (more) memory problems. To help manage this forgetfulness, set reminders on your phone or computer to remind you to drink water throughout the day. Additionally, having a water bottle with you at all times can also serve as a visual reminder to drink up!

8. Can't remember what you wanted to say.

This can happen when you’re having a conversation and you struggle to remember the words you want to say, or when you’re trying to make a point but you can’t seem to find the words to express yourself. It's incredibly frustrating and of all the complaints I hear most from my new clients - word finding comes up the most.

While working on word finding is a bit more complex than a few off-the-cuff tips, here are some recommendations to help you express yourself clearly:

  • Take your time. Don't feel rushed to come up with the right words right away. Pause and take a few deep breaths to give yourself time to think of the right words. You can also practice mindfulness techniques to help you focus on the present moment and stay in the conversation.   
  • Use visualization techniques to help you recall the words you want to say. Imagine what the words look like in your mind and where they fit into the conversation. This can help you more easily recall the words and make sure you’re saying what you want to say.   
  • Practice speaking out loud. This can help you get used to using the words in conversation and make it easier to remember them in the moment.  
  • Remember the most important thing is sharing your message regardless of the words you use to say it. 

These tips can help you improve your ability to find the right words and communicate effectively, even when you’re dealing with ADHD forgetfulness.

9. Difficulty remembering recently learned information.

Difficultly remembering new information is a common symptom of ADHD. This can manifest in a variety of ways, from forgetting something that you just heard or read, to struggling to recall a conversation that you had recently. It can be incredibly frustrating and can lead to a lack of confidence in your own abilities.  

Fortunately, there are some strategies that you can use to help manage this type of memory loss. First, make sure that you are taking your time and really focusing on the information that you are trying to absorb. It can be helpful to highlight, take notes, or draw diagrams to help you remember key points. 

Additionally, if possible, review or rehearse the information soon after you have learned it, as this can help with absorption and recall. Finally, if you are having difficulty remembering something, try to take a break and come back to it later. 

Keep in mind that how you fuel your body, daily movement breaks, adequate sleep, and stress management are also essential for improving these skills.

10. Forgetting to complete daily activities that you've already started, like the laundry.

Whether you’ve forgotten to take the laundry out of the dryer or you’ve forgotten to finish a project you’ve started, this type of forgetfulness can be annoying as it steals more time and energy than necessary to complete tasks in your daily life that shouldn't feel so effortful. 

However, when your executive function skills work differently, your routines and daily tasks need to accommodate your personality traits. 

11. Losing your place in a conversation.

You may find yourself losing track of the conversation, feeling embarrassed or confused as it moves faster than you can keep up. This happens because ADHDers often need more time with auditory processing.

To help manage this, try pausing to collect your thoughts before continuing the conversation and engaging in active listening. Remember, it is ok ask the other person to repeat what they just saidAnd dont be afraid to take a break if you need one its important to give your mind a break if its feeling overwhelmed or you won't remember the important details anyway!

12. Misplacing your planner and other reminders.

Say it with me... I will not write things down in a planner that I will not pick up again. 

If you follow me on IG (@FrancineWaskavitz) you know that I constantly preach about making memory strategies and organizational tools easier and more intuitive. Planners can be a great tool, but they don't work for everyone. To support your ADHD brain, aim to keep your visual reminders and to-do list obvious. 

Leave items to remember in your path, place sticky notes on the fridge door, or leave items out as reminders. Try using a checklist that you keep in a specific place - write down everything you need to do and check it off as you go, or use a digital tool like a checklist app. Finally, make use of technology - set your phone to alert you of important appointments or tasks, use a calendar, or rely on Alexa to remind you of your deadlines. 

The key is to find what works for you and use it consistently.

13. Forgetting why you walking into the other room.

Ever walk into a room to get something but instantly forget what for? Yeah, me too.

While this happens to everyone at some point, women with ADHD experience it more often. This is because it's not necessarily a memory problem, it's an attention issue. If you don't pause and dedicate your attention to what you're doing, you'll forget it instantly. 

To reduce how often this happens to you, try saying what you need out loud before you get up. This ensures that you're paying attention and provides rehearsal to help it stay in your working memory long enough to complete the task.

14. Difficulties with recalling specific memories on demand.

Recalling specific memories on demand can be a challenge for many people with ADHD. This can manifest in various ways, such as having difficulty remembering conversations, not being able to recall movies, events, or conversations from memory and even not being able to remember people's names. It can be incredibly frustrating and can interfere with both your personal life and professional relationships. 

But with targeted help, this skill can improve. 

15. Forgetting to eat throughout the day.

Many people with ADHD may forget to eat throughout the day, leading to decreased energy levels and more difficulty concentrating. This can be particularly problematic as it can be difficult for those with ADHD to recognize hunger cues and be in tune with their body's signals. To help with this, it's important to set reminders throughout the day to remind yourself to eat and have healthy snacks on hand. Keeping track of your meals can also help you stay on top of your energy levels to improve your focus and memory.

Why is Forgetfulness A Symptom of ADHD?

When it comes to remembering information, your attention is required. In other words, you won’t remember information you never fully received in the first place. Memory isn’t accidental. That’s not to say you won’t occasionally remember very random facts or details… but something about those random facts grabbed your attention, allowing your brain to process and store that information.

It’s quite simple when you understand how memory works…

Learn everything about why forgetfulness is such a big part of ADHD here: Why is Forgetfulness is a Symptom of ADHD in Women? Everything You Need to Know.

Key Takeaways

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of how ADHD forgetfulness can manifest and some insight into how to manage it. Remember, you're not alone in experiencing these ADHD symptoms, and feeling more confident in your recall is totally possible for you.


Memory Health Coaching for Women with ADHD

Don't let the fear of forgetting or feeling embarrassed get in the way of you being able to reach your goals. 

With the right strategies, you can conquer your ADHD forgetfulness and lead a more productive and memorable life. 

If you struggle with ADHD and memory problems, I'd love to help. As a memory health coach for women, I help clients just like you feel more focused and less forgetful so you can show up with the mental energy and confidence you deserve to thrive in your career, in relationships, and in your life. Schedule your free consultation call and let's chat about how the Memory Confidence Method™ can help you.

 *The information in this article is not medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider regarding medical questions or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder concerns. 

Questions? Contact Francine Here

Meet the Coach

Hey there! I'm Francine, a speech-language pathologist turned memory health coach with a passion for helping you overcome your memory problems.

In my practice, I help women just like you trade memory problems for confidence and clarity everyday so you can think clearly and remember easily, without constant self-doubt weighing you down. 

If you're struggling with poor recall and foggy thinking, you're in the right place and I want to help you!


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