Yes, our brains can hold information.
If you can give me time, I can rattle off dates in US History to impress you at a party.
This is not very helpful, though, if I forget milk for breakfast, and we want to eat cereal in the morning.
It is not very helpful, if I forget to pay my registration for my car on time.
It is certainly not helpful, if I forget to contact a prospective client in a timely manner.
Accessing The Information When We Need It
When I received a $100 ticket last week for my lapsed car registration, I remembered at that moment that I forgot to renew my registration.
A wee bit late to think of that.
I try not to rely on my brain to hold time sensitive information – like registering my car on time. It is just not reliable. And I know that!
I just put a reoccurring reminder on my calendar for every September to renew my registration.
Getting Out of Our Head to Prevent Overwhelm
For many with ADD, it is easy to get overwhelmed with too much information.
I don't often forget stuff like registering my car. In fact, just this week over dinner, a friend commented that I was very organized.
It does not come naturally, though.
Over time, I have come to acknowledge that it is unlikely that I will recall time sensitive information unless I use reliable tools that reside outside of my head.
When I try to carry information in my head I get overwhelmed. It is too hard to remember what I need to do at any given time.
So, I use external hard drives that are easily accessible when I need them.
There are no perfect tools or systems. So, it is important to experiment. Through trial and error, you can choose those that work best for you. The key is that they are reside outside your head and are easily accessible.
I use Outlook and sync my Palm, which I always carry with me, to capture time sensitive appointments and task items.
All of my random creative thoughts go into one notebook. When the notebook is full, I get another one. I review the notebook occasionally to decide if I want to do anything with the notes. For example, if it is about a current project, I transfer the thoughts to Microsoft Office OneNote.
I use Microsoft Office OneNote to organize all of my projects, both personal and professional.
Whenever I go on errands I bring a list, even if it is only two items. Otherwise, I may come home with the turkey, but not bread to make the sandwiches.
I also do not want to forget my tabled ideas or optional to-do items. For example, I have a memo in my Palm labeled "books." When I go to the library or bookstore, I refer to this list to see if there are any books I want to get.
Since the I use a PDA and Computer to hold my information, I also rely on Dropbox to sync all of the files between my two computers and Mozy to back up my files online.
It took me a while to figure out these systems.
What kind of tools or systems to you need to clear you head and reduce your feelings of overwhelm?