Dealing with inattentiveness (forgetfulness), and time management

Are there any tools out there, or things people do to help with inattentiveness (forgetfulness, a voice is heard but goes out the other ear and not remembered, planning ahead)? I understand our brains does its best to what it can grab. Any self-help books?

Examples will be for time management (mine is terrible), listening to instructions, etc.

I use a few things, none of which works 100% but which usually help me out nonetheless. No books cause I never managed to find a single book in a bookshop that wasn’t “help your troublesome child” or “is this a fake illness” so I am afraid I am a bit illiterate on this matter.
But I do have a few things I switch around so to avoid the usual “well we are used to it so there it goes to be noise background forever”.

For time management I either set up a bazillion alarms when I need to remember something (or tell my mother about it since she will make sure I won’t forget ever, so telling a friend or someone with a good memory and sense of time might do the trick), and back in the days when I needed to be more on schedule I used to carry a watch and make sure any place I went had a clock or something and then I would look at it every other second.

For time management during a task I usually put some music on. There is a good chance I might ignore it if I hyperfocus on the task (read: drawing, cause I can only hyperfocus when I draw), but even then at least I will know how much time passed as I can track it back.
Many people swear on the red tomato method, which might be good too.

Another good app for time awareness during a task is Forest. It is a free android app that makes you plant a virtual tree and forces you not to use your phone for an amount of time you decide before setting it up. It’s useful if you are in a place with no other distractions, and it sort of makes you feel guilty if you use your phone cause your virtual tree will die.

For tasks I don’t have much advice. My therapist gave me an exercise to do to prioritise tasks into four categories: tasks that would have dire consequences if not fulfilled, tasks that are important but have little consequence if not fulfilled, tasks with very low consequences if not fulfilled, and tasks that bear little to no effect if skipped. It isn’t much for remembering them but at least it helps filter down what you need to do so you can try and focus your efforts on the first two categories.

Unfortunately I have no advice on missing conversations and voices, and I struggle a lot with it too, so if anyone has any advice please chip in T.T


I have REALLY struggled with this - my in ability to ‘adult’ effectively.

I wear a watch 24/7, why?
94% - because I’ll feel naked without it
4% - jussstt in case I miiggghhht have (literally) one SECOND where I’m conscientious of time-sensitive tasks
2% - so I can easily see what day of the week/date it is

It took me FOREVER to actually put my thoughts into action on solutions to this madness.

The BEST way I can describe it, and let me know if anyone agrees!!!

–It’s like I’m a track runner, at the starting line, still in the stance ready to take off in full sprint and waiting for the gun to go off…like… “WAIT. nooo WAIT… await NOW…nooo now, NOW!” (I’m hoping you all can easily play that out in your head lol)–


–I have a thought pop into my mind, an IMPORTANT thing, I just GOTTA write that thing down - ohpp! Where’d it go!? I LOST ITTT!! (Then, figuratively speaking, I spend entirely way too much time running around in my head trying to chase that important thing I forgot)

It always seemed like I’ve got allllll the bells and whistles to do alllll of the things, buuuut…where’s the start button?? It has taken me nearly 8 years to realize that - just because I take medication - does NOT mean I’ll be able to put laundry into the dryer.
After all, the only reason I even remembered there WAS any laundry is bc it’s been in the washer for 3 days and I can SMELL ITTT - so I wash it again…

Some tools that have really helped me:

  1. Alexa + MacBook + iPhone
    with this trio, I tell one of them a reminder - and then Alexa announces it to me, including at least two other notifications. Although it took quite a bit of time integrating all of them, it allows me less distractions since I can just announce out loud to add watermelon to my grocery list…

  2. Using dry-erase markers on anything that magic-eraser can remove

    (Stop watch & countdown timer, count up and count down)
    -I set mine for 15, 25, 40m beepers, so when each alarm goes off it makes me more conscious of the time, when I have several tasks that usually take me hours, I’ll flip back and forth. 25 of homework then 25 min of cleaning. 15 min of random stuff or taking a “break” then 40 min of computer work (which BTW right now is a part of my “work timmmeeee” hahaha THANKS GUYS jkjk)
    -Time my tasks - how long does it take me to deep clean the bathroom?
    -Remember the forgetting of the laundry I mentioned? PROBLEM SOLVED!
    (washer & dryer do not have buzzers)
    Start washer --> start timer. = 55 min --> write on washer with bright color “55 MIN” --> tell Alexa, “remind me in 57 mins that the washer is done”

BOOM! The possibilities are ENDLESSSSS…sort of.

  1. Listen to a podcast, ones like ADHD podcasts, and putting my phone up out of sight. (this eliminates the need to be “DJ B” and change the song ever 30 seconds, which in turn removes the phone from my hand, which ultimately takes away a million distractions

  2. Put phone up and record a time-lapse video (this one is goofy, I know lol) But when I have a huge cleaning task…like when I go slob-status for a whole week, thennnn use my old-school radio boombox and turn on the radio…

Okay, I think that’s pretty much it. lol

I just remembered, I’m always intrigued when there’s a challenge. Soooo learning how to fold my laundry in several different ways to save space…BINGO!!! even my son’s UNDERWEAR is folded lol


I resonate with those thoughts SOOO well!

Even while seeking treatment for ADD I put it down to anxiety and tried meditating to help. Sometimes it worked… Lately it has not been working at all :sweat_smile:

Thanks for the tips!!


As other’s have said, timers are a godsend. “Forest” is good for pomodoro technique and stopping you from playing on your phone. The best timer I’ve found is Time Timer. It comes as a phone app and also can be bought from amazon as a physical timer. It LITERALLY shows you, via an ever shrinking colored disk, time passing. This is AMAZING, because when you get distracted and look up, there’s the timer, in your face, and you can SEE how much time is left. This is one of my biggest tools for myself and my son.

It has taken me years to get to this point, but I try to write stuff down when people are talking at me. This can be difficult, because many times if I am hyperfocusing, my brain will respond to them on autopilot, and later I won’t even remember I spoke to them! I have had to conciously force myself to look at their face, listen to their words, and write down the relevant info, even if it’s on a scratch paper. (I try to put it in my BuJo, because then I have it when I need to see it again.)

If I pull away from a task to speak to someone, I try to write down where I’m at in the task and what the next step is, before I talk to the person. This way, when I inevitably forget where I was and what I was doing while having a conversation, I have a reminder so I can get back on task.


Memory mnemonics
Dominic O’Brien has an audiobook if you want to listen instead of read.
Loci method