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How to Improve Memory with ADHD: Effective Techniques

May 5, 2023

Exploring how to sharpen memory with ADHD could be a life-altering experience for those coping with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In this blog post, we will delve into the complexities of ADHD and provide valuable insights on enhancing working memory capacity despite its challenges.

We'll start by understanding the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for ADHD. Next, we'll explore various strategies to improve memory with ADHD such as establishing routines, using memory aids, practicing mindfulness and meditation, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.

Furthermore, managing distractions and stimuli is crucial in optimizing brain function; hence we will discuss creating distraction-free environments and limiting social media usage. Additionally, utilizing technology like calendar apps and reminders can significantly aid individuals with poor working memory.

Last but not least, seeking professional help when needed through talk therapy or medication can also contribute to improving long-term cognitive performance for those struggling with attention deficit disorder.

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Table of Contents

Spaced Repetition and Focus Bear

Incorporating spaced repetition into your daily routine can help improve working memory for individuals with ADHD. Focus Bear is an online tool that makes this practice a habit by including flashcards in morning/evening routines, which has been shown to increase working memory capacity over time.

The benefits of spaced repetition for improving memory

Spaced repetition is a learning technique where information is reviewed at increasing intervals, helping the brain retain knowledge more effectively. Spaced repetition has been found to be especially helpful for those with ADHD, providing an effective way of addressing their issues such as weak working memory and difficulty concentrating on tasks. Studies have shown that incorporating spaced repetition can lead to significant improvements in long-term memory retention among people with ADHD (source).

How to incorporate Focus Bear into your daily routine

  1. Create a consistent schedule: Set aside specific times each day for reviewing flashcards using the Focus Bear app. Consistency helps reinforce habits and ensures you're dedicating enough time to practicing.
  2. Select relevant content: Choose flashcard topics that are pertinent to your personal or professional life, making it easier to stay engaged during study sessions.
  3. Maintain balance: Avoid overwhelming yourself by limiting the number of new cards introduced per session while continuing regular reviews of previously learned material.
  4. Analyze progress: Use built-in analytics within the app to track improvement over time, allowing you to adjust strategies accordingly based on performance data.

By integrating Focus Bear into your daily routine, you can harness the power of spaced repetition to enhance working memory and overall cognitive function. This approach not only supports those with ADHD in overcoming common challenges but also promotes long-term success in personal and professional endeavors.

Key Takeaway: Focus Bear is a great tool for those living with ADHD, as it allows you to set up a daily routine that can include spaced repetition practice. By doing spaced repetition on a daily basis, you'll get better at memorising important information.

Blocking Distractions to Preserve Short-term Memory

Blocking distractions can have a significant impact on improving short-term memory. Distractions, such as social media notifications, email alerts, or background noise, can interfere with the brain's ability to encode and consolidate new information, leading to forgetfulness and decreased productivity. This is because the brain's short-term memory capacity is limited and can be easily overwhelmed by distractions. By reducing distractions, individuals can improve their ability to focus and retain new information, leading to better short-term memory performance.

One effective way to block distractions is by using productivity apps like Focus Bear. Focus Bear allows users to block distracting websites, such as social media, news, or video streaming sites, when you're working. This can help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by non-work-related content.

Imagine you are a software developer working on writing code for a new project. You are making good progress until you stop to check your email. While reading through your inbox, you get distracted by a notification from social media, and before you know it, you have lost track of time and spent an hour browsing non-work-related content. You then return to your code, but you find it difficult to pick up where you left off and struggle to recall the details of your project. This is because your short-term memory has been disrupted by the distraction, and your ability to focus and retain information has been compromised.

Now, imagine that you are using Focus Bear to block distracting websites and notifications during your work period. When you feel the urge to check your email, you are reminded by Focus Bear that email is a blocked site during the work period. This helps you stay focused on the task at hand and avoid getting sidetracked by non-work-related content. By minimizing distractions, you are able to maintain your focus and retain information more effectively, leading to better short-term memory performance and greater productivity.

In summary, blocking distractions like email and social media notifications can significantly improve short-term memory and productivity. By using productivity tools like Focus Bear to block distracting websites, individuals can enhance their ability to stay focused and avoid cognitive overload, leading to improved cognitive performance and greater efficiency in work or study.

Other Techniques for Minimizing Distractions While Working or Studying

Aside from using Focus Bear, here are some other techniques you can use to minimize distractions.

  • Create a dedicated workspace: Designate an area in your home specifically for work or study purposes. This helps signal to your brain that it's time to focus when you enter that space.

  • Silence notifications: Turn off non-essential alerts on your devices while working to minimize interruptions from emails, texts, and app updates.
  • Prioritize tasks: Break down larger projects into smaller tasks and tackle them one at a time instead of multitasking.
  • Schedule breaks: Allow yourself regular intervals for restorative breaks throughout the day so you don't burn out mentally.

Setting Up Systems for Better Organization

Memory is always fallible; setting up systems such as calendar apps ensures important dates aren't forgotten due to simply forgetting them outright. This section discusses the importance of establishing good habits surrounding organization and scheduling practices to reduce reliance on fallible recollections.

Benefits of Using Calendar Apps Effectively

For individuals with ADHD, calendar applications can be incredibly beneficial as they allow for easy tracking of important events such as meetings, deadlines, and errands. By using a calendar application, you can stay organized and avoid forgetting important tasks or appointments.

By using these tools effectively, you can:

  • Increase productivity by having a clear overview of your schedule
  • Avoid double-booking or missing important events
  • Easily set reminders for upcoming tasks or appointments
  • Create routines that support time management skills and improve working memory capacity in the long run.

Popular calendar apps like Google Calendar and Apple Calendar, offer various features tailored to suit individual needs. Examine various choices accessible and pick one that suits your requirements.

Why you might not use calendar apps

There are several reasons why people might not use a calendar to track their schedule and events. One common reason is that they may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they need to input and manage. Additionally, some people may find it challenging to stick to a routine or establish a consistent schedule, making it difficult to use a calendar effectively. Others may simply forget to check their calendar regularly or may prefer to rely on memory or other methods to track their schedule.

To avoid these problems, it is essential to make using a calendar a habit and integrate it into your daily routine. Start by choosing a calendar application that is easy to use and customize to your needs. Consider setting up reminders or notifications to alert you of upcoming events or tasks. It can also be helpful to establish a consistent time each day to review and update your calendar, such as first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night.

Breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps can also help make using a calendar less overwhelming. For example, try adding one event or task at a time, and gradually build up to a full schedule. Additionally, consider color-coding or categorizing events to make them easier to track and identify.

By making using a calendar a habit and taking steps to make it manageable and easy to use, individuals can avoid the problem of not using a calendar effectively. By tracking their schedule and events, individuals can improve their organization and productivity, leading to better overall well-being and a reduced risk of forgetting important tasks or appointments.

Strategies for Creating Structured Routines Around Daily Life Events

Routines can be a great aid in controlling ADHD symptoms, while simultaneously promoting cognitive functioning. Here are some strategies to create structured routines around daily life events:

  1. Prioritize tasks: Start by listing down all your daily activities (work-related or personal) according to their priority levels. This will help ensure that critical items are addressed first before moving onto less pressing matters.
  2. Create blocks of focused work time: Schedule specific periods during the day dedicated solely towards completing high-priority tasks. Schedule breaks to give yourself a chance to rest and recharge, which can prevent burnout while also improving your cognitive performance.
  3. Set aside time for breaks: Allocate designated break times throughout your day, allowing yourself a chance to recharge mentally and physically. Regular breaks can prevent burnout while also improving overall brain function.
  4. Incorporate daily exercise: As mentioned earlier, physical activity has been linked with improved working memory capacity in individuals with ADHD. Schedule regular workouts into your routine to reap these benefits. You can use Focus Bear to prompt you to do microworkouts throughout the day.

By implementing these strategies and using calendar apps effectively, people with ADHD can create structured routines that not only improve organization but also enhance their working memory capabilities over time.

Physical Activity's Impact on Working Memory Capacity

Engaging in regular exercise not only benefits general health but may also contribute positively towards enhancing working-memory performance. Discover how physical activity helps manage ADHD symptoms overall, including its impact on increasing working memory capacity.

The Connection Between Exercise and Improved Brain Function

Exercise has been linked to improved brain function in those with ADHD, especially through increased blood flow and the release of BDNF. Physical activity enhances cerebral circulation, potentially aiding attention and concentration, as well as encouraging the generation of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) to sustain neuron health.

Research suggests that aerobic exercises like running or swimming are especially beneficial for improving executive functions such as working memory in people with ADHD. A study published in the journal Child Neuropsychology found that children who participated in an eight-week aerobic training program showed significant improvements in their working memory compared to those who did not engage in any physical activities.

Types of Exercises Best Suited for Boosting Cognitive Abilities

  • Aerobic exercises: Activities like jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing increase heart rate and oxygen intake while providing numerous cognitive benefits.
  • Mind-body practices: Yoga and tai chi combine physical movement with mindfulness, which can help improve focus and concentration.
  • Strength training: Lifting weights or engaging in bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats can enhance brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain.

To maximize the benefits of exercise on working memory capacity, it's essential to choose activities that you enjoy and can commit to regularly. Incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine will not only keep things interesting but also ensure that different aspects of cognitive functioning are being targeted. It is imperative to remain steadfast in order to gain the advantages of a physically active lifestyle for those with ADHD.

Physical activity can be a powerful tool for managing ADHD-related challenges and improving working memory capacity. Medication and other methods of intervention can be beneficial in helping those dealing with ADHD, offering additional assistance.

Key Takeaway: Working out habitually can have a huge advantageous effect on the capacity of working memory for people with ADHD. To maximize the benefits of improved cognitive abilities, it is recommended to engage in a variety of exercises such as aerobic activities, mind-body practices and strength training on a regular basis. Consistency is key - so stay active and reap the rewards.

Medications and Non-pharmacological Interventions

For those dealing with ADHD, medications can be an invaluable aid in improving working memory and controlling symptoms. However, non-pharmacological interventions are also essential for comprehensive treatment plans. In this section, we will explore the different options available to enhance memory and manage ADHD symptoms.

The Role of Stimulant Medications in Improving Working Memory

Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or amphetamine salts (Adderall), are commonly prescribed for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These drugs work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which help improve focus, attention span, impulse control, and working memory capacity.

  • Methylphenidate: Methylphenidate and Amphetamine Salts have been demonstrated to be efficacious in alleviating symptoms of poor working memory and cognitive deficits associated with ADHD, respectively.
  • Amphetamine Salts: Studies have found that these medications can significantly improve cognitive functioning related to attention deficit disorder when taken consistently under medical supervision.

Obviously you need to work with a doctor to be prescribed these medications but they can help.

Non-pharmacological Interventions for Managing ADHD-related Challenges

In addition to medication management strategies aimed specifically at addressing working-memory deficits among those living with ADHD include:

  1. CBT, a psychotherapeutic approach that encourages the identification and modification of maladaptive thinking patterns to promote executive functioning development such as time management, goal setting, and response inhibition. A form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying negative thought patterns while teaching coping skills tailored towards improving executive functions like planning organization problem-solving self-monitoring time-management emotional regulation response inhibition goal-directed persistence flexibility adaptability mental set shifting updating information held within short-term memories during tasks requiring sustained attention concentration.
  2. Working Memory Training: Various techniques and exercises designed to improve working memory capacity, such as computerized training programs or activities that require the use of multiple cognitive skills simultaneously.
  3. Mindfulness Meditation: A practice involving focused attention on present-moment experiences without judgment. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can help individuals with ADHD by improving their ability to stay focused and manage stress more effectively.

Incorporating a combination of these non-pharmacological interventions alongside medication management is essential for addressing the unique needs of individuals diagnosed with ADHD while promoting optimal outcomes related to enhancing working-memory performance over time. It is imperative to speak with a healthcare professional before altering any current treatment plans or beginning new interventions designed to manage symptoms associated with ADHD.

Non-pharmacological interventions, alternative learning strategies and coping skills can all be beneficial for improving working memory in people with ADHD, as well as exploring the potential of visualization techniques to further enhance cognitive functioning. To further enhance cognitive functioning, it is worth exploring the potential of visualization techniques as well as customizing study methods to best suit individual needs.

Key Takeaway: This article outlines the various medications and non-pharmacological interventions that can be used to improve memory in individuals with ADHD. Stimulant medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall, are often prescribed for this purpose; however cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), working memory training, and mindfulness meditation have also been shown to help manage symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder.

Alternative Learning Strategies and Coping Skills

Developing coping skills and alternative learning strategies tailored for those living with ADHD is crucial when trying to mitigate its impact on long-term memories. This section delves into various techniques that can be employed to enhance memory retention while accommodating the unique needs of individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Don't try to memorize everything

One of the best ways to overcome forgetfulness is to stop trying to remember everything and instead, use external aids such as writing things down or utilizing digital tools.

Writing things down is an effective way to externalize information and prevent forgetfulness. By writing things down, individuals can free up cognitive resources and reduce the mental load required to remember everything. This can help reduce stress and anxiety associated with forgetfulness and improve overall cognitive performance. Additionally, written notes or lists can serve as a helpful reminder and provide a sense of accomplishment as items are completed.

We've spoken about calendar apps previously. The same applies for to-do lists, reference notes etc.

Visualization Techniques for Better Memory Recall

If you do really need to memorise something, one effective method for improving memory in people with ADHD is using visualization techniques. By creating mental images, you can better associate information and recall it later. For example, if you need to remember a list of items, try visualizing each item in a specific location within an imaginary room or house. This technique, known as the method of loci, has been proven effective in enhancing memory recall.

  • Create vivid mental images associated with the information you want to remember.
  • Use familiar locations or objects as anchors for your visualizations.
  • Practice regularly to strengthen your ability to visualize effectively.

Customizing Study Methods Based on Individual Strengths and Weaknesses

Different people have different learning styles; therefore, it's essential to customize study methods according to individual strengths and weaknesses. People diagnosed with attention deficit disorder may benefit from employing multiple sensory channels during their study sessions (e.g., combining auditory input such as listening while reading). Here are some tips:

  1. Determine your preferred learning style: Identify whether you learn best through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic methods. This will help you tailor your study techniques accordingly.
  2. Break tasks into smaller chunks: Divide large projects or assignments into smaller, manageable parts to prevent feeling overwhelmed and maintain focus on each section.
  3. Use mnemonic devices: Create acronyms, rhymes, or associations that can help you remember information more easily. For example, use the acronym "ROYGBIV" to recall the colors of a rainbow in order (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).

Incorporating these alternative learning strategies and coping skills into daily life can significantly improve memory retention for individuals with ADHD. Remember that it's essential to experiment with different approaches until finding what works best for you personally.

Alternative learning strategies and coping skills can be a great tool to help people with ADHD improve their memory. Computerized working memory training (CWMT) is another effective way of helping those with the condition manage their cognitive abilities.

Key Takeaway: This article outlines various strategies and coping skills for improving memory recall in people with ADHD. These include visualization techniques such as the method of loci, customizing study methods based on individual strengths and weaknesses, and utilizing mnemonic devices to aid memorization. With a bit of practice, these alternative learning approaches can help you ace your exams.

Frequently Asked Questions How to Improve Memory With Adhd

Can I improve my memory if I have ADHD?

Yes, you can improve your memory even with ADHD. Techniques such as spaced repetition, minimizing distractions, creating structured routines, engaging in physical activity, and using computerized working memory training programs can significantly enhance your cognitive abilities. Additionally, medications and non-pharmacological interventions may also help manage ADHD-related challenges.

How do you help someone with ADHD memorize?

To help someone with ADHD memorize information more effectively, encourage them to use alternative learning strategies like visualization techniques or customize study methods based on their strengths and weaknesses. Incorporating tools like Focus Bear for spaced repetition and employing organizational systems can further aid in retaining information.

How can I improve my child's memory with ADHD?

You can support your child's memory improvement by implementing a structured routine around daily life events, encouraging regular exercise that boosts cognitive abilities, providing guidance on effective study methods tailored to their needs and preferences. Moreover, explore the possibility of medication or non-pharmacological interventions under professional supervision.

Why do people with ADHD have poor memory?

People with ADHD often experience poor working memory, which is responsible for temporarily holding information while performing tasks or solving problems. This difficulty arises due to differences in brain function related to attention regulation and executive functioning skills compared to individuals without ADHD.


Everyone's different, so there's no universal way to boost memory when dealing with ADHD. However, by understanding your own individual needs, utilizing technology for support, managing distractions and stimuli, as well as seeking professional help if needed can be a great way to improve memory with ADHD. With the right tools in place you will find yourself better able to focus on tasks at hand and have improved recall of information which can ultimately lead towards greater success.

Take control of your day with Focus Bear and build in working memory training into your day.

May 5, 2023

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