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ADHD Tip: Write About It!

ADHD Tip: Write About It!How many times have you returned home because you forgot something essential like your wallet? Instead of completing a big project, have you started organizing your files? Have you forgotten an important engagement altogether?

For someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), these are typical occurrences. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD are being forgetful and having a tough time concentrating.

These moments tend to happen regularly and affect all areas of people’s lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s something small, such as misplacing your keys, or something big, such as forgetting to finish a work project or research paper.

“After a while, it can look and feel a lot like Groundhog Day,” ADHD coach Cynthia Hammer, MSW, wrote in the Fall 2010 issue of ADDitude magazine.

To stop the cycle, she discussed a valuable tip in the article that she started using herself. Hammer, who has ADHD, recounted various embarrassing moments such as wearing her dressy work clothes and heels to garden and forgetting her purse on the way to the airport while her son and daughter-in-law were driving her (they drove back, making an hour-long trip). So she started writing down these ADHD moments in order to learn from them.

In the article, Hammer wrote:

“We can analyze our behaviors—and misbehaviors—and pinpoint how ADHD symptoms contribute to the problems in our lives.”

Writing helps Hammer figure out how to overcome her ADHD obstacles. She wrote:

“The more I write about my ADHD challenges, the more I learn about why things—meetings, workdays, relationships—don’t go well. Writing makes me examine something I used to accept as another bad day, instead of just replaying the day in my mind and chastising myself for poor performance.”

It also puts things into perspective. Everyone has challenges and makes mistakes from time to time. This makes us human.

So another great lesson from writing for Hammer? “Roll with the punches.” While you work on addressing your ADHD symptoms, also work to become more forgiving of yourself.

Hammer emphasized that she doesn’t journal about her thoughts but instead she records when an “ADHD-related” behavior results in failure or “catches me off-guard.”

She prefers to write on her computer, because she noted that typing keeps up with her racing thoughts. She also suggested writing honestly, without editing yourself. (Being accurate and honest will give you more information so you can learn from your “mistakes.”)

She did add that if you’re interested, you can start a blog and connect with other people who have ADHD.

Have you tried writing down your ADHD challenges? Has that helped? What other strategies have helped you get a handle on ADHD symptoms?

Photo by Robynne Blume, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

ADHD Tip: Write About It!

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor and regular contributor at Psych Central. Her Master's degree is in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. In addition to writing about mental disorders, she blogs regularly about body and self-image issues on her Psych Central blog, Weightless.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2018). ADHD Tip: Write About It!. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 28 Jan 2011)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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