Tricking myself into being functional

board-connectionMy memory is horrible. Terrible. I can be very clear about What Needs To Happen Next, in one minute, then a few minutes later, I’m lost (again). I forget all kinds of important things – like renewing my car registration on time. I just renewed it — after it expired at the end of September.

I knew I needed to do it. I just put the renewal form in a place I thought I’d see it, for sure. But then I didn’t spend much time in that place, over the past few weeks, and I only just saw it again.

I forget to turn on/off things before I leave the house. I was supposed to fix something on my spouse’s computer on Saturday, and I was getting ready to go meet some friends in a few hours. So, I turned on the computer, so I could quickly make those changes before I left. But I lost track of what I was doing, spaced on it, and then I took off without remembering it. When I got home six hours later, the computer was still up and running, ready for me to work on it.

It’s not a bad thing. Just a waste of energy. And time. And electricity. And money.

I’ve just renewed my car registration, and I need to print out the confirmation, which I can carry in my car for up to 60 days, while I wait for the stickers to arrive. There’s a chance I (or my spouse) will get pulled over because of tags, so I need to put the printouts in the car in an easy-to-find space — and also notify my spouse that that’s what’s happening.

My printer is downstairs on the other end of the house from where I’m working. And knowing me, I’ll be running late to work, so I’ll fly through my preparation before leaving. So, I need to trick myself into remembering that the printouts are on the printer, and I need to take them with me and put them in the car before I take off for work.

To do that, I’ve turned on extra lights in the room where the computer is. One of the lights is in plain view from the place where I put all my stuff together before leaving for work. Even if I forget about the printouts, I’ll see the light on in that room, walk in to the room to turn it off, and then see the other lights on around the computer, which I’ll also turn off.

Then I will (most likely) see the printout and remember to take it with me.

It would have been easier for me to renew my registration when it first came in, but I was lazy. I was also frazzled from work. I couldn’t get started. Executive function pretty much checked out on me, and I didn’t have the energy or motivation to overturn it.

I’ve been noticing more executive function challenges, lately, and I need to do something about that. I’m generally feeling like I need to strengthen myself, overall, and go back to working on my memory as well as my detail focus. I have been strongly oriented towards understanding the big picture issues in my life, but I feel like I’ve lost track of a lot of details. It’s a balance I need to find…

And so I’ll find it. Or create it. Or think of something.

In the meantime, I’ll just find ways to trick myself into doing the right thing, and work from there.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

3 thoughts on “Tricking myself into being functional”

  1. Number 1; Most asked question of a person with an ABI/TBI. Do you have a diary?
    2: Use it! (Gently)
    I have a very busy schedule, at times I even sleep with it on my bed incase someone returns a call & I’ve snuck in a kip somewhere. On the upside, this is why I go off-grid from late a Friday night until late Sunday night. Bills get paid, I don’t starve, and life ticks over. It works for me, try it. And implement an in &tout tray. I use envelopes, post-it notes. Date them, just saying.

    Liked by 2 people

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