Are you a mompreneur bordering on burnout? Although there are common medical and behavioral reasons for forgetfulness, most moms who run their own businesses seldom notice forgetfulness as an early warning sign of burnout. If you experience forgetfulness along with fatigue, late nights, and overwork at the expense of self-care, you may need to focus first on self-care and secondly on enhancing your scheduling and reminder systems.
Common Causes of Forgetfulness
If you are missing bus pickup times or appointments regularly, or the dreaded anniversary card… you may be battling burnout. Dropping out details once in a while is totally different than becoming very forgetful. To battle forgetfulness you must first address any medical reasons, and then focus on your skills gaps to create sound scheduling and reminder systems.
According to Daniel Pendick, Excecutive Editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, forgetfulness can be caused by common behavioral, biological and treatable conditions.
- Lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is perhaps the greatest under-appreciated cause of memory slips. Too little restful sleep can also lead to mood changes and anxiety, which in turn contribute to problems with memory.
- Stress and anxiety. Anything that makes it harder to concentrate and lock in new information can lead to memory gaps. Stress and anxiety can interfere with your ability to give your full attention and interfere with information coming in, as well as retrieving information that you already have.
- Alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with short-term memory, even after the effects of alcohol have worn off. Although “too much” varies from person to person, it’s best to stick with the recommendation of no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one a day for women. (One drink is generally defined as 1.5 ounces (1 shot glass) of 80-proof spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.)
- Medications. Tranquilizers, antidepressants, some blood pressure drugs, and other pain medications can affect memory, usually by causing sedation or confusion. When you are confused, it is difficult to pay close attention to new information. This may lead to forgetting important details.
- Underactive thyroid. A faltering thyroid can affect memory (as well as disturb sleep and cause depression, both of which contribute to memory slips).
- Depression. Common signs of depression include a stifling sadness, lack of drive, and lessening of pleasure in things you ordinarily enjoy. Forgetfulness can also be a sign of depression—or a consequence of it.
If your memory lapses are caused by the above reasons, have a conversation with your doctor to address the root of the problem. But, if you’ve ruled out medical and behavioral causes, take a look at the three common skills associated with forgetfulness: planning, scheduling and reminding.
Are you forgetting things you ‘should’ remember?
If you are missing oft-occuring appointments such as bus pickup times and regularly scheduled meetings it may be time for some skills-building in the areas of planning, scheduling routines and enhanced reminder systems that work for your lifestyle.
Start by assessing your current systems, skills and routines:
- How often do you plan?
- What are your planning behaviors?
- Do you have routines that currently help you manage your time?
What do you use for a ‘master schedule’ and who manages it?
- Do you have a master schedule that is used by everyone in your family or on your team?
- Who is responsible for managing and changing it?
- When & how often do you communicate about your schedule currently?
What types of reminders do you currently have in place to trigger your memory?
- Do your reminder systems work well currently?
- Does your reminder system have auditory or visual cues for you to work from?
- Do you block out time to create reminders?
- Do your behaviors support planning, scheduling and reminders?
What is currently missing from your time management routines that needs to be instituted for more success?
- In other words, answer this: “If I could just _________________, I think it would help me schedule and remember better.” Now pay attention to your answer and see if you can fix your forgetfulness at it’s root cause.
Focusing on your root causes behind forgetfulness will do wonders to help you. Gather a little data on where you are currently, and see what you find out.
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How do you battle forgetfulness?
What suggestions do you have for other mompreneurs who might be struggling with forgetfulness and looking for a solution? What techniques do you use that help? Please share your suggestions in the comment box below.