Remembering things in the Car




Driving, I’d have ideas and then forget them by the time I got home. I don’t want to pick up my phone to put stuff in the notes app, and I refuse to enable Alexa or Siri.  


(Also: I’d forget where I was going on my errand routes.  I’d miss turns, or completely forget to go to stores or people’s houses.)




Install a small dry-erase board in your car, and keep dry erase pens with eraser caps attached to it.



Full story:

A major ADHD source of problems for me was any time I was in the car.  This manifested itself in a couple of ways.

  • I would forget the destination, or destinations, I intended for the trip. I spent a lot of time “backtracking” because I forgot to stop here or there for this or that errand.  For some reason, backtracking is a major issue for me. I despise it to a really unhealthy level.  The scorn I’d heap on myself for being inefficient was breathtakingly harsh (I’d never say such things to another human being).  It makes sense in the context of time being so valuable, I guess. Still uncalled for. Of course there were many times I completely forgot where I was going and would have to pull over until I remembered.
  • I’d see something that triggered a “Oh I need to remember to…” thought, which would quickly leave and be forgotten until the next time I drove past whatever it was that reminded me in the first place.  I’d once again think “Oh I REALLY need to remember to…” Then, of course, promptly forget again until the next time I drove by.  It was a vicious cycle.



Once I was aware of this pattern, I was able to try to work around it.  But the first solution I tried was horrible. I’d repeat things over and over until I got home, or park, and then would type furiously into my phone. I’d repeat the next location over and over until I reached that location, then I’d start repeating the next location until I got there. This worked poorly if another idea came up that I needed to remember or if other people were in the car with me and dared to try to talk to me. If I was repeating my next stop over and over, and I passed something that reminded me of something I needed to add to my to-do list, I was totally screwed.  Should I repeat the next destination? Or the reminder?  What was I doing? Where am I going?  Shit. I just missed my exit.


I also tried taking notes on my phone, but dangerous…so that didn’t last long. I tried voice memos on my phone, but since I have Siri disabled, as well as most things that would use the microphone (security concerns), I had to log into my phone (I don’t use the finger print scan), open the voice memo app, then start recording.  I might as well down some tequila before getting into the car if I’m going to do all that.


Then I tried writing down everything in notepad.  Several problems arose with this.  First, it would get pushed to the back seat when my son rode shotgun.  Second, it would end up on the floor, then I’d have a thought I wanted to capture, and I’m suddenly stretching trying to reach the backseat floor…and drive.  Tequila, anyone?  Third, I was going through a lot of paper, and constantly buying new pads.  I’d take the notepad into my office or house, then forget to return it to the car.


What I need, I thought…is a dry erase board for the car.  As I mulled this over, I really felt like it needed to be very visible. Dash-mounted would be great.  But not huge…I’ll need to see out the windshield.  But how to attach it?  


Through a series of amazing coincidents, I actually ran into two people who gave me the answer.  The first had a magnetic phone mount that attached to their car air vents.  The other was buying a locker sized magnetic dry erase board for their high-schooler.


And this solution was born:


There are two magnetic air vent phone mounts, and the magnetic locker-sized dry erase board sits right on top.  It’s removable, obviously.  Half the board lists my “Trip Plan” the other “Notes.”  When I get in the car, still in my driveway, I write down all the locations I need to drive to, in the correct order.  When I leave each location, I cross them off my list, so I know where I am to go next.  If thoughts come up during the drive, I repeat them to myself until the next stop light, and jot them down (or have a passenger in the car write down what I need captured).


Later, I came to learn that the previous attempts to solve this issue (repeating things over and over) was actually incredibly harmful.  When I write the post on reducing decisions, it’ll all become clear.  Stay tuned!

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