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In this on-demand masterclass, Eric will guide you through:

1. How to pick a single, impactful goal

2. Create an actionable plan

3. Build the habits and skills you need to succeed

With real-life examples, practical tools, and guaranteed progress for committed individuals, this session is your first step towards a more organized life.

How to improve your memory: build a backup brain (part 1)

“Eric, do you have your lunchbox?”

This was the first question my dad asked as I hopped into the car every day when I was in elementary school. And every day, I would have to face the reality that I, once again, had jumped into the truck empty-handed.

Where did I leave it? The answer changed with the wind. The locations moved with no rhyme or reason, as this series of forgotten lunchboxes and a not-so-happy father became the enthesis of my early childhood memories.

After losing my sixth replacement lunchbox, it became obvious I needed a new plan. I needed a Backup Brain.

How often do you forget important dates, like your friend’s birthday? Or maybe with important tasks, like taking out the trash or paying your credit card

Forgetting, both small and big things, can potentially lead to feelings of failure and disappointment.

This is where the concept of a Backup Brain comes in.

In this three-part series, we'll explore what a Backup Brain is and how it can help you never miss a critical to-do again.

Let’s jump in.

How much forgetfulness is normal?

During the workday, do you find yourself thinking about a future task, noting its importance, to only forget about it until the following day when it's already too late?

Healthy people can experience memory loss or memory distortion at any age.

As humans, it’s only natural to forget things from time to time – even monkeys fall out of trees. And trust me, you’re not alone if you do not remember facts from your 9th-grade history class or if you forget to call your friend back later in the day. All of these small mishaps happen and are totally normal.

However, if you have memory problems that impact your ability to do daily tasks, like finding your way home, or recalling recent events, contact your doctor immediately.

Think back. Which task do you forget most often?

Which task do you forget most often?

  • Paying bills

  • Checking the mail

  • Charging your phone

  • Booking follow up appointments

Is forgetfulness a symptom of ADHD?

In short – yes.

Individuals with ADHD often find it challenging to recall minor details, such as where they last put their glasses, keys, or – in my case – lunchbox, as they may have been distracted or preoccupied with other thoughts when setting them down.

Additionally, people with ADHD may have a more difficult time with test taking and recalling details because:

  1. They are not fully engaged when learning the subject, or

  2. Their brains don’t organize the information in a way that is easy to remember.

If any of these instances strike a cord, or if you struggled with memory as a child, there is a chance that is connected to adult ADHD.

While ADHD symptoms do not worsen with age, they can become more apparent as you get older. Maybe you’ve started to notice difficulty remembering certain project details, or, if you started a job that requires you to pass exams, you cannot recall information that you studied. According to WebMD,

Several studies suggest less than 20% of adults with ADHD are aware that they have it.

If you think you have ADHD and are interested in learning more about getting an evaluation, check out our blog post on how to get an ADHD evaluation as an adult.

You can also visit our directory to find a list of qualified professionals who can answer your questions and conduct evaluations.

How can improve my memory?

Queue the Backup Brain.

Remember the lunchbox? Without fail, my parents had to buy a 3-4 replacement lunchboxes per year. But as I got older, the lunchbox became something else, and as the consequences grew, I realized something needed to change.

So, to improve my memory, I created my Backup Brain. My Backup Brain improved my memory and organization while reducing stress.

My Backup Brain requires 3 tools:

  • reminders app ✅

  • digital calendar 📆

  • master task list 📝

This week, we’re focusing on the Reminders App – how it can help, how you can use it, and how to optimize reminders to stay focused and stress-free.

The Reminders App

This is for on-the-go to-dos.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, when a to-do comes to mind, set a reminder for a more optimal time. 

As you leave the dentist and they say, “Call us later today to schedule your next appointment”. Stop, drop, and set a reminder to do so.

The Reminders App also helps you stay focused.

In the middle of a work day, when a to-do comes to mind, quickly set a reminder for later and return to the task at hand.

The Reminders App allows you to offload recurring tasks that have high consequences.

Need to move your car for street sweeping? Set a recurring reminder. Rent, Wi-Fi, and electricity bills due? These can be scheduled too.

Recurring reminders for birthdays, setting your fantasy football lineup, or checking your mailbox all lead to reduced stress and forgetfulness.

Not sure how to use the reminders app? iPhone users, check out this video. Android users, click here.

White man with long black hair, wearing a black jacket, standing in front of a green background

How do I build my Backup Brain?

I have a challenge for you: start building your Backup Brain this week.

  1. Download or open your Reminders App

  2. Add all of your recurring to-dos.

  3. Email me a screenshot of your list! I will respond with a special gift for you!

Next week, we will focus on how to build the second stage of your Backup Brain: the digital calendar.

Remember, it takes time to build new systems and habits yet, the impact is significant. Start small by adding your recurring reminders today. You will already be less stressed, more organized, and less forgetful.


Forgetting important tasks and events can lead to feelings of disappointment and self-perceived failure. The impact of such forgetfulness extends beyond personal experiences to affect relationships and daily routines. The introduction of a Backup Brain, a simple yet effective system introduced in this three-part series, promises to be a game-changer.

The Reminders App is the first tool for building a Backup Brain. As you embark on this journey to enhance memory and organization, remember that gradual changes in systems and habits can yield significant benefits.

Stay tuned for the next segment, where we will delve into the second stage of building your Backup Brain—the digital calendar. Take the challenge this week, start small, and witness the positive impact on stress levels, organization, and overall forgetfulness.

Stay Engaged

About the author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

30 views2 comments


Dec 03, 2023

This reminds I've been wanting to read the book, "Building a second brain". Nice article!

Eric Kaufmann
Eric Kaufmann
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!


About 👋

Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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