Is Packing for a Trip an Ordeal?

Adults with ADHD often struggle with going on vacation, school and business trips, primarily because of the challenge involved in packing. They’re hard on themselves because they think it should be easy.

What I’ve learned over the years is packing requires a little bit of memory and a lot of working memory (executive functioning) because of the misconception that one must retrieve from memory all the items necessary for this particular trip.

Here are my suggestions to make thinking of, and packing easier:

  • Visualize yourself on the trip and walk through, step by step, all the places you will go and then make a list of the things that you would need in order to make the trip successful.
  • My Boy Scouts experience taught me that it’s easier not to have to remember what to take, but to make a list of everything you could take and strike off what you don’t need.  Then, all you have to do is pack everything left. The warm coat could be crossed off if you were going to a tropical area, but you’d keep the long johns if you were going north.  Removing what you don’t need is much easier from an executive functioning perspective than it is to recall what you do need.  See my talk on this subject here:

What do you think of these suggestions? Do you have any others to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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