Keep Tabs on Your Goods with the ADHD Fuddy Duddy System™

February 18, 2010 Douglas Cootey

So far we've discussed how to help an ADHD loved one remember what they were doing from one room to the next. But what about us poor ADHD shlubs who can't afford a personal assistant to follow us around all day and remind us not to leave things behind? Let me introduce to you my patent-pending ADHD Fuddy Duddy System™!

There I was—the hero of the day. We had made a trip to our favorite donut shop and purchased a dozen incredibly fattening but succulent donuts. Into the minivan I shuffled the excited kids and pulled away with our treasure. Oddly, cars started honking at us as they passed by. What on earth was wrong with them I checked my dashboard. No doors or hatches were open. I wasn't drifting across lanes. What could they…scrape…scuffle…whoosh! Something on the minivan roof slid onto the road behind us. The donuts!

I pulled over and braved the rushing traffic to collect our precious bounty, upside down but miraculously positioned in the road to miss every set of speeding tires. Obviously, I had left the donuts up on the roof as I unlocked the minivan door when I let the girls in. Why hadn't I noticed them as I climbed in and drove away? I'll tell you why. I forgot to act like an old fuddy duddy.

peter-patsThe first time I remember becoming aware that having a system could prevent me from forgetting things was when I had just finished watching The Princess Bride for the first time. There Peter Falk's character stood, patting pockets all over his body. I broke out laughing because that's what I did. I was like an old man at the early age of 20, patting myself all over while checking for wallet, keys, and sunglasses. I hadn't realized that I had a similar system, yet there I was up on the silver screen.

This amazing system is simple.

  1. Double check with your hands.
  2. Have set places for important items.

Pat. Pat. Pat. I double check my pockets and constantly make sure I have the important items with me whenever I get up to leave one place and go to another. I definitely use my ADHD Fuddy Duddy System™ whenever I leave the house. Wallet in the left pocket. Glasses in the shirt pocket. Pocket knife in the right pocket. Thumb drive…pencil sharpener…pat, pat, pat! My problem with the donuts was that I forgot to double check before I pulled away. Sometimes excessive checking is the only way I can prevent myself from forgetting. The car roof is a stupid place to put anything. When I don't follow the system, I leave Ray Bans, wooden canes, and laptops complete with Boredom Survival Kits™ behind for the fates to decide if I ever see them again.

Designating places for important items is also key. I keep my wallet & keys in one of only three places when not in my pants. I've trained myself to mostly set them down in the authorized locations. Saves me hunting time when I need to get them and go. It saves my family from hunting with me as well. I've also been training the kids to put my keys in one of the three designated areas, not behind the pocketbook under a pile of mail on the back of the desk where I found them the other day.

Systems are key for productivity. Double check, pat down, and touch everything over and over again. Better to look like the grandfather in The Princess Bride, than to skip a beat, get distracted at the wrong moment, and leave that precious valuable in a parking lot somewhere. If we learn to keep tabs by rote, not just memory, we'll lose less and avoid stress.

APA Reference
Cootey, D. (2010, February 18). Keep Tabs on Your Goods with the ADHD Fuddy Duddy System™, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Douglas Cootey

Cristina Fender
March, 20 2010 at 2:20 am

Hi, I'm Cristina from Bipolar Vida. Love your blog!
I consistently use the fuddy duddy system. It works like a charm except for when I forget and put something down in the wrong place! LOL Thank god for ringers on phones. It's the only way I can find it sometimes!

Kandy D
February, 27 2010 at 12:41 pm

I have struggled with not only losing things and forgetting things. But I also tend to look at this and say patting is a good suggestion,but what about forgetting to do that. Bad habits are hard to break.

toni carter
February, 25 2010 at 9:00 am

When my adult son was a child we made poster size notes! Sticky notes would have gotten lost in the melee. On the door a large poster said"did you get your lunch?' A poster in the bathroom reminded him to do various things..we turned him into a cool fuddy duddy with sparkling teet and he alwys had his lunch!
Great made me stop and read it. Thanks

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Douglas Cootey
February, 26 2010 at 11:54 pm

Giant "sticky notes". That’s a great idea. Whatever works best for you. Love it. Thanks for commenting.

February, 24 2010 at 6:51 am

Thanks for reminding all of us that having a plan makes life go smoother. Even if we don't have ADHD, most of us save time and aggravation by having systems including where to put certain things, rituals for getting out the door with what we need, routines and schedules for accomplishing tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc. So, even though you call your system the ADHD Fuddy Duddy System, it's really the way all organized people live their lives and don't tie up the frontal lobe always trying to make sure we've "remembered" everything!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Douglas Cootey
February, 25 2010 at 1:21 am

Well, I labeled it that way with more than a little tongue in my cheek. ;) I’ve been using it for the past 23 years long before I was fuddy or duddy.
Although you are exactly correct, I’ve found that people with ADHD have to think harder about those systems than others do. I’ve been around non-ADHD people who are phenomenally organized. They do it effortlessly, cutting through their day like a knife through paper. I go through my day more like a club through pavement. Lots of effort, but I get there eventually. :D
Great comment. Thanks!

February, 19 2010 at 4:17 am

I seem to have a similar system. Now to teach it to my husband. ;-)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Douglas Cootey
February, 25 2010 at 1:16 am

Good luck!

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