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Forgetting things at work? This could be why

As long as you can remember (which is really far back, by the way), people have always told you you’ve got a great memory. You can remember what Janet in accounts was wearing the first time you met her, and which excuse Jack in HR gave the first time he was sick.

But recently you’ve found that your memory’s slipping. You’ve even started writing things down in a bid to get on top of things, but you still forget to get actually them done. Not only is this frustrating, but it’s starting to cause you some serious self-confidence issues as your performance suffers and you can’t seem to really explain why.

Well, here are a few reasons you might be able to identify with that could help explain why you’re a touch more forgetful at work these days.


If you’re one of those people constantly hopping between tasks in a bid to get more done, chances are you’re going to store less new information. This is because our ability to focus is severely compromised when we’re constantly interrupting our train of thought.

Our short-term memories are only equipped to hold between five and nine things at once. So every time you switch tasks, your brain has to effectively re-juggle and reset, causing you to drop the things you were just thinking about.

Ultimately, this is counter-productive. There’s a simple fix though: stop multi-tasking.

Forgetfulness is a sign of stress and/or anxiety

In more serious cases, it’s not just multi-tasking that’s causing you to forget. Forgetfulness is one of the more surprising symptoms of stress and anxiety, both of which can cause you to lose sleep and adopt unhealthy eating habits, which can affect your ability to store and recall information.

People suffering from stress also experience higher levels of cortisol, which is known to prevent the formation of memories and cause memory loss.

Sometimes you just forget, and that’s ok

Don’t read into every dropped ball. Sometimes people forget, and that’s not the end of the world. Although it can be tempting to go looking for a cause wherever you find a potential symptom, this is probably counter-productive and only conducive to elevated anxiety levels!