Planners and ADHD

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We are 4 days into a brand new year. This is when we start fresh with a brand new calendar and an optimistic set of resolutions.

You most likely intend to make 2011 a better year than 2010. I think that’s pretty universal.

But the question is, how are you going to do it?

More specifically, how are you going to plan and keep track of all those good intentions?

Do you have a planner? What kind is it? Paper? Electronic? A little of both?

A good planner that you will use and that will work successfully for you is vital to managing your life and your ADHD.

Did you notice that bold part? The part where it says you will actually use it and it will work for you? That’s really important. That’s the whole point of using a planner.

I know a lot of people who swear by paper planners. They like the idea of pen and paper and say that it’s easier for them to make entries into a paper planner.

If it works for you, great!

But I see a lot of people lugging around those oversized binder kinds of planners, and they’re bulging with extra pieces of paper and sticky notes. They look like a huge mess and I find it hard to believe that they actually do their job effectively.

What I recommend is an electronic planner. You can use your cell phone if you want. If you’ve got a smart phone, it will probably do the job very well.

If you’re like me, your kids have the cool cell phones and you’re still using one that Zach Morris would be proud of. In that case, you can use a seperate electronic planner. I use my iPod Touch, but there are others out there, too.

Here are some of the reasons I like electronic planners:

They are lightweight and easy to carry
They have an alarm setting that beeps at you to remind you of whatever you set an alarm for
They hold more information than you will likely ever need, and it’s all in one place
You are less likely to lose it
They are extremely versatile and usually do far more than just provide a calendar
Most have a search feature, which means you can find what you need quickly and easily
With a little practice, it is just as easy if not easier to enter your appointments and reminders in them than it is to write them in your paper planner

So, do you have a planner for the new year? Is it working for you? If not, you know what to put on your to do list.

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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6 Responses

  1. I love my Franklin Covey paper planner. Having something tactile that I have to encounter is key for me. An app on my iPod, software on my computer, that doesn’t really help for me (and I don’t have a smart phone). I have to have something I can touch, which I have to carry with me. I use the basic calendar pages because I don’t have lots of activities to plan, and my kids aren’t in activities just yet. I agree that a planner, of any kids, is key. If I ever don’t refer to it, I tend to overbook, forget parties, and generally lose track of key things in our week.

  2. Amy – when we lived in Michigan there was a Franklin Covey store about a mile or two from our house. I could spend hours and hundreds of dollars in there! I loved their planners too, but found them too heavy and bulky for my lifestyle.

    As long as you’ve got a system for checking your planner regularly and it works for you, you’re good to go!

  3. Amy, I like a more tactile planner also. I am using a BlueSky planner. I found that this planner has bigger spaces to write in on the monthly calendars. I think that it is a 5×8 size, is spiral and has a leather case that is closed magnetically. The case is about worn out and I’ve bought a larger size with weekly and monthly pages. Not sure of it yet. Haven’t found a good cover for it yet.

    Brenda, I love planners too! I am always looking for the perfect one. I just have learned of a free calendar website that looks promising. It is I found it through

    Oh yeah, I did find this free website

  4. Cindy –

    I have to confess, I am a planner junkie. Always looking for something better. The paper ones do appeal to me – I like using different pens and ink colors – but when life gets busy, it’s the electronic one that saves me.

    Where did you get your planner? I’ve never heard of it.

    I’ve used cozi in the past, but may have to take another look.

  5. I use colored pens to keep the different people or activities straight, and I use a hybrid of both computer (so my family had access to it) and paper planner. I find that entering an event in multiple times helps me to remember it. The paper planner I SWEAR by is the Life Planner from Erin Condren. It is very cute and I always get compliments and it has everything I could need. I have gone through soooo many different types of planners and calendars but the Life Planner is the first one I have ever bought a second time.

  6. Sounds like you’ve got a great system going. Definitely going to have to check out that planner! I’m sort of an addict when it comes to planners and if it’s cute and functional….