Day Planner Simplified

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One of the challenges that people with ADHD face revolves around time management and organization. We have appointments to keep and errands to run and things to do. And we have to remember it all, and remember it at the right time.

You can spend $100 or more and buy a really cool day planner from office supply stores, or you can use an electronic device or even a computer program to keep your calendar and remember everything.

When I was a stay at home mom with kids in school, I didn’t need anything as fancy or expensive as that. I had a system that served me very well for a long time and that cost about $5.00.

It consisted of two calendars – one for the wall and one for my purse – and a spiral notebook. If you want to get technical, I guess you could add in a pen.

Here’s how it worked:

Everything went on the wall calendar – everyone’s appointments and activities, deadlines of any kind, etc. You know what goes on that calendar – you’ve probably got one yourself.

The calendar in my purse was for appointments. They were still noted on the wall calendar, but I put them in my purse calendar too because if I was at the doctor’s office or the salon and needed to schedule another appointment, I could see where we had openings and where we didn’t. You could also use your cell phone for this instead of a paper calendar.

The third piece was the spiral notebook. Each page in the notebook equaled one day. Every evening after dinner while the kids were doing their homework, I would do mine: filling in the next day’s activities and to dos.

The date would go at the top of the page. Underneath I would write any appointments or errands that needed to be done that day – things that would require me to leave the house. I would leave some space and then add in any things I needed to do around the house. At the bottom of the page I would list any phone calls I needed to make along with the numbers.

Before I went to bed, I would have a pretty clear idea of how busy the next day was going to be and what I needed to do.

The notebook was kept open on the kitchen counter alongside the phone and a pen. As I completed things on the list I would cross them off and if new things came up during the day, I would add them.

For instance, if I got a phone call asking me to make cupcakes for the next day, a trip to the store and making cupcakes would be added to the list.

If I talked to someone on the phone or in person and the conversation was worth noting, it went in the notebook. If I made a phone call that was business related – asking about a bill, for instance – I would note the time I called, who I talked to, and what was said.

Anything that didn’t get done during the day was added to the following day’s page.

The spiral notebook was valuable because it kept all of my information in one place. And because it was spiral, I didn’t need to worry about losing a page. I could refer back to things if I needed to – something that was very valuable if I had to document a conversation or remember when I did something.

For the most part, this system worked very well for me for years. It might work for you.

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Lacy Estelle

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

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2 Responses

  1. This sounds like something that I might be able to do. I just have such a hard time deciding on a system and then doing it over and over until it is just a habit. I feel like I am missing a link when it comes to this part! I have spent so much money on planners & even a ADD coach, just to find a system that works and I still don’t have a system yet. I get freaked out at the idea of sitting down and writing stuff down and I don’t know why. It is sort of like I know I want to do it and need to do it, but I think that I am so used to failing or giving up, that it has become a road block. However, being ADHD, I have become quite resilient to failure and will have to try again (and probably again!)

  2. I feel a lot better when i use a planner similiar to yours. But since my life as a mom isnt so busy, i use my planner for my ideas and to do lists that help me get organized or help me accomplish things. Which in return makes me feel better.