The Power of Planning Ahead

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The idea for this post came from the fact that I have been sitting at my desk for the past 15 minutes trying to decide what to write about.

So it’s kind of ironic that I’m going to tell you to start planning ahead and putting more structure in your lives, since I obviously don’t follow my own advice. But I’m going to tell you anyway.

All of us have a certain amount of repetitive things that we have to do each day. It might be making phone calls or answering emails at work, trying to get the house in order, or even making dinner.

If you have certain things that you do on a regular basis, do you have a system for them? Do you plan ahead? Or do you tend to do what you feel like doing when you feel like doing it?

I’ve worked with a lot of ADHD kids over the years and that’s one of their biggest problems/excuses. They don’t do their homework until later in the evening because they haven’t felt like doing it. They finally do, not because they want to, but because they have to.

As adults, we’re guilty of some of that same thinking. Most of us realize, however, that there are lots of things in life we don’t “feel” like doing, but we do them anyway, because we have to.

But what about when you do them, and how?

Do you have set times during the day to check your email and respond to them? Or do you check it randomly throughout the day, responding when you feel like it?

Do you have a set time, say early in the morning, when you make your business calls for the day? Or do you space them here and there throughout the day, calling someone when you think of it or feel like it?

Making dinner is a pretty standard thing. Most of us have an evening meal that requires some effort on our part. But before you start patting yourself on the back for having a regular meal time each night, take a check.

When do you decide what’s for dinner? A few minutes before you make it? When you go grocery shopping? Ideally, you would plan meals and assign them to a day depending on what else might be going on – before you go shopping.

So here’s our new plan, cause we’re planning ahead now.

Figure out the things you do on a regular basis.

Lump them all together – make all of your calls at once, answer all of your emails at once, etc.

Set aside a regular time to do them. Emails – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Phone calls – first thing in the morning. Dinner – once a week.

None of these things have to be set in stone. This is not meant as a rigid schedule to follow to the letter. What it is instead is an outline for you that can be modified as needed. It’s the easiest, no brainer way to be more productive and make sure everything gets done. I bet you’ll even find you’ve got more time than ever. Cool.

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Lacy Estelle

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

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6 Responses

  1. Thank you Brenda, for this post. It came just at the right time for me, as I have some planning to do with my work – otherwise I will miss deadlines. But you see: as I noticed your article and the word ‘planning’ in the title, my ADD brain told me to escape right away 🙂 , so that I ended up playing computer games for two hours before I had enough courage to read on.

  2. I think that this time mgt strategy would be great if somehow it became more interesting : Ned Hallowell says beware of the familiar, repetitive, and boring for folks with Adult ADHD. The problem with some solutions is that they so quickly become boring. How can we spice it up???? Help!

  3. Excellent point! I’ve found that the easiest way to “keep things interesting” is to come up with 2 or 3 methods that work for you. Then when you get bored, its easy to switch to another system that you already know works for you.

    I’m also a complete geek when it comes to electronic devices and I find that they tend to keep me interested longer while still helping me stay on track. I used to use a Palm Pilot, but switched to iPod touch a couple of years ago. There’s always a new software application for when things get dull.