8 Ways to Manage Adult ADHD With a Planner

Eileen Bailey | March 4, 2016

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If you have ADHD, you have probably been told, more than once, that using a daily planner can help you stay on track. Here are some ways they can help and how to get started.

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Decide whether you prefer paper or electronic

There isn’t any right or wrong, better or best. You should use what you find most comfortable. Some people prefer having a paper planner because the act of writing in it helps you remember things. Others prefer to have their planner on their phone, where they can easily check it several times a day.

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Use one planner to keep work and personal items

For those with ADHD, having separate planners to update and check can be confusing and overwhelming, which means you are more likely to give it up. This also makes it easier to check all of your appointments and tasks before adding another.

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Plan for transitions and travel time

Those with ADHD frequently run late for appointments, getting to late and even picking up the kids from activities. Always add extra time for travel or if you need transition time in between tasks.

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Use automatic reminders

The benefit of electronic planners is the ability to program alarms and reminders to help you stay on track. You can usually set several reminders, such as 1 hour before and 15 minutes before an event.

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Review your planner on a regular basis

Check your calendar in the morning, at lunch and at the end of the day to help you better plan your time. Don’t wait for an alarm or reminder to tell you something is coming up. Review all of your tasks and activities scheduled for that day so you are more prepared for what is coming next.

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No task is too small

Your planner and calendar can help you remember everything you need to do. One mistake people make is to think certain tasks or activities are “too small or insignificant” to add to the calendar, such as stopping at the store after work or picking up dry cleaning. Remember, the calendar is yours and the more you add, the less you will forget.

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Take advantage of the recurring features

If you have tasks or activities that occur on a regular basis, such as a Monday staff meeting at work, use the recurring activity feature to have it appear every week in your digital planner.

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Block out time for yourself

People with ADHD need down time to relax and rejuvenate; this might be time you spend on a hobby, meditating or taking a walk. You might want to block out time to update your calendar, get rid of unneeded tasks or set up alarms for important tasks. Setting aside time each evening to review your calendar can help keep the tasks relevant.