5 ADHD Friendly Tips for Using a Daily Planner

Woman sitting outside looking at her day planner

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Mastering the art of using a daily time planner is a simple yet powerful skill when you have ADHD. It is the key to managing your life and your ADHD. Your planner becomes your memory prompt, time manager, and organizing aid. Plus, it can help reduce classic ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity, distraction, and procrastination. 

A daily planner is a calendar that is divided into days and each day is divided into sections, according to time. You can write down your appointments in the appropriate time slots. Planners have a variety of names, such an agenda, diary or daytime planner. However, the function is always the same. They help you record your commitments to yourself and other people so you remember them.

Here are 5 points to consider when you are using your daily planner.

Paper or Electronic

There can be heated debates about whether paper or electronic planners are best. Both are good, so the key to success is to pick the one that you feel most comfortable using every day.

If you love paper and pen and find writing on paper helps to solidify things in your mind, then a paper planner would be a good choice.

If, on the other hand, you love gadgets and all things electronic, then a digital planner would be good for you. The benefit of digital planners is they can usually be accessed from multiple devices such as your phone, tablet, and computer. This is a helpful feature when you have ADHD because if you misplace one, you are still able to access your schedule.

How Many Planners You Should Have

Some people have a planner for work and another for home. However, when you have ADHD it is best just to use one. Having two planners might sound logical, but it can quickly get confusing and overwhelming. Keep it simple and just have one planner for your whole life.

What to Write in Your Planner

Appointments with other people. These could be meetings for work, personal appointments like visiting the dentist, as well as time with family and friends. Before confirming an appointment, reach for your planner and check if you are available on that day at that time before confirming. Next, write it down immediately before you forget.

Appointments with yourself. These are times you block out in your agenda so you can perform a particular task. For example, it might be an item from your 'to do list.' Making appointments with yourself means you become more productive and time doesn't just slip away. These appointments also provide mental relief because even if you can't do a task right away, you know exactly when you will have time to do it. 

Include Transition Times

When you are writing appointments down in your planner, write down the time of the appointment and the time it will take you to travel there. This helps you to arrive on time for all your appointments. The more you use your planner, the better you will get at estimating travel time.

Also, schedule transition time between the appointments you book with yourself. This is important when you have ADHD as you need time to disconnect from one task before starting on the next. When you do this, you will avoid feeling irritable, anxious, or angry.

How Often Do You Look at Your Planner?

In order for planners to be effective, you need to use them regularly! Always look at your planner first thing in the morning to have a clear and up-to-date image of what your day looks like. Also, throughout the day, look at your planner to remind you of your activities and to update it with new appointments as they are arranged.

Happy planning.

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