Thinking about buying a new planner, calendar, or datebook?
Consistently using a planner or time keeper of some sort is a great way for someone with ADD-ADHD to help keep track of appointments and to-do lists as well as a central location to store important things like addresses and phone numbers. But, the wrong planner can cause just as much difficulty as it can help.
Get The Right Planner
To get the right planner is an exercise of matching up your lifestyle and specific ADD/ADHD traits with an available planner. How do you do that?
First, match your planner or date book to your lifestyle.
Before you decide about daily, weekly, or monthly planners, look at how your days typically work. Do you have several meetings scheduled each day at specific times? Or, do you have a list of to-dos each day, but no specific times? Or, is your life one where you have many different projects with deadlines and milesotnes, but where the exact date that things happen isn’t important?
Most planners have a list of times for each day. That is fine if you are a salesperson with meetings at 9:00am, 10:30, 1:15 and so on. But, if you are a computer programmer with just two meetings scheduled per week (maybe a team meeting on Tuesday and another meeting on Friday afternoons) then all of those times running down the side might just be distracting.
Since we aren’t looking for MORE distractions, you might want to look for a planner without the times, or at least where the times are easily ignored (small non-stand out font).
Next, it is time to decide what time-frame you need for you planner. Daily planners have lots of room for each day, but tend to be bigger and heavier which means you might be less likely to use it consistently. Monthly planners don’t have much room for each day, but might be very useful for tracking deadlines. Weekly planners often offer a nice middle ground between the two.
Lastly, get a planner without a lot of “noise”. Some planner makers seem to think that the more stuff they print on each page, the better the planner. That is NOT true for those of us with ADD / ADHD.
Avoid planners that insist on printing the name of the month, days, and who knows what else in multiple languages. All of that extra text is nothing but a distraction waiting to happen. (Hey, I didn’t know the French word for Wednesday. It sounds like the Latin word. Well, at least I think it does. Maybe I should look it up…)
Also, avoid planners that put a bunch of useless information in the planner to make it thicker. You don’ t need to know what time it is in Turkistan, nor do you need to know how to convert hectares to acres (or at least you won’t need to know it when you are doing your planning.)
Calendar makers cram all of this in to make their planners seem more impressive, but it is just wasted space and extra weight. If you can’t find one that you like without a load of extra junk, grab an exacto-knife or razor and cut those pages out. Your planner will be lighter and smaller, and you’ll be more likely to use it.