Planning is important for creating change and getting stuff done but many of us with ADHD often resist the idea of sitting down with a pen and paper and creating a plan and structuring the day.
Use a pen that you like to write with and paper that’s big enough that it won’t get lost. Planning on little scraps of paper isn’t a great idea because they get lost. Large and brightly colored post-it notes work well or you might try using a legal pad or notebook.
Carve out a time and place for planning and make it part of your daily routine. Give yourself ten or fifteen minutes a day of uninterrupted quiet time to plan.
Sitting quietly over a cup of coffee and planning first thing in the morning works for some people but if you wake up in a thick fog try planning later in the day or before going to sleep. You may have to experiment a little to see what the best time of day is for you. Also consider where you plan. You want to be in a distraction free zone. Shut your cell phone, the TV, the computer and spend time with yourself.
If you have young children at home you may need to get up a little early to plan or wait until they go to sleep so they don’t interrupt you. It’s OK to ask the adults in your life to give you fifteen minutes of space.
Check your calendar before you plan your day. Do you have any appointments, meetings or social events to go to? What time do you have to be there?
Try breaking your day down into three parts; morning, afternoon and evening. Consider your energy level and plan accordingly. When are you most alert and energetic? When do you need some down time?
The main benefit of planning is to get your thoughts about what you need to do out of your head and down on paper so that you can visualize what you need to do and schedule a time to do it.
Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: www.bravolifecoaching.com or email Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org