Planning With a Planner


If you have ADHD, using a planner is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will help you manage your executive functioning deficits by allowing you to see your time more clearly and remember what you need to do. A planner serves as a visual reminder of what you need to do and when you need to do it.

Using a planner makes life so much more manageable but you may be very resistant to using one. I have found that many people with ADHD just don’t like planners and avoid using them. As an ADHD coach the first thing I recommend to my clients is that they use a planner so I hear all sorts of excuses about why planners don’t work.

Here are some of my favorite excuses for not using a planner:

  • I am a free spirit and like to be spontaneous.
  • I don’t need to write anything down I will just remember it.
  • I can’t find a planner I like.
  • I need to design my own planner that specifically works for me but I don’t have time to do it now.
  • My husband, wife, father, mother, roommate, or boss likes to remind me of what I need to do.
  • I tried to use a planner once but it was stupid and didn’t work for me.

Using a planner probably won’t be easy for you. It may take time and practice to get into the habit of using a planner and checking it daily. This much I know is true, if you write things down in a planner and check it every day your life will be easier.

Here are some of my favorite reasons for using a planner:

  • If you are an adult, unless you are independently wealthy with a great support staff it’s hard to be a spontaneous, free spirit.
  • If you have ADHD your working memory may be deficient and you need visual reminders to help you remember what you need to do.
  • You may never find the perfect planner but you can find a planner that is good enough and works for you.
  • You do not have to reinvent the wheel there are hundreds of planners to choose from.
  • Your husband, wife, father, mother, roommate or boss finds it annoying to have to remind you about what you need to do.
  • Planners are not stupid but it may take some time and practice to get in the habit of using one.

Not using a planner when you have ADHD is like not wearing your glasses when you are nearsighted. You can kind of see without your glasses if you squint really hard but you don’t see clearly, miss a lot of things and end up with some big headaches. Using a planner makes life easier and brings your daily life into focus and helps you to feel in control of your time.

The type of planner that you use is up to you. There are hundreds of paper planners for you to choose from as well as many electronic types as well. The best planner for you is the one you will remember to use and check every day.

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: or email Kathy at

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