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Y’all, if you have ADHD, then you’ve probably tried every planner on the market. Well, you’re not alone, because I do that too. But it took me a minute to figure out what I truly needed out of a system. Once I figured that out, I was able to craft the perfect solution for myself, and today I”m going to share that process with you.
Listen to the Podcast Version of ADHD Planners
Why Planners are Critical for ADHD brains
A good planning system will help you manage your executive function challenges. Here’s why:
- Poor working memory – ADHDers have a hard time remembering thing. A good planner system that’s always in reach will help you write down important thoughts before they escape your memory
- We Struggle with Time Blindness – as a result, we tend to overcommit ourselves, then get disappointed when we fall short of our own expectations. A solid planning system will enable you to estimate how long tasks will take so that you can clearly see what’s possible and what’s not.
- We struggle to self-regulate. Certainly a planner won’t help you regulate your emotions, but by writing things down, having a plan for the day, week or month, you can feel more in control of your life and hopefully manage feelings of overwhelm more effectively.
Now, all that said….
The Perfect ADHD Planner Doesn’t Exist (Sorry)
It’s important to say right off the bat that there’s no planner out there that will solve all your ADHD challenges. Accepting this will prevent you from setting your expectations too high and get disappointed and move to the next. The other thing to note is that no matter what system you choose, your behavior is going to play a big role in it’s success.
Because even the best planner system in the world won’t help you if you forget to use it, right?
What Planner Will Best Support You & Your ADHD?
Whatever system you have right now, don’t make a move until you’ve answered the following questions for yourself.
What do you want your system to do? Do you need something to just track appointments, or do you need something that will help you with task management and to-dos?
What kind of result do you want your planner or system to provide?
Does it need to help you schedule tasks months in advance? Are you tracking habits, spending and journaling as well? Or is it again, just for appointments?
Personally, my planner system is also where I do all my work (writing, research, planning content, storing documents, etc). I find that keeping everything in one ecosystem cuts down on overwhelm and task switching.
Where you’re going to use your planner?
Are you generally working from home or office and you’re at a desk where you can write things down whenever you want? Or are you on the go and you need a system that’s always with you? Think about your lifestyle, where you spend the majority of your time, and what kind of a tool would work best for whatever your situation is.
When you’re going to use your planner?
Will you just use it at work? Or do you need it to manage your home and personal life as well? You may even need a system that will help you manage long-term projects like writing a book.
Who needs to use this system?
Are you the only one using your planner system, or needs to have access to it? In that case, a paper planner might be an option. Or is it for everybody in your family, at the office or everybody on your team in your business? This will determine whether it has to be digital or not.
How Do You Want Your Planner to Support Your ADHD?
Do you want it to help you stay organized? Stay on track of time or stay on track of appointments or remind yourself of certain things. Does it need to have really obnoxious reminders or would you prefer to have like just a bullet journal where writing things out is the most important part of your internalization process?
Notion for ADHD – My Favorite System For Planning Everything
Distraction to Action
A science-based productivity program that helps ADHD’ers define what’s most important and follow through on it.
Vision to Action
A template to help you clarify and align your strengths, values + personal needs with your intentions.
The Organized Business
A robust template for getting your business organized with trackers, workflows and project planning.
And if you’ve been around here for a minute, then you know that my system of choice is Notion. I love it because it’s flexible and I can make it my own. It’s also digital, so I can use it as a dumping ground for all of my different ideas and resources and just random stuff that I pick up from other places.
It becomes a centralized spot for all of my documents and records. So it’s now my second brain. As an ADHDer, I’ve found that the more centralized you can become with your systems, the better off you’ll be.
My Notion Planner Also Runs My Business
As a soloentrepreneur, the way I spend my time is self-directed. So if I don’t make a point of planning my tasks in advance, in alignment with my business goals, then I will waste the day twiddling my thumbs.
My business Notion system is designed to reset every week. That means every Sunday I have to make a date with myself to sit down and think about what I want done the following week. I can plan out all my tasks in the same page, track my habits, stay aware of my projects and then also reflect on the week without switching from one screen to another. You can check out my business template here.
ADHD Planners + The Power of Templates
Templates are a great way to help your ADHD brain focus. This also helps you to create systems that are repeatable and habitual because you’re not starting from scratch every time you want to do something. In Notion, I create templates that help with projects, writing tasks, video and content creation and weekly planning. I never start with an empty page.
Templates also help create structure in my life and business to guide my thinking, track progress and plan everything from finances to workouts.
Final Thoughts on ADHD Planner Systems + Finding the Right One For You
So, That’s everything I can say about finding a good, ADHD-Friendly planner system. I have crafted my Notion planner over the past two years and is what works for me. What works for you might be something different, although if you like this layout, then you can access it here.
My best advice to you is to start with the questions I asked you at the top of this blog post around how are you going to use your system, who else needs to be a part of it, when are you going to use it, and what qualities it needs to have in order to help support you be your best self.
I hope this was helpful!