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As someone with ADHD, weekly planning has NEVER been top of mind. Until very recently, I pretty much did what was in front of me, and didn’t think much of it.
No wonder I’m not where I want to be with some of my big hairy goals!
To be honest, I have tried to get into a rhythm of weekly planning, but the hard part is keeping up the habit. I would often get bored of the process, or more likely, just forget about it. As a result, my default to life has always been to live reactively and never proactively.
As an entrepreneur, this is a quick path to burnout and or business failure. This is not my first business, and I can share from personal experience that reactivity is no way to grow a healthy business.
“You have a choice in life. You can either live on-purpose, according to a plan you’ve set. Or you can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others.”
– Michael Hyatt
The Key to Weekly Planning with ADHD
The TLDR is that weekly planning for ADHDer is successful when it’s simple and fun for the individual. That means, the way I do things might not be fun or easy for you, so it’s important to spend time understanding what works for you and what doesn’t.
- Do you prefer a paper planner or digital?
- Do you prefer to plan at the end of the week or at the start?
- What system do you like to use? Calendar and to-list, or just a calendar?
This and so much more has to be taken into consideration when you’re planning your day, week, month, quarter and year.
Don’t be. As long as you keep your system simple, intuitive and FUN, it will work for you. You also don’t have to plan months, quarters or years. A simple week plan that maps out what you’ll do each day is more than enough to change the trajectory of your life and goal outcomes.
My ADHD-friendly Weekly Planning System
Step 1 – Make it a fun experience!
I do my planning on Sunday evening, so there’s wine involved, and soft music. I like to make my productivity as romantic as possible.
Step 2 – Plot the “big rocks” on a single calendar.
I have two calendars, one is for my corporate client work, and the other is for personal and my coaching business. So I look across those two calendars and block off any appointments, commitments, meetings and events first in my main calendar.
I should point out, that my calendar is already blocked off between 7am and 10am and 6:30 pm and 10pm. This is recurring and I swear by it. Why? Because I need the first three hours of the day for my own self care – workout, journal, meditate, dog meds, etc. I also use that chunk of time to workout so that I have a lots of blood flow to the brain when I start my day.
My day always ends at 6:30 because at that point, my brain has left the building and I only have capacity for food and Netflix.
Step 3 – Allocate blocks of work time around appointments.
Fortunately, all of my activities happen at my desk, so I don’t need to think through commuting or putting on pants.
I like to block my time in big chunks. I typically block off morning/early afternoon for creative time. This is where I script and record my podcasts and youtube because my brain is nice and fresh. In the afternoon, I schedule a block of time for admin tasks which then plan in Notion.
Step 4 -Review goals, projects, and content plans before plotting out to dos.
Before I start building a to-do list, I go through various different lists (all in notion):
- First I visit my pillar list – all the topics important to me.
- Goals for the month and week
- Review active projects
- I look at the content I want to plan that week and the business activities I’d like to accomplish
- And then, once I’ve reviewed all that, I start creating my task list.
I find that reviewing these areas before I sit down to plan my week is super important because otherwise important but not urgent things don’t move forward (ie, my life goals).
Step 5 – Plan out to dos based on urgency and time available.
For example, if I have a creative time block of 3 hours on Monday, I’ll schedule two videos to record. If I have a bunch of little admin tasks, I’ll plot those for an afternoon when I have a solid two hours to work through them. I have a very simple punch list process for this because that’s what works for me. I go into detail on my video, but it’s not elaborate.
Step 6 – Copy planned to dos and appointments in a paper planner as well.
I do this because notion isn’t always open, and I just need that extra reinforcement. Plus it’s cute and colorful so I like writing it in.
I’m telling you, I’m the oldest 5 year old on the planet.
Guys, this process has been a game changer for me. And you know why? It’s not the software or the lists. It’s the ritual. I make it fun and interesting so I look forward to doing it. And because that big interest driven brain of mine loves fun things, I never miss it.
Now my week goes so much smoother, I have the comfort of knowing that I’m working toward my goals because my tasks are created with intention. This process hasn’t only made me super consistent with my work, but it also gives me peace. That’s so important to me.
I hope I’ve inspired you to start a weekly planning process! If you’re already doing one, I’d love to hear about it!