Do you ever feel like planning just isn’t for you, and why should you even bother?  Let’s look at why planning matters, especially for someone with ADHD.

Before I was diagnosed, I would joke that my planners, calendars, and sticky notes were my second brain.

I wasn’t wrong. 

Planning and planners become executive functions many of us struggle with. Writing things down can help you remember better, and you can always refer to your planner to ensure you haven’t forgotten something. You can add as much information to your planning system as you need, and your planner won’t forget any of it. 

Plus, writing down things can free up your brain so you can focus on other important things, like your job.

You can use planning to create action plans and manage your time. Imagine you have a to do list that is a mile long; it’s not hard to do, huh? You can look at your planner to see what you have going on today or this week and see where you can slot in your different to do. You can also see what tasks may need to be rolled to next week, delegated, or maybe even dropped.

Not sure how long a task will take?

Your planning system can help with that, too! You can track when you start and end a task. For example, you need to give the dog a bath and think it will take only a few minutes. But does it really? Mark down the time, then gather the supplies, start the water, get the dog, wash the dog, clean up, and groom the dog. When you are done, note the time. Now, you have a baseline for how long your task actually takes. 

I know time management can be tricky. I’ve struggled with it—I still do, actually. But I’ve gotten much better since taking HB90 and using Pomodoro-type techniques. 

It’s hard, but it does help!

You can also use your planning system to create balance and learn when you need to say no. Pretend someone asks you if you can help them move this weekend. You check your calendar, and you have your niece’s birthday that afternoon. You could help move in the morning, but do you really have the time and energy to do both? When you put everything on your calendar, you can easily see what you have going on each day and make an informed decision. 

The last two reasons go together. Planning can help reduce overwhelm, stress, and anxiety and give you a sense of control over your time and life. 

Have you ever felt like a million thoughts are zooming around your brain? You can’t focus on any one thing because there are so many thoughts. Well, writing down all those thoughts, sorting them, and adding to dos and events into your planning system can help stop the overwhelming, anxiety-inducing thoughts.

You have now set those thoughts free and can go about your day. 

Getting all those to dos out of your brain gives you back control. You can decide what you need to do with each thought and when you will do it. Now that you’ve booted all those stressful, zooming thoughts, you can also find time in your schedule to relax. 

Why do you plan? Let me know in the comments. 

Remember, every to-do list needs a caffeine boost, so grab your coffee and get planning!

Categories: ADHDPlanning


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.