by Nathalie Pedicelli, ADHD Organizer Coach at Organize.Thrive.Monetize.
I’m an ADHD Organizer Coach. That’s a Professional Organizer who has ADHD Coach training. I am a fanatic of writing things down. It helps compensate for my Swiss-cheese-like ADHD memory! (And it’s only getting worse as I get older.) I cringe at networking events when someone suggests we meet but they don’t pull out their planner or phone to take note. Needless to say, these appointments don’t always happen. Networkers who take the time to write our business meeting in their planner show up. And I am more likely to recommend them to my clients and acquaintances.
Writing Benefits for ADHD
Studies show that for adults with ADHD, our ability to remember is much better when we write things down. It’s much better than typing. I recommend to ALL my clients to use a paper planner. For those who choose to go digital, I recommend using a stylus to enter data rather than typing. A pro-digital planner client put the idea to the test for two weeks. He couldn’t believe how much better he remembered everything when he wrote items in his digital planner.
What I’ve Discovered About Planners
- Weekly views over 2 pages work best, with the week starting on Monday.
- You must have a place to write in daily tasks.
- You need a section to write-in appointments. Choose one with pre-printed time slots with 30-minute intervals. It’s easy to spot openings to schedule meetings or appointments.
- You need space to record random information. Friend’s suggest books. Co-workers suggest apps. And you need space to record your genius ideas!
- Write all meeting or appointment information in your planner when you make it. The address, phone number, items to bring to the appointment. It’s always best if you show up on time at the right place!
The Good News Revelation
Three years ago, I set out to find the “Perfect Planner”. I investigated several dozen models, online and in stores. All weekly-view planners emphasized appointment schedule space or task writing space. None provided space for both, let alone space for creative thinking. I joined ADDA around that time. That’s how I heard of the Planner Pad planner, an ADHD-friendly planning system. I decided to give it a try. After all, Planner Pad promised if I didn’t like it after 6 months, I could get my money back! How could I go wrong?
Well, I never made it to 6 months. I was a convert! In less than a month, I was a Planner Pad addict. I had one place to write down my ideas, tasks, appointments, expenses and random things. All in an easy to use format! I even had space to break projects into smaller tasks. I could schedule those over several days. That’s what I call the “Brain Dump” space at the top of the Planner Pad page. No more forgetting those all-important steps to make an event happen. Or worrying about forgetting them! I captured these tasks in random order to later choose on which day of the week it would happen. I was in Professional Organizer nirvana!
Unlike other planners, this one encourages you to bring forward yet-to-be-done tasks. Were they too ambitious for the assigned day? Carried over from last week? No problem. And it helps our ADHD brains reflect and ask ourselves, “Is this a realistic time frame to get that task done?” Often, I push those “wish list” tasks several weeks later in my Planner Pad. It lets me focus on things I need to do now. When you bring everything to the current week or later, you clip off the top of the previous week’s page. Now you know, you haven’t forgotten anything in the past and everything is in the present (or future).
Spreading the Planner Pad Philosophy
Since moving to the Planner Pad three years ago, I recommend it all the time. I have recommended it to hundreds of clients, friends and acquaintances. Many have gotten their copy and loved it. Some opted to buy it without me mentioning it. They see me writing in it and get curious about my planner. I use several colored erasable pens to make tasks and appointments stand out. My favorite pens are the Frixion clicker pens by Pilot.
The Planner Pad comes in different sizes, styles and start dates. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Choose the spiral bound; much lighter to haul around.
Executive (8 ½ x 11 sized pages) or Personal (6 ¾ x 8 ½ sized pages) size
- The Executive size gives you more space to write things down.
Banker Green or Business Black Font
- The black’s high contrast makes it easier to read against the white background.
- The layout isn’t eye-catching. Use stickers, hand-drawn colored stencils or washi tape to add your own flavor.
Custom-sized Protective Covers
- Give you pockets to carry papers
- Go for a zipper closure so nothing falls out.
- Flashy colors make it easier to spot your planner in a cluttered environment.
- Mine still looks new after three years of daily use and abuse.
Custom Planner Start Dates
- Every Planner Pad holds 12 months of your life in a spiral bound format.
- You can select a ‘start date’ of January 1st, April 1st, July 1st or October 1st.
- The clip-in moveable Daily Page marker ruler helps find the current week.
A Free Webinar Recording for All of You
Learn more about how to get the best use of the Planner Pad. ADDA recorded a Webinar I offered back in 2020. It’s timeless, so I urge you to watch the Webinar recording, How to Use an ADHD Brain-friendly Planner Featuring the Planner Pad.
How to Order Your Planner Pad
Planning how you’ll use your resources (your time, your attention and your energy) is an ADHD-best practice. But it’s also something we all learned wrong. We don’t learn the ADHD-friendly way of planning — traditional “time management” doesn’t work for adults with ADHD. If the idea of becoming proactive in your life excites you, even better news! I’ll be running my “Planning Your Year” workshop that’s free for ADDA members. If you’re new to planning and you’d like some help, check the dates for when the next Planning Your Year 4-week workshop series is running.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your feedback on the Planner Pad.
Share your comments below.
Mastered the planning pad? Come join us in the ADDA Monthly Planning Group where we take planning to the next level..or at least the next month.
With over 25 years organizing people, events and places, Nathalie Pedicelli been a featured speaker at leading international conferences. She’s train other Professional Organizers at NAPO, Coaches at the International ADHD Conference and Health Care Practitioners at CADDRA, on how organization helps people with ADHD live a less chaotic, less stressful and more productive life.