Choosing the Right Planner for Someone with ADHD

Choosing the right planner for you and your lifestyle is very important, especially if you’re busy, overwhelmed by your to-do list, and/or have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). This is true regardless of what profession you are in and how old you are. By third grade, even elementary school students need some sort of planner or way to keep track of assignments.

ADHD is important to people when it comes to using a planner and therefore managing their time.

Your list may be too overwhelming, you may forget to look at your planner, or there may be other reasons. I am frequently asked to recommend the best schedule for someone with ADHD. The bad news is that there is no best planner. The good news is that I can still help you select the best planner, especially if you have ADHD.


If you’ve determined that you need a better scheduling system (or just need to start one!), I first recommend that you prioritize which features of the scheduler are important to you. The checklist at the end of this article will help you focus on your priorities and give you a template of what should be in your next planner.

To use the checklist, place a check mark next to each feature you would like to have in a planner and indicate an A, B, or C priority next to each feature you check.

• A = planner must have this

• B = it would be nice if the scheduler had this

• C = not so important to me

After selecting which features are important, take the list with you to the store or keep it by your side while you search online. This will help narrow down your search and end up with a planner that really works for you.

• If you currently use multiple schedulers, try consolidating them into one.

• After you buy your planner, commit to using it for at least a month.

• Keep it in a place where you will review it every day.

Select your planner

After you’ve chosen your features, it’s time to go shopping. A couple of sites to look into are and If you’re interested in electronic planners, be sure to check out the free sites (eg, Google Calendar) in addition to all the devices available. If you have a smartphone, integrate it with available online tools if it will help you remember to use it every day. Once you’ve selected your planner, work with it for at least a month before evaluating its effectiveness. If it doesn’t work for you after trying a new planner for at least a month, you might want to consider something different. However, make a commitment to USE IT before you throw it away.

The right planner can make a world of difference in getting more things done and, more importantly, getting things done with the highest priority. Share your comments to let us know how the checklist works for you. Good luck with your planner search!

Planner Features Checklist

• _____ At-a-glance view of the month

• _____ Week view at a glance

• _____ The ability to see each day separately from all the others

• _____ Spiral bound so you don’t lose any pages and have the whole year in one product

• _____ Folder format so you can add and remove pages as needed

• _____ Zippered binder so you don’t lose any pages

• Electronic _____ without the need to print

• Electronic _____ with the ability to print a to-do list

• _____ Electronic with the ability to print an appointment schedule

• _____ Paper to write on when needed

• _____ List of tasks available for each day

• _____ To-do list for the entire month

• _____ To-do list for each week

• _____ Space to plan for multiple roles (ie employee, parent, spouse, business owner)

• _____ Calendar and To Do List integrated into a planner

• _____ Separate Calendar and To Do List

• _____ Small size for easy portability

• _____ Large size for easy writing and room for more items

• _____ Medium size as a compromise between small and large

• _____ Times for meetings and appointments all day

• _____ specific time slots included in the Calendar section

• _____ Pockets for other items like cell phone or wallet

• _____ wall calendar format

• _____ Notebook Size

• _____ Attached strap so it can be carried like a purse or briefcase

• _____ Price is not a problem

• _____ Budget = $______

• _____ Add your own features here: __________________________

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