When we talk about task lists and planning in the ADHD Success Club, members often ask what I consider to be the best planner for ADHD.
My answer always is: “the best planner for ADHD is the one you’ll use.”
There is no one size fits all planner for ADHD. Since adult ADHD is different for everyone, you may need to trial and error your way through a few planners before you find the one that works for the way your ADHD brain works. But don’t give up. A planner can change your relationship with ADHD for the better. Promise.
The first thing to consider when you’re looking for an ADHD planner is the format. What format is easiest for you to use? A paper planner? On your laptop? Phone?
I’ve found that many ADHD adults do better with paper planners (as long as they don’t lose them.) Having a planner out where you can look at it is easier than scrolling through your phone apps where you may get distracted. It’s easier to see the big picture on a paper planner. Also, something about writing things out makes it easier to remember details.
CAVEAT – For any planner to work for ADHD you have to USE it. You have to build the habit of looking at it every day. Refer to it before you agree to do something. Again, it will change your life for the better. Pinky promise.
Below are the planners that I do recommend for people with ADHD. These are the ones clients find helpful and also what I use.
1. The Planner Pad – My Favorite ADHD Paper Planner
This is the paper planner I tell ADHD clients to buy. Here’s why I recommend the Planner Pad: It is like a funnel – you start with categories of tasks at the top of the page and those categories flow down to a weekly plan and appointments and what you intend to do each day.
Breaking tasks into categories reduces the overwhelm that comes with a massive list of everything you need to do. Prioritizing gets easier. I also like that it has a weekly view. Day-at-a-glance calendars increase the chance that we will forget to look ahead.
The Planner Pad is a simple system that works. They do have a desktop version, but my clients who have tried that like the paper version better.
For example, Drew, a private client who just started using the Planner Pad, reports that he’s getting more things done and he has a clearer idea of his schedule. He also appreciates breaking tasks down into categories.
2. SmartSheet – My Favorite Computer-based ADHD Planner
Smartsheet is the planner that holds my ADHD life and business together. I like how it can switch between a spreadsheet and calendar view. Tasks are easy to record and change. If I don’t get done what I intended to on one day (imagine that), it’s easy to move the task to another day.
Another thing I like about the Smartsheet calendar list is how I can see two weeks’ worth of tasks. This helps me be more realistic about my workload.
In a pinch, Smartsheet works on my phone and iPad. Though I use it mainly on my laptop from my desk.
Smartsheet is my business’s multi-tool. It has many uses, yet being my planner is the main thing. Please be aware that Smartsheet is a paid subscription (there is a free version but it’s limiting). For now, I can justify it as a business expense. However, when I retire…yep it’s on the horizon so don’t put off signing up for this year’s Success Club…I’ll switch to using the Planner Pad to keep my ADHD life on track.
3. Todoist – A Highly Regarded Digital ADHD Planner
Confession – I’ve not used Todoist. Planning on my phone just doesn’t work for me. I need to see a full spread of what I’m up to for the day and week. That said, I’ve had many clients say that Todoist works for them. Another digital planner is Remember the Milk.
I invite you to try out these ADHD planning tools and let me know which one works best for you. Make sure you consider what you use on a regular basis – your desk calendar, computer, smartphone – to determine which would be the best format and then commit to using the calendar for 60 days so it becomes a habit.
And join me in the ADHD Success Club this month – we will be talking specifically about calibrating your calendar and working on your big picture goals and daily priorities. All to help you better manage your time! Click here to sign up (you can even cancel after this ‘Get Stuff Done’ unit) and use the code ASC10 to save $10/month!
Any questions, please let me know!