Formal Planning Times for ADHD Stress Relief

Mimi Handlin, MSW - ADHD Coach for Women
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As an ADHD coach, one thing I strongly suggest to reduce stress is that my clients carve out a time for planning every single day. It’s almost like a sacred time, an appointment you keep with yourself. It can reduce that worry of, “Oh no, what was I supposed to do today?” And it takes away the possibility of forgetting something that will cause all sorts of angst if it doesn’t get done – like filling out your child’s field trip permission form or remembering to renew your prescription.

I know planning isn’t easy because not only does it mean remembering to plan, it also means figuring out what needs to get done when. But for now, if it sounds right, you could experiment with the first step of trying out a formal planning time.

Some people try different times of the day until they find what works best. Is there something you do anyway that you could link to a planning time? Morning coffee or when you first get to work or after you drop off your kids at school? If you can’t remember to plan, you could create triggers. Some of my clients set their cell phones as a reminder or send themselves emails. Some put notes where they are likely to see them in the morning.

If you really abhor the idea, you could bring something positive to it. I know someone who lights up a lavendar scented candle that she keeps on the kitchen table while she plans. And one of my former clients used to reward herself with a piece of imported chocolate when she finished her list of what she wanted to do each day. (Even first thing in the morning!) Another client used to set his BlackBerry with the word – PLAN – every morning. Some people get out of the house with their calendar and to–do list. Coffee shops and bakeries are great possibilities. What would help you? Whatever system you use, electronic or paper, the concept is the same. You deserve to take some time to feel centered in your life.

(Oops, one more important thing. Be sure to set reminders to look at your planner after you plan!)

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