There is No One Right Way to Plan

planning productivity Mar 29, 2023

Actually planning for second quarter.

Short version, I use a paper calendar and Post-it notes to plan a quarter.

I take a short retreat to my dining room table so that I have clear space to think.

And yes a block a day on my calendar.

I was also planning for the next two weeks.

Many of you my think “how can anyone plan two weeks in advance? I can’t even plan for today.”

Here's how.

Ideally, you’ll plan your week either on Friday before you leave the office or Sunday afternoon.

Planning ahead makes for a less stressful Monday morning.

But if you haven't gotten it done by Monday, please take 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your day to figure out your week.

The most important thing you can learn today is there is no one right way to plan.

But life will be much easier for you if you do plan.

Don't listen to the pundits who say it's my way or the highway.
I call BS on that.

We have ADHD (or other brain based challenges) and what works for the masses may not work for our *sses (uh I mean brains).

My clients run the gamut on their favorite planning strategies.

  • Some like to use a paper planner.
  • Others are digital and use project management apps, such as Asana, Basecamp, or Trello.
  • Some are completely calendar driven.
  • I even have a client who still operates perfectly happily from a to do list written on paper. The only tweak we made was to number her first three priorities, so she wouldn't get overwhelmed.

Sometimes it’s not a planning problem.

It’s a prioritization problem.
H*ll, usually it’s a priority problem.

When my clients come to me, they often don’t know what’s most important.

They don’t block time to do things to take care of themselves.

They aren’t able to move forward on their big goals, because they’re too busy fighting day-to-day fires.

Sometimes they don’t even know what their big goals are.

If that’s you, I want you to know that you are not alone, you are not broken, and planning can be a huge challenge for people with ADHD.

That’s OK. This is a judgment free zone.

I struggle with planning too.

I’m mostly calendar and digital driven.

I use a combination of Google Calendar and Todoist, our project management software of choice.

My daily tasks and appointments are in Google calendar.

My longer-term projects (that I do in conjunction with my business manager, CJ) are in Todoist.

CJ has full access to both my calendar and Todoist, so she always knows what is due when and can make sure that I don’t double book.

Project management and its software is an entire article of itself, so I’ll stick to the calendar.


I color code my calendar so that I can see what the balance is in my week.

Sometimes there is no balance and then I need to adjust.

Color helps me to see that very quickly, which is important, because I’m prone to burn out and I have ADHD so calendar and planning is boring. Color makes it more fun.

I need to make sure that I honor time for myself to recharge and be the best possible coach that I can be for my clients.

That’s also why I plan for two weeks at a time.

Because balance is more easily achieved on a weekly or biweekly basis than daily.

Let’s face it some days are going to be all about work, and other days are going to be all about family or other personal obligations.

It’s easier to see and achieve balance over a longer time period, 

(Side note because I can’t stop laughing - I’m using voice to text for my writing, because I broke my finger.

The word achieve keeps showing up as a cheese. Apparently my tech is hungry. Right there with it.)

Prioritizing: The Matrix

The Eisenhower matrix.

This is a well known matrix in which you can prioritize your tasks by urgency and importance.

Problem with the matrix for ADHD brains is often we are only driven by the urgent, so we never get to the important.

Then it’s an endless source of frustration and just makes us feel bad.

And who wants that?

I prefer a matrix which prioritizes your tasks by liking and value.

It gets to the same place just with different words, ones that feel more manageable for the ADHD brain.

We live in judgment of ourselves.

We don’t need a matrix to offer us even more, thank you very much.

Here's that matrix:

You might be saying to yourself “Catherine, that’s all well and good for you, but my brain doesn’t work that way.”

And you would be right.

Your brain is unique and your “right” style of planning is likely different.

One of my favorite expressions is “It’s not what you should do. It’s what you will do.”

So, no shoulding on yourself. 

Try a planning method that you think will work for you for at least a week and see how it goes.

And let me know how it goes!

Ideally, you’ll make your planning choices in conjunction with a coach, who has expertise in a variety of them, understands your differently wired brain, and has the patience and understanding to walk you through it.

I happen to know just the person, me.

I’m happy to have a call with you to see if we are a good fit to move you forward on planning in a judgment free zone.
You can fill out this quick form and schedule here: Productivity Breakthrough Session

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