Truly crafting calendar habits can change your life. Calendars and planners are our road map to fulfill our goals and intentions. With a plan and tools you use well, your life will be easier, more productive and more rewarding.
Most especially at the start of the year, however all year long, we search for creative solutions to calendaring. There are two parts to this search. The search for the “perfect” tool” and the search for how to put it to use. This year more of my clients with ADHD are crafting calendaring habits that are changing their lives.
How to get started
Get started by finding the right tools. Know if you are a paper, digital or hybrid planner person. I am learning that my clients do best with all three styles and a hybrid variation of these styles. In this case, my clients have a large month at a glance view, a week at a glance view, on both paper on a wall and in a medium sized paper planner. My clients use their phone, laptop and other devices to lay this out too.
Typically I have conversations about having one planner and this is not the case here! While it does add time and focus to maintain these planners, it is valuable because all the view of all the information helps with processing. It gives context to the data. On a month at a glance you see your information in comparison to other activities. On a week at a glance you know what you must accomplish in the short time span. With a digital version, you create recurring events and routines. While investing in these tools, you are investing in the opportunity to process information and keep all your balls in the air.
Routines to get started
Front loading is the way to start. This term means to add all dates and plans right away, as soon as you receive the information. It also means to front load the level of work required on a project. Front loading takes advantage of your natural energy and interest in both your tools and your projects. Having these dates, projects and information easily accessible creates a foundation.
Keeping on keeping on
There are two elements that keep you on track with your new habits. First, keep adding information and dates as soon as you know about them. This information is in text, email, papers, conversations and meetings. It can be easy to lose track of these. Take time each day to record this in your planner. Second, review your planner each morning and each evening. It is not enough to record and reviewing daily keeps this information top of mind and fresh. When I learn that your new calendaring habits are failing, the root is often these two parts.
A weekly calendar review time keeps you moving forward. Once a week, check in from a big picture and detail view of your planner. This weekly review is familiar to those following GTD. It is time for mind sweep to capture all ideas to keep your brain working on work and not remembering. Capture your mind sweep on paper or digitally, then slot in all the information in your planner. Schedule your weekly calendar review at the start of your week or the end of the week. Planning is what keeps you up to date and on track.
The most important element in your life changing calendaring habits is to not give up. Developing new habits takes time. This is a work in progress each week for you to create a pattern with a combination of dates and projects, as well as work-life integration. Remember if you skip or miss a week, just get right back to your calendar tomorrow or next week. Your tenacity will pay off!
Check out my ADHD Friendly tips here on YouTube.