Planning Out Your Monthly Schedule | ADHD Power Tools
(7 mins 30 sec) In this episode of ADHD Power Tools, Ali and Brooke discuss tips for filling out your schedule for the month.
Brooke Schnittman, MA, ACC, BCC is a certified coach who works with children, students, teens, adults, and parents with or without ADHD. She has been nominated for multiple awards including “Best In Show Community” and ”Advocating For Another.” She is the creator of What’s Next and ADHDEdCamp.
Ali Idriss is a Different Brains trainee and ADHD self-advocate. He is a 4th year student at FAU, and is aspiring to become a physician. He also aspires to share his journey, and help others with the tools that have allowed him overcome many of the battles along the way.
For more on Brooke and her work, visit: https://www.coachingwithbrooke.com/
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ALI IDRISS (AI): What is one tool you use to plan out your future months schedule?
BROOKE SCHNITTMAN (BS): One tool?!
AI: Yes, yes.
BS: Really? That’s a loaded question! [Laughs.]
AI: Yup, yup. One tool. [Laughs.]
BS: My tool is my handy dandy planner. I know all of you ADHDer out there have something like this. So, I like to reflect before I move forward, and one thing I used to get into, which was a bad habit, was just keep going, going, going, going, going, going, going, and not catching myself. So now it’s an effort. But I do this, and I recommend this to my clients to think about what happened last month, what you accomplished last month, and then what’s coming up the next month. What is still on your list of things that you still need to do for the next month? What have you…? What was missing from the month before, what do you need to overcome, and what do you need to put into your planner for the next month? So, I reflect first. Then I look at my month, right. So, now this is July, its blank, because it’s not July yet. And I’m going to input my dates in there. Anything that’s important. And all of my upcoming and planned dates are all on my phone. I look at my phone, I put in my important dates there, and then from there I then put in any tasks that I can think of for the month. What is the first priority task, what is something that I want to complete by the end of the month, what are my goals, how am I working towards them, what are the actions I need to take? I told you this was a loaded question. It’s not that simple! [Laughs.]
AI: Take your time! [Laughs]
BS: And then I break everything up, week by week, and put it on my planner by times. So of course, my appointments come first because that’s the easiest thing to put in. Then I put in my clients, those are my appointments too, doctors’ appointments, anything like that. And then filler tasks between my clients and my appointments. So, yea, and I fill that out like Sunday night or Monday morning for the week, and I do it again for the next week. And I reflect for the week, the same way that I reflect for the month. Okay, what was missing from this week? What do I need to accomplish for next week? What can I do better? How am I working towards my goals, my actions? Take my appointments out of my phone calendar, put them into the second week, and then fill in the tasks in between. Like the 3-5 tasks per day.
AI: Update it all the time.
BS: Update it, update it, update it. Just because you’re writing it into your planner doesn’t mean that they’re going to come to action. There is that little bit of muscle memory which is awesome. So, some people are like, “Oh, I didn’t even look at my planner, and I got all of this done.” That’s awesome but everyday it’s really important to look at your planner, three times a day, morning, noon, and night, minimum, to make sure that you are on target with your calendar.
AI: 100% 100%. That’s awesome!
BS: How about you?
AI: Well for me, see, I’m a college student. So, I have my semester, whether it’s spring summer or fall. And I need to keep up with my exams, my homework due dates, my professor’s office hours, because it’s always good to, you know, always build a good relationship with your professor. And even the supplemental instruction and tutoring hours. So, I always have to plan my whole semester ahead of time. So, this is mainly college I’m talking about gives out a syllabus. A syllabus is basically whole semester calendar with tests, homeworks, projects, office hours, when he’s available. So, what I used to do was a white board. It was a one-month whiteboard, and I’d erase it and update it every time, but what I’ve come to realize is I needed more months in the future, and the whiteboard didn’t have that. It was just one month. So, I got the large physical desktop, really large one, where you can write on it, and it flips. And I hang it up in my room, and I use that. And I plan my whole semester ahead of time. I write all the due dates, all the office hours, every month. And I update every week just in case something has changed, or a test is postponed. And I use the professor’s syllabus right when the professor posts it, even before the class. I also use a calendar on my phone, a digital calendar, to make sure I’m on top of it. Say if I’m not in my room and I can’t look at my calendar, you know, I’m at school. And I use my iPhone screen, I use the wallpaper. So what I do is I go to the notes app, and I write down what I have to do that week or that month, or what tests I have that month, and I screenshot it, and I set it as my wallpaper. So, every time I look at my phone, I’m reminded of what’s going on.
BS: Your schedule is never going away! [Laughs.]
AI: Exactly! [Laughs.]
BS: You’ve wallpapered your life with your schedule!
AI: Exactly, exactly. Even with my flashcards, you know. And with ADHD I’ve realized one source is not enough, I need a secondary, a third, and a fourth source, you know, sometimes. So, you know, that’s how I make sure I’m on top of planning out my month.
BS: That’s a great strategy. A lot of people ask, “Oh, is paper or digital better?” And my answer is, it’s up to you. You could do both why not. I mean whatever, whatever works for you. And Ali, with your index cards, I know from a previous client, he used a post-it. On those desk calendars on his wall. And each day he had his tests on the post-it, and then he would take it off. So, I’m wondering maybe if you could combine the two, right. You could take your index card, and instead of an index card, you could make it a post-it, and put it all throughout your calendar, and each day take it off when you’re done, and put it, and pin it. I don’t know, just a thought.
AI: It’s funny because I do have a little stack of post-it’s in my car. I haven’t used them in a while, but what I would do is when something, at a red light, you know, something pops up in my head, I take the post-it, write it down, and I stick like, on my window, you know, right where you control the volume, the dashboard.
BS: On your head! [Laughs.]
AI: On my head! On the tire! You know what I’m saying. But yeah, you know, secondary source, third source, fourth source, that’s how I see it, you know. Always got to just, you got to see it nonstop, because, you know, brains going all over the place. You got multiple tabs open at once, it’s crazy. So, that’s how it is.