Using a calendar for ADHD adults might seem impossible. Adults with ADHD act faster than they think. They tend to be impatient and get distracted easily. They forget commitments and move on to the next subject or task without reviewing.
In planning for the future, even the near-term future—next month, next week, tomorrow—this can lead to disaster.
Adults with ADHD typically find managing schedules or calendars difficult. They can forget to schedule some very important items. They can also tend to overbook and overlap other events. With so much time in a day, this will shortly leading to exhaustion from overbooking or simple frustration from continually missing important things.
What’s the answer then? What does management of a calendar for ADHD adults look like? How do you manage your calendar without overbooking or missing important events? Aside from learning and recognizing your ADHD weaknesses in general, you need to get control on your calendar.
This article will cover 4 calendar saving tips to help you from overbooking your life. At the core, we want to find simple memorable tips that will make planning a calendar for ADHD adults easier.
Don’t Book Too Far in Advance
Adults with ADHD tend to be overwhelmed easily. The thought of trying to plan the next week or month can feel stifling. One way not to overbook is to not book at all. At least, to not book further than one or two days out. Some things you will have to plan and add to your calendar well in advance, but not everything. In fact, not most things, which makes managing a calendar for ADHD adults a lot easier.
Some consultants recommend not even making a weekly schedule. Rather they talk about maintaining weekly routines. This works by following the same general outline from week to week. For instance, you plan to do your grocery shopping for the week on Saturday. On Sunday, you go to the gym. Monday night perhaps, you have tennis lessons.
You don’t put these weekly activities on your weekly calendar. Rather, you make space for them as you plan your day, the day of, and as you repeat the activities week after week, they become routine.
You don’t have to schedule routine tasks. You’ll just do them out of habit. They’ll be second nature before long, and you won’t even need to think about them. Routines build structure in your life and take away any troubles with balancing life.
Practice Not Saying Yes
The impulsivity in adults with ADHD drives them to want to answer right away. Additionally, most people probably want to say yes to every request from a friend or family member. Unfortunately, this makes creating a calendar for ADHD adults even more challenging.
Adults with ADHD don’t give themselves the time to think it through before agreeing to something. The reality of life, though, is that all of our time and energy is limited. You can’t do or commit to everything. You need to practice not saying yes.
Part of the difficulty in this is that to many adults with ADHD not saying yes is an equivalent to saying no. It doesn’t have to be, though. Instead of saying yes right away to invitations, say, “That is something I would like to do, but I need to check my calendar first.” Then you can make a note to do it later and respond or check your calendar right away.
After you confirm you have the availability, you can then say yes or honestly say no for your own sanity. Being honest and upfront doesn’t hurt people’s feelings.
Learn how to give a good no and decline politely. Find ways to curtail your need for impulsivity and spontaneity. With practicing not saying yes you can save yourself from being overbooked and overwhelmed.
Learn to Prioritize and When to Say Yes
The other side of the coin to practice not saying yes is learning when to definitely say yes. Some events you simply can’t or shouldn’t miss or overlook. Knowing which events to say yes to will make a calendar for ADHD adults easier to organize.
Events like your sister’s baby shower or friend’s marriage warrant top billing on your calendar. You owe it to your friends and family and yourself to learn to make sure these things remain priority.
“Yes” for some events should be near instantaneous because of their importance. How do you prioritize, though, so everything doesn’t become a must-do?
First, you need to learn to distinguish important events from not as important ones. You cannot assign the same value to every events. Some things are just more important. Learn to know which ones matter to you and your immediate circle, and put those on your calendar first.
Second, identify your life goals and schedule your plans to maximize your goals. Learn to identify what you really want or need to do and then follow through on those plans.
Know that Changing your Plans is Ok
This is all well and good, but what if you have already overbooked yourself? What do you do then? What you shouldn’t do is nothing. Adults with ADHD struggle with saying no, but they also may struggle with letting someone down. Know that changing your plans doesn’t have to necessary involve letting someone down.
Changes happen; everyone understands this. When your plans change or you inevitably learn that you overbooked, the answer is clear immediate communication. To keep yourself from being overbooked, you need to know that changing your plans is ok.
Lean to be diplomatic about it, though. Apologize to whomever you committed to and tell them you can’t make it. 9 times out of 10, they will understand and more often than not you will be able to reschedule. The communication is key, though. You should never just not show up. Be respectful of the other person’s time and let them know well in advance.
Manage the Calendar for ADHD Adults Well
We've provided just a few tips of many that are available to help you organize your time better. Adults with ADHD typically manage their time poorly. This can make a calendar for ADHD adults feel overwhelming.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to schedule your time better. Use the tips discussed here to keep your calendar from being overbooked.