5 You Might Like: Journals and Planners

 ADHD Weekly 2017-05-11

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Memory, planning, and self-reflection are all executive functions directly impaired by ADHD. For many adults, one of the best ways to address these difficulties is by externalizing those functionsand placing them into a notebook, journal or day planner.

You might already carry a notebook or day planner, or you’ve found an app for your smart phone to help you keep track of your appointments, birthdays and holidays, your to-do lists and your brilliant ideas. If your current system works for you, great! If you are interested in starting a new system, or restarting with new tools, keep reading.

Five you might like

There is a notebook system for every person. The key is to find the best one for you, rather than force yourself to use someone else’s system. What you want is a notebook or planner system that’s easy to use, portable and holds your interest.

We looked at the most popular and found five types—both paper and electronic—you might like:

Bullet Journal: These are very popular right now. It relies on the idea of “rapid logging.” To do this, you jot down your to-do items and one-sentence notes and then mark them with a simple code for tasks (completed, mitigated or scheduled), events, and notes. Once you’ve entered your information, you can go back and mark which items are priorities, inspirations or ideas, or in need of being researched. Events scheduled for the future are represented in a calendar. All this information is then indexed so you can find it quickly. You can customize and decorate your journal however you like; people frequently color-code or use fun stickers. You can get started with your favorite type of spiral or bound notebook and a few colorful pens. 

Learn more at Bullet Journal.

Spiral notebook: The most basic of approaches, the spiral notebook is the place to hold your notes, your thoughts, and all your important numbers, or passwords. The premise is simple: Find a spiral notebook that’s easy to carry (such as a 9.5 by 6.5 notebook, or you might like a larger letter-sized notebook or a smaller one that can fit in your pocket) and use it to jot down your notes throughout the day. You can carry it into meetings with colleagues to help you remember the details of a project and you can use it to record your master to-do list, crossing off items as they are accomplished. Be sure to mark the date at the top of every page to help you remember when conversations have taken place, or to help you keep track of how long an item has been waiting on the to-do list.

If you pick a spiral notebook with built in dividers, you can easily section off part of the notebook to record important dates, addresses, or passwords. (It is important to take care of the notebook with passwords; if you tend to misplace items, you might not want to record passwords here). Often these dividers will have pockets, so you can slide pieces of paper with important information into them to keep handy.

Day planners: Pick your favorite! You don’t need to use a standard planner but instead look for ones that fit your schedule. If your work week begins on Wednesday, look for a planner you can customize with your week starting on Wednesday and your “weekend” days of Monday and Tuesday at the end of the planner’s week. Pick out a planner that suits your stylea formal black and leather style or a pink and fun notebook covered in cartoon characters. 

An easily customizable option is to print your own planner pages (you can find free planner pages at Scattered Squirrel, Vertex42, and Printable Planners], in addition to other sources. Add a few calendar pages that you’ve either printed or purchased, along with a folder and notebook page, to a colorful binder that lays flat when open. Keep this desktop planner in an easily accessed place – your kitchen, the side of your desk or near the telephone.

You can learn more tips for using a day planner at Time Management and Using a Day Planner.

Learn how to build your own Control Journal at FLYing Lessons: Get Started.

Day JournalAre you a detailed writer or would you rather record the bullet points of your day? This app lets you do both, along with being able to tag entries that can be easily found for later use.

Do you have a favorite day planner, journal or app that you use? Share your experience with our community.

Need help getting and staying organized? We took a look at five popular systems of journals and day planners used by adults with ADHD. There are a variety of options to choose from but we found five styles that could help you organize your thoughts and take control of your to-do list. Keep reading for suggestions.