While there are a lot of digital tools like Routine out there that can help those with ADHD get better organized and productive, there is still value in having a paper-based planner right in front of you to keep you on track.
In this post, we will explore one such planner and the thought process behind its distinct design.
This planner template is of A4 dimension, so feel free to save it and print it out as you please. You can also share the template with anyone who might find value.
Section 1: The Basics
On the top-right of the template, we start with four items.
- Date: Add the date at the beginning of the day.
- Start time: Add the time you wake up or start your day at the beginning of the day.
- Affirmation: Add how you feel today as you start your day. For example, you could write "I feel productive today." or "I feel energized today." This is to help you start your day positively.
- Score: This field needs to be scored at the end of the day on a scale of 1-10 in terms of overall satisfaction with your productivity.
Section 2: The Inbox
On the top left, you have the inbox where you note down ideas or thoughts that recur in your mind throughout the day that you would want to reconsider at some point.
Think of this section as a brain dump for all unformed thoughts you need to park so you can move on with your day.
Section 3: The Winning Trio
The section below lists three tasks that would make you feel like you had a productive day when they are completed. These tasks must be essential and have real consequences for finishing or skipping.
This section aims to clarify your priorities for the day, so that shiny objects do not tempt you throughout the day.
So list the top three tasks you need to complete in the order of importance at the beginning of the day and move from one task to the next after completion.
We are essentially following a version of the popular productivity method called the Ivy Lee Method.
When you are done with a task in this section, cross that box out.
Section 4: Purpose & Distractions
The following section is used first to identify threats to your productivity and attention and then give yourself reasons why you should not let them ruin your day.
Most of us with ADHD understand that defining purpose and stakes for activities is critical to our productivity.
On your right, you've got your triggers where you can state feelings or situations that drive you towards distraction or procrastination. By writing this down, you can catch yourself falling into that cycle and try to break out of it.
On your left, you've got your purpose and stakes, where you clarify why you need to stay on track and what you'll gain by not giving in to distractions.
This section needs to be completed at the beginning of the day.
Section 5: Good to Get Done
The next is for tasks that you have on your plate or mind that are not critical but have benefits to getting done. They are categorized into two types; soon & later.
The "Soon" category essentially refers to tasks that should be done within the next 1-2 days for maximum benefit. The "Later" category is for tasks that do not have an immediate deadline.
This section can be filled throughout the day or even at the beginning.
If you find the time after finishing the three critical tasks, you can get started with the "Soon" category.
Section 6: Improvement Ideas
This section has to be filled at the end of the day with possible ideas on how you could have improved your productivity and output today.
Do not nitpick small pitfalls but focus on underlying causes and patterns that cause distractions and unproductive behavior.
Section 7: Time Blocking
This section is to help you visualize your day and block time for essential tasks. The goal is to split your day into parts that focus on a single task at a time for effectiveness.
We start the day at 4 AM and end at midnight, which is a reasonable window within which most people operate.
This section must be filled right at the beginning of the day as soon as you finish section 3.
Section 8: Proud Line
This section is to help you identify your win for the day, where you pick one thing you did during the day that you are most proud of.
We are strictly talking about productivity and time management, so personal or social wins will not count.
This is for you to reaffirm your achievement for the day and push you towards achieving similar or better wins in the future.
And that is it! A paper-based template designed to help those with ADHD to become more productive and get more out of their day.
I hope this helped. We would love to see if you were able to improve using this, so do share feedback with us on our Twitter page at @Routine.
Thanks for reading.