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Beautiful Landscape

How to plan with ADHD!

You might be hoping for a magic answer to becoming the world's best planner after reading this post, but I'm letting you know now that this post will not wave a magic wand! It will though get straight to the heart of the matter!

The truth of the matter is that sometimes the ADHD brain can catch a wave of energy and enthusiasm, and sometimes the ADHD brain might find there's no wind behind its sails and its stuck in the doldrums.... But the key to all of this is accepting and working with that fluctuating energy rather than blaming oneself for it.

The ADHD brain can take days, weeks or months off without giving notice; and it takes a new leap of faith to say, “Ok brain! I understand you need some time off! In the meantime, I’ll do something else to ground my nervous system and I'll see you when you're ready!”


When scheduling a plan, you might want to take into account two timeframes:

  • One: the time it will take you to do the tasks needed

  • Two: the time you won’t be able to work on the plan

The second time frame is the most important when planning with ADHD: those “no-no” days, when your brain is simply not interested, when you are experiencing a dopamine crush; and, probably above all, when stuff happens!

The mantra you might like to repeat till it sinks in is: “As much as I can, whenever I can” :-)

There's something here about making peace with the fact that an ADHD plan is going to take ‘task time’ plus ‘brain time’, and if you can focus on doing what you can when you can, being kind to yourself, so that even during the “no-no” days you’ll feel: “It’s ok; it is part of the plan; this isn’t time lost, but time I need. I am doing it!”

What about project/plan deadlines imposed by work/studies?

There are loads of ADHD hacks on the internet for getting projects/work done, but I really think the biggest piece of the jigsaw is psycho-education - understanding how the ADHD brain works and why it works that way.

For instance, procrastination is the necessary curse that finally gets the brain into gear to do the task that needs to be done - it creates a sense of urgency that makes motivation appear at last! The purpose of psycho-education is that it (hopefully) can lead to you coming to a realisation that you don't need to ever again call yourself 'lazy' or beat yourself up for not doing the task as you go along. The truth is, the ADHD brain often needs last minute pressure to 'start the car'.

These two videos are great at explaining ADHD and motivation. I often send these two videos to clients:


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