Executive Functioning Tip #2: Plan to Carry a Planner; Paper vs. Technology

(Tip #2 of the series 15 Tips to Support Your Brain for Good Time Management)

Let’s talk about the executive functioning challenges of using computers and smart phones as effective time management tools instead of a day planner for time management. The brain with executive functioning challenges needs to be able to see time – all the time. That means that calendar views of the week and month need to be quickly accessible. The schedule for the day needs to ALWAYS be in sight.

The problem with the electronic calendars is that they are often unopened on our computers because we use them for other functions. You can’t keep to a schedule or do your to-do list if you aren’t looking at it. This means that you have to remember to open your calendar. Since working memory is often a problem for the time-challenged or ADHD mind, the programs don’t get opened enough. You forget to use them.

Some try and compensate by having their schedule available on their tablet or their smart phone.  However, the problem of “out of sight, out of mind,” persists with those gadgets, as well. If you can dedicate your tablet to just time management, it may work for you to have your schedule and to-do list open on your tablet while you work.  You just need to ensure that you can readily see your tablet throughout the day so that you stay on track.

If you must use a program, like Outlook, for work, or to sync complicated family calendars, one solution is to have a screen dedicated just to your time management program. It sits open in view while you work in applications on another screen. If you don’t work with multiple computer screens, you can print off your schedule and keep it on a clipboard within sight.

I find the old-fashioned binder planner the best solution. It is always at my fingertips. It’s a snap to open to the month calendar to check future dates; no multiple clicks to get to the right view.

I don’t use one of those complex systems sold in stores. They have too many pages and forms that are unnecessary. The trick is to keep it simple. I organize mine to hold the essential papers and data for all of my roles. I clip my day plan, week plan, and list of goals for the week to the outside where I can see it at a glance

My time management flows easily. I couldn’t do it without my day planner. Make one for yourself to support your executive functioning in your  time-challenged brain. Keep it with you at all times. Your day planner will be your best friend!

Discover two free resources explaining the role of the executive functions in our struggles and successes, in school, the workplace and beyond at https://www.BlametheBrain.com



About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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1 comment
Kristen Previte says May 13, 2015

I have been looking at your site since I heard about the EFD in 90% of ADD children and adults. I am doing everything I can to use your tools that you have put out here for us. Funny, we just moved from Beaverton, OR to Arizona! I wanted to see if you had heard about the “Passion Planner” (www.passionplanner.com). I promise, I’m not here to sell it, but after looking at your “drawing” of the visual week, I realized that this planner might be in the same arena that you are talking about for a written + visual planner. You might want to check it out. I’m going to try it with my 10 year old daughter and myself (as you guessed, we both have the same issues… )
Thank you again, for all the information and books, I’m reading them and trying to utilize them over the summer so 5th grade isn’t nearly as difficult!

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