(Tip #6 of the series 15 Tips to Support Your Brain for Good Time Management)
Just like we need an analog clock to see the future space of time, we need to be able to look ahead to see our days. The simplest tool for that is the calendar that shows us our upcoming appointments and commitments.
Like other external tools that support the time-challenged brain, including those with ADHD, your calendar needs to be close at hand and visible at a glance. If it is out of sight it won’t be very useful.
I had a client that consistently “forgot” to bring her son to his weekly Seeing My Time session. It was the same time every week but she still managed to miss the appointment.
Visiting her home, I discovered one of her problems with time. Her monthly calendar for the whole family was on the back of the kitchen door, which was always open unless you wanted to close it to see the calendar! Her appointments were literally out of sight and thus out of mind. Had she moved the calendar to the other side of the kitchen door, it would have always been in sight and been a useful tool to support her executive functioning deficit.
Some people, students and folks like me, who are scheduled months in advance, benefit from an even larger view than a month calendar provides. For us it useful to get a wall or desk calendar that shows several months at a glance, maybe even the whole year. That view helps with planning ahead so you don’t get surprised when you turn the calendar over to a new month. I recommend the 12-month laminated wall calendar shown on our Cool Tools page.
Families benefit from a family calendar. Ours is on the wall next to the phone. Keeping it up to date with different family members can be a challenge, so make updating it part of your weekly family planning meeting. Crossing days off every night is a good way to show the passing of time and keep you looking at your calendar daily and preparing for the day ahead.
Using a calendar is the first step to planning your week, so be sure you have one where you can SEE it and use it.
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.
Tips for Recovering the Executive Function Skill of Future Thinking
Executive Functioning Tip #2: Plan to Carry a Planner; Paper vs. Technology
Executive Functioning Tip #1: Get a Picture of Your Whole Life for the Whole Week
Executive Functioning Tip #12: Restorative Time