Need Help Planning/Anticipating Better for Generic Upcoming Events :)

Hello Everyone,

I am trying to figure out which steps I'm missing so that I can better "remember" (using my smartphone and any other reminders I feel necessary) and establish better procedures so my husband doesn't feel the burden of being my external hard drive/frontal lobe/cruise director.  I am usually pretty good about remembering things that fall into my routine, such as taking out the trash.  Even though it's only once a week, it's part of my Sunday night routine, so all of the tasks are "connected" in my mind.  Also, my husband and I plan out the basic plan for the week on Sunday nights, which I put into my phone as well, so I do have awareness (even if I forget at times) of what is going on.  Usually, I get things done when the event itself is determined, but whether it's a time-disaster due to poor planning is uncertain.  What I have a REALLY hard time with is the following:

1) It takes me significantly longer than other people  to plan out TIME, what needs to happen, and how to be prepared ahead of time for certain things, and planning out the minute-to-minute actions I need to take, and possibly have my children take for something to be accomplished.    I might help plan the week, but I have not been planning out the details that need to happen.  My husband has been taking care of this much of the time, primarily because he is afraid that I can't/won't.  Now he's abruptly stopped planning for me.  Lest I be under siege following that last comment; I should say I don't have a problem with this at all.  I want/NEED to learn how to do this better and frankly I'm tired of having to listen to him complain about my planning skills WHEN HE HAS ASKED ME TO DEFER TO HIM IN ALL MATTERS OF TIME.  I'm determined to get better at this, but I really need help.

I have determined (either recently or in the past) that the following things are necessary:

1.  Checklist for repeated events, such as athletic equipment for my kids.  

2.  Need to enter event into phone the day before as a "repeated event" if I need to have something cleaned prior to an event

3.  Need to make sure I know who's going to be where at a certain time with which kid.

4.  when I have to leave, how long it will take, take into account transition time (from soccer field to car, for example), length of drive

5.  Do I need to cook something different because it will take too long given when we have to be somewhere?

6.  Where will I be in the cooking cycle?  Will I need to cook something that day or will I have leftovers?

I wanted to know both from NON-ADHDers and ADHDers alike whether I am missing any questions I need to ask myself.  I gave soccer as an example, but it could be anything.  AM I ASKING ALL OF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?  I really suck at this...

I do NOT know how my husband does this.  It takes him almost no time, he almost always thinks of everything, and automatically asks himself the right questions, and even refines the plan as he goes.  He's got such a strong sense of time, even without a watch, he just knows, usually within a few minutes or less what time it is!  I would give anything for that ability!

Any advice on planning is much appreciated :)! 


First, congratulations for

First, congratulations for taking on this challenge.  Yes, it will be hard for awhile, but I think that once you make planning a habit (I've read it takes three to four weeks of doing things daily to make them habits), you'll be doing so much better.

I have a few suggestions.  1) When figuring out how much time to allot, always assign at least 10 minutes more than you think you'll need, especially if driving or getting things together (sporting goods, purse, keys, whatever) is required.  2) Wear a watch.  3) It's OK to let certain things slide.  For example, the meals:  can you just try to always have something quick and easy, for evenings when there are activities you need to work mealtime around?  


Good luck!



Thanks, Rosered.   I appreciate the encouragement.   I usually just get eyerolls from my husband when I embark on a new endeavor when it concerns my ADHD symptoms.  I've stopped telling him about my plans, but then he'll notice something and will ask me a question.  He gets annoyed when I tell him I don't want to explain it, but I tell him it's because he rolls his eyes and makes negative comments.  I get annoyed because I don't see the point of conversing until he learns some respect! 

Sorry,  in a bad mood now.  Sh1t, I haven't taken my meds.... That might be the reason.  Uh-oh.  It is... 

Thank you for your help!

It really is another world...

....isn't it????

I was in a downward spiral a few years ago with meal planning/shopping etc.  Especially with a baby&toddler on my hands at the same time.  I sat down and made a one-week meal plan chart:  the right hand column would have the meals i'd planned for each day, for example lunch: turkey sandwiches, dinner:  curry chicken (breakfast was easy - cereal, toast... whatever) then the next column I would list ingredients for each (sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, mayo mustard.... chicken, tomatoes, coconut milk, curry powder, onion...etc) then the third column was the shopping list organized by aisle in the grocery store:  Produce, meat, poultry, fish, etc...  It was a big pain in the ass every sunday to fill out this chart and figure out what would work time-wise, but it totally paid off and now I don't need the chart anymore unless I'm being adventurous and planning new recipes.  I was SO proud of myself and thought I was such a genius til I noticed at the FRONT of the grocery store were pre printed shopping-list pads with the different departments/aisles listed.  And they were FREE!!   awesome.

Yes, we ADDers tend to take a long time to do something and will put stuff off when we feel it is a huge task that we hate, but SOMETIMES I am pleasantly surprised that something doesn't take as long as I thought it would.  example:  Cleaning up the kitchen after dinner takes way less time (30ish minutes - an hour) than say ironing:  at least one hour +

you're using your phone alarms, that's great!  I started that last year.  I was resistant because i'm so bad with technology, but YYZ convinced me it was the way to go (Thanks!!)

I always allow double the amount of time that I estimate something will take because... well... especially the first time through I don't really have the right 'steps' in place or at least not in the right order!

It's mostly trial and error and a lot of setting alarms to remind yourself to prepare for something TOMORROW.  Like, pack your bag for whatever you have to do for the next day etc.

I still have bad days when i'm just totally spaced out and nothing seems to work, but keep up with the routines and the alarms.  And... I just recently posted about exercising first thing in the morning.  it's really been helping me with the rest of the day...

good luck!


Multiple Alarms

Many Apps like Google Calendar allow for 2 or more alarms. For me, alarm 1 goes off the day before something important on the schedule, alarm 2 goes off with plenty of time to get to the event, like 3 hours before my DD's doctors appointment. Enough time to wrap up things at work, drive to get the DD and 15 minutes more than it should take to get to the appointment.

On big projects, like something you have never or rarely done, us Scotty's Law (Star Trek ;) plan for and tell your Non-ADDer 3X (or more) the amount of time you Think the job will take.

Ellamenno... I'm glad the Smart Phone is working out for you :D

not-so-smart phone...

Well, I am not grown up enough for a real smart phone... I have an NV Touch (or whatever it's called) which was voted the 'best non-smartphone'.  Not too complicated, and therefore I can figure out how to do the calendar thing & alarm.  wheeee!

Vote - Not so much?

If you setup tasks or calendar events in Google Calendar, you can set bunches of reminders, including Text Message Reminders. These are super handy if your Not-So-Smart-Phone calendar is a pain to setup.

I was Trying to paste a screen shot, but No Luck...

Sound Advice!



Ahhhh... the grocery store.   I hate when I spend time on some gigantic time-sucking task, only to realize that a simpler way was staring at my inattentive face all along.  Of course, like you, I am feeling smug directly before this point;).  I laughed at that one, because I have been there! 

Also, it's not easy going to the store with two young kids when you're epically distractible.  I can't carry a conversation and concentrate when I am looking for new ingredients, or even searching my brain for something I didn't enter in the phone.  I will be on the lookout for a grocery store layout...Good idea.

I also like the idea of doubling the time for a new task.  Getting the right sequencing is important and leaving extra time would help with that.  Definitely an issue, ESPECIALLY with a new task.

And, hell, yeah.  It is absolutely another world.  My life (and my marriage) would be sooooo much easier without this albatross around my neck.  I guess it's given me the tenacity I possess now, though, and a lot more empathy for people in general because I know what it's like to struggle.  It's humbling to be intelligent and yet have a 5 year old whose working memory already exceeds my own ;).  Sometimes, I ask her, "What did Daddy just say?"  Ugh...

I can top that:

My 2.5 year old stops at the front door now and says, "Gotta keys Mommy?"

....because I've locked myself out 3 times.  two of those times were in April.

Ha-ha; I can relate ;)!

On my son’s first day of 1st grade back in September, I walked down to the bus stop, my keys in hand.  All went well until we returned home to find that the key that resembles my house key, was, in fact, NOT!  I have a garage, so I almost always enter the house with the garage door opener.  To this day, I have no idea why I didn’t have a house key on my key chain.  That had NEVER happened before. 

So, here I am at home with my son, knowing my husband wouldn’t be home for a while and imagining the disapproving looks and endless lecture that would be coming my way.  I took my keys and used them as a flat head screwdriver to remove the rubber holding the screen in place.  I had fixed the screens in my bedroom growing up many times and knew I wasn’t going to ruin it.  I did this to 4 windows until I found one that had an unlocked window behind it.  Naturally, it was my home office window, because I had forgotten to lock it.  Oopsie!  This point was not lost on my husband who asked which window had been left unlocked. 

About a month or so later was parent’s night in my son’s first grade class.  I looked around at the array of student work and noticed a large question card which read, “What was the best part of the first day of first grade?”

Other kids had written normal things, like “riding the bus,” “eating in the cafeteria,” etc… Naturally, my son wrote about entering the house through the window.  It had an illustration, too!  Apparently, that qualifies as a thrilling moment for my then 6 year old boy! 

You are not alone, sister :D!