Time & Productivity

Sometimes, an Old-Fashioned Planner Is Best

Digital apps don’t work for everyone. Here, three ADDitude readers test out a popular day planner to see if it helps them get organized and eliminate stress.

Planner with pen on desk belonging to ADHD person
Planner with pen on desk belonging to ADHD person

The Planner Pad

  • various sizes, bindings, and dating options
  • $21.95-25.95

Each week, it’s the same story: We devote ourselves to working on a project – and miss an important meeting, or triumphantly make all of our appointments – and find we’ve made no headway on planning that holiday party by week’s end.

Enter the Planner Pad, the week-at-a-glance planner that promises to help us stay on top of our schedules and prioritize our to-dos. We asked three ADDitude readers with very busy lives to test it out.

Reviewer: David, computer programmer, Anderson, South Carolina

  • My biggest time-management challenge is prioritizing. If I enter all the things I need to do on to one list, my brain freezes, and I can’t decide what to do first.

[Free Resource: Keep Track of Your Time]

  • How the Planner Pad helped: Seeing at a glance what I have to do and what I’ve done was helpful, since I feel incompetent at planning and executing tasks. The Planner Pad gives me a weekly focus, instead of a myopic daily focus. Also, I hate copying undone items from one day’s to-do list to the next, and the Planner Pad was like receiving forgiveness. If I didn’t get something done on Tuesday, I could do it on Wednesday or Thursday, as my schedule allowed.
  • Will I continue to use it? Despite years of trying, I can’t enter data into a PDA as fast as I can write it. But I also want a planning system that gives automatic reminders. So I’ll use this, along with some electronic tools.

Reviewer: Kris, ADD coach, llama rancher, and fiber artist, Livermore, Colorado

  • My biggest time-management challenge is remembering everything I have to do, and where I go to do it. I joke that I need a 36-hour day.
  • How the Planner Pad helped: I did my best to write in all of my to-dos, chores, and so on, but, on some days, there wasn’t enough space to accommodate everything. That’s when arrows, lines, and colors came into play. While the idea behind the system is great, my schedule doesn’t lend itself to assigning times for to-dos.

[Forget About “I Forgot” with These Memory-Boosting Tips]

  • Will I continue to use it? The planner would work better for someone with a less fractured life. As it happens, my husband, who doesn’t have ADHD, fell in love with the Planner Pad and has taken it for his own!

Reviewer: Stacy, cafeteria manager, Matthews, North Carolina

  • My biggest time-management challenge is getting organized. I make a lot of lists, but then forget to bring them with me or forget where I put them. I waste too much time looking for stray notes and lists, or re-writing things I’ve already written down.
  • How the Planner Pad helped: I read the instructions carefully, and felt like I’d been given an easy-to-follow, detailed way to get organized! It was great. I used the planner for appointments, to-do and grocery lists, work priorities, and personal projects, so I knew exactly where to look for everything. Filling out my “Major Goal This Week” at the top of each right-hand page helped me stay focused.
  • Will I continue to use it? Yes! It is amazing how motivated I feel if I can prioritize what needs to get done. I’ve already made Planner Pad part of my daily routine.