Yesterday, while pondering lists, I realized that a schedule is a list. For some of us with ADHD, a schedule is necessary to help us navigate our day. We’re often challenged by a very poor sense of time and difficulty getting started in the morning, and a schedule combined with alarms can help keep us on track.
When an ADDer wakes up to a completely unstructured or unscheduled day, problems can arise. It can be hard to get moving if we don’t know where we’re headed. A big blank day with no frame or structure around it may seem like a blank canvas to an artist or a blank piece of paper to a writer. It might be a wonderful, creative opportunity. Or it might be an invitation to go back to bed!
I’m learning that my way of structuring a day and creating a schedule might not be your way. To keep me on track, I might want a road map through the day that shows all the major destinations scheduled for specific times with all the intermediate pit stops scheduled down to the minute.
On the other hand, such a tight schedule might seem too rigid and confining since it allows for little flexibility for impromptu events. If that is the case, I might try a schedule with a little “daylight” in it – some big scheduled appointments with some open time between them. This schedule could work well in combination with a ToDo list of tasks that could slip into the times between appointments.
Written or printed or digital schedules are a form of externalizing. We are taking information that is likely to fly out of our awareness unless we capture it externally, and putting it in a place (or perhaps several places) where we can see it or hear it and be reminded of it.
The type of schedule that works for me is neither extremely rigid with minute-by-minute items listed in my planner, nor so loose that my calendar shows mostly white space. I like to put my main commitments into the appropriate time slots, but I also have a list of the tasks I want to accomplish that day (like writing a blog entry) that I keep beside that schedule so I can fill in the empty spaces with productive work. What type of schedule works best for you?
One final thought: Don’t forget to schedule some time to play! All work and no play . . . but you know all about that.