Tame Time: The Best Planners for ADHD Adults

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Is there such a thing as the perfect planner for an adult with attention deficit disorder (ADD)? From my experience as an ADHD coach, the answer is no.

But if you think about what planner format works best for you, and how you’re going to use it, you can come pretty close to perfection.

Consistency doesn’t come naturally to ADDers, but committing to the basics — checking a planner regularly and designating a spot for it — will keep you on time and in the right place. Two clients I worked with proved it.

Always Losing Your Planner?

The client: John (therapist, age 40)

The challenge: John didn’t have a designated spot for his paper planner, so he lost one every couple of days. As a result of his disorganization, several

planners—each containing important contact and appointment information—were floating around his house and office.

The fix: First, I had John round up all the planners and consolidate the information into a master planner. In John’s case, it was a beat-up, 79-cent spiral notebook that he paired with a pocket calendar from his insurance company.

In the morning, he developed his daily to-do list in the spiral notebook and transferred the list to his pocket calendar. In the evening, he crossed off what he had accomplished and added new tasks.

When a notebook’s page filled up with crossed-out items, or the edges tattered, he transferred important information and phone numbers to his computer database, then ripped out that page and started fresh.

Second, I suggested that John keep the planner in the same spot — on his desk, to the left of his phone — at the office and at home. I also advised him to keep his longer-term goals and ideas in a different section of the notebook, separate from his working to-do list.

Further suggestions: I asked John to check his planner every time he got up from his desk, even if he had no appointments that day. It sounds like a useless exercise, but John remembered something he needed to add to his list when he checked it. This little exercise got John to use the planner regularly. As a result, fewer tasks and meetings slipped through the cracks.

Can’t Keep Track of Appointments?

The client: Jared (visiting nurse, age 36)

The challenge: Jared used Outlook to keep track of his appointments and to-do lists, but he often ignored the digital alarms reminding him about a phone call or a scheduled visit to a patient’s house.

He’d also forget to transfer information from notes and papers into his computer, and wound up double-booking appointments. “I’ve tried every time-management system under the sun, and I still find myself being late for meetings,” he said.

The fix: Online sticky-note programs can be helpful for ADDers, but I discovered that, although Jared is tech-savvy, he was more comfortable using a paper planner. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of various options, and settled on a monthly format.

After a week, Jared found it wasn’t working for him. He needed a week-at-a-glance format, because of his unique schedule—he worked Wednesday through Sunday, with Mondays and Tuesdays off. I had Jared label the first column on the left “Wednesday” and finish up with “Monday” and “Tuesday” on the right. As a result, he stopped being late for client appointments.

I also recommended that, like John, Jared keep his planner to the left of the phone at home and at work, and in a designated sleeve in his briefcase when leaving either place. Because client appointments frequently needed to be rescheduled or added, I had him check the planner morning, noon, and night.

Further suggestions: We decided that Jared should keep his weekly to-do list on his computer, writing each day’s chores onto a large sticky note and placing it next to the day’s date in his paper planner. At work, he would write important notes on the same sticky note and transfer it to the computer in the evening.

I also recommended that he consider ADD-friendly driving tools like GPS for his car, since printing out directions to new clients’ homes often made him late. Now he inputs an address into the GPS, and he’s guided to the front door.

Best Practices

Customizing a planner is key, and employing these strategies will optimize its use:

  1. If you don’t have your planner with you, and a colleague asks if you’re available for lunch on Friday, say, “You know, I don’t know if I am or not. Let me check my planner and get back to you tomorrow.” Then leave yourself a voice-mail message at home, reminding you to check your schedule. (If you later find that your schedule is jam-packed, learn how to decline an appointment or meeting, without offending anyone.)
  2. When scheduling appointments, jot down the person’s cell-phone and land-line numbers under his name. If you need to let him know that you’re running late, you have his numbers at your fingertips.
  3. If you worry about losing your planner or laptop, print or copy each day’s schedule and leave the computer or planner safely behind, on your desk.
  4. When you go on vacation, make a copy of the following week’s schedule, just in case your return flight is cancelled or delayed. You can reschedule meetings and appointments from the airport or hotel room, without missing a beat.

This article comes from the Summer 2008 issue of ADDitude.

To get ADHD treatment in New York, please visit Trifecta Health Medical Center. Trifecta Health Medical Center is dedicated to helping professionals working in the Wall Street / Financial Center area of New York City to get rapid relief of their ADD/ ADHD symptoms.

Several easy to follow steps to make sure you can focus with ADHD

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When you’re living with the symptoms of ADD or ADHD, getting the job at hand done can sometimes be a struggle.

Distractions, finding it hard to concentrate and letting the mind wander are all things that can act as a barrier to every day jobs. Here at Trifecta Health, we understand how difficult it can be to live with these symptoms, and have come up with several easy to follow ways to make sure that presentation gets written, or to make sure that public speaking episode isn’t quite so nerve-wracking.

Read on!

  • Waiting for the right time to get your job done? Stop right there! Conditions are rarely right; either the rain is lashing at the window, or it’s too hot. Be proactive and sit down, breathe and get on!
  • Strike whilst the iron is hot! Thinking about something rarely gets it done, doing it however, that works.
  • Be confident in your ideas. Put it into action!
  • Be confident, fake it even, because you can be sure that even the most confident of people are nervous deep down.
  • Force the flow of inspiration. Yes, sometimes ideas strike out of nowhere, but when the creative flow is halted, you need to sit down, brainstorm and make that blockage disappear simply by doing.
  • Don’t worry about what has passed or what may come. Live in the present, focus on the now.

It seems simple doesn’t it? However, living with the symptoms of ADD/ADHD is far from simple. Focus on these steps and you’ll find the barriers that these symptoms can cause, will lessen and lessen.

Article written by Trifecta Health Medical Center

TMS Therapy for the treatment of ADHD in New York

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Trifecta Health an NYC Psychiatrist Dr Fruitman is opening its eye to alternate uses for this new innovative treatment method.

Many studies are showing the positive effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy for the treatment of a variety of psychiatric


TMS Therapy has already been proven effective in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, now ADHD is making the headlines in other uses for TMS Therapy.
Research at Arizona State University is now showing that pulsed electromagnetic energy, like those used in TMS Therapy, may be a good alternative for other brain disorders such as ADHD. The targeted pulses of TMS Therapy

would stimulate the neurons to increase nerve activity. ADHD is shown to respond from treatments that stimulate dopamine receptors. By stimulating the entire neuron the dopamine is efficiently and expertly stimulated.
TMS is an ideal method to see the maturation process of motor pathways since it clearly excites the corticomotoneuronal system involved in ADHD. Findings demonstrate a delay in the maturation process of this system in patients with ADHD. By stimulating these pathways we can further the process of development.

Studies published on  show that TMS applied to the left mid-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex induced the release of dopamine as a consequence of direct stimulation. This increase dopamine concentration is shown to decrease symptoms of ADHD.

Studies already show the benefit of increased dopamine in the treatment of ADHD. Now there is an alternative to medication treatment for patients with ADHD. TMS has no adverse side effects and is safe and effective. TMS requires no sedation and is performed on an outpatient basis. Here in Downtown Manhattan, New York; Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is offered at Trifecta Health Medical Center under the medical direction of Edward Fruitman MD. It is performed by licensed professionals and prescribed by a psychiatrist.

Call Today! (212) 233-2830 to schedule consultation with Dr. Fruitman and get help with your ADHD symptoms.

How to help employees with ADHD

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If you have employees within your workforce who are affected by ADHD, you will be aware of the challenges that they face on a daily basis. This of course impacts on their work productivity, which in turn hits the workplace.

There are things that can be done to help ADHD sufferers focus their attentions for a longer period of time, and it’s important that managers understand these tips and apply them in the workplace. Here are a few tips.

  • When handing out tasks, it’s a good idea to give an opportunity for the employee to ask questions and to clarify any points they’re unsure of, as well as repeat the instructions back to firm it up in their mind.
  • Be clear and concise.Whether that’s written emails and memos, or phone conversations, keep all communication to the point and very clear. Also avoid lumping together too many points in one email or conversation.
  • Ask for verbal instructions to be followed up in writing, to check understanding. Summarize and recap any instructions at the end of meetings.
  • Give praise! Everyone works better when they feel appreciated and this boosts an ADHD sufferer’s self-confidence especially.
  • Consider team work, and pairing up people with complementing skills, to benefit the task at hand and the employee.
  • Allow an interruption free period of time during the working day, to allow re-focus. The use of alarms, usually set on the computer, will help an ADHD sufferer to focus their attention, as research has shown that a good response is usually gained from prompts and realistic deadlines.

One of the best traits of a good manager is understanding and empathy for a particular person’s condition, and if you can understand ADHD, and its effects, you will be in a better position to understand your employees.

Of course, for any sufferer, it’s important to recognize when you may need help, whether that be through symptom control, discussions, or finding out if you really do have the condition; many people do go undiagnosed.

Trifecta Health is dedicated to helping ADHD sufferers, under the expert eye of top New York psychiatrist Dr Edward Fruitman. There is no need to suffer in silence, and no need to let ADHD majorly affect any part of your life, not least your career. Give us a call today, and start your road to recovery and management.