Thursday, December 1, 2011

Write it down

A wise person once told me I needed to get a planner.  I scoffed.  Pish-posh, I put all of my information - important dates and whatnot - on my phone calendar or to-do list and if I remember to set the alert, I am reminded with a darling little beep-beep at intervals I have set.  This method has not proven to be fool-proof.

Organization is a key problem for people with ADD.  While I do as well as, say, the average parent, staying on top of permission slips, fundraising forms, and the like tangles my mind.  Look at the kitchen counter of any parent with ADD and this is what you will see: bills, parent newsletters, coupons, birthday party invitations, catalogs, to-do lists, prescriptions, broken toys, old bananas, articles her dad cut out and sent, a collection of pens that don't work, vitamins and medicine bottles,  and crumbs.  What you won't see is:  the kitchen counter.  I kept things at hand so I wouldn't forget them, even if I had some of them on my iPhone calendar.  Looking at that mess was slowly driving me nuts.  When I described my tangled brain to this wise friend, let's call her "therapist," she recommended the paper planner again and even showed me how she used hers.  I was like a child who finally understood the mechanics behind addition.  "Oh, so you're saying 1+1=2!  That totally makes sense!"

I left "therapist" and drove immediately to a bookstore where I had a gift card and bought the most embarrassing, mommy planner they had.  

And (as my kids ask 14 times an hour), you know what?  It has helped.  The planner has a two columns on every page, for every week of the month - one for Mom and one for Family.  I put my appointments down on one side and my kids' lessons and parties and days off of school on the other.  It's so simple.  In the back of the planner are to-do lists that are perforated so you can yank them out as needed.  The to-do's, entitled "Things I Must Do Immediately," are funny.  They are numbered, with the first item filled in: "Find this list."  I appreciate that Sandra Boyton understands my brain.  On the back of the lists are "Vital Necessities," or shopping lists.  Number 9 is filled in:  Chocolate.  Yes, it has a certain cartoon Cathy humor to it, but it's a tool and I require tools.  There are also blank pages for "Notes for My Novel," "My Kid's Contacts," and "Indecipherable Doodles."

I still use the alerts on my phone, but having that tangible planner in front of me has helped immeasurably.  Oh, and I've also cleaned up the kitchen counter too.  It's called recycling.  I highly recommend it.

If you want to buy your own family planner, here's an Amazon link: Mom's Family Desk Planner although I do recommend finding it in your local, indy bookstore.  They can use the patronage.