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ep.36: Stop, Drop & Plan

Welcome to an insightful episode where Mande shares her revamped time management system, tailored for those with ADHD. Mande walks us through her "Stop, Drop & Plan" method, offering practical strategies to regain control over your day and keep overwhelm at bay.

Whether you're struggling to stay on top of your to-do list or feeling like there's never enough time, this episode is packed with relatable experiences and valuable insights.

What you'll learn:

  • How to set up your Google Calendar for appointments, routines, and task blocking.

  • The "Now and Not Now" list technique for prioritizing tasks and offloading mental clutter.

  • Tips for avoiding the pitfalls of over-planning and actually executing your plan.

  • Little tricks like color-coding and using metallic markers for maximum visual impact.

"Planning is a dopamine hit. Be careful about spending too much time planning and not enough time doing. Give yourself a time limit when making a plan." - Mande

By the end of this episode, you'll have actionable steps to implement Mande's time management strategies and find a system that works for your unique ADHD brain. Don't miss out on this opportunity to reclaim your time and tackle your to-do list with confidence!

Useful Links Mentioned:

Whether you're an adult with ADHD, a parent managing a neurodivergent household, or someone passionate about education, this episode offers a wealth of encouragement and practical advice. Subscribe for more inspiring stories and strategies to navigate life with ADHD.

Engage with us in the comments or on our social media channels. We'd love to hear your experiences and how you're implementing the tips shared in this episode!

Remember: Don't let an overwhelming to-do list send you into a spiral. Mande's time management strategies can help you clarify priorities and take action on what truly matters each day.

Listen to the Episode:

Or watch the video on Youtube

Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome back. I have been meaning to update my time management system for you guys for a long time, and I had a lovely little freak out on Saturday that prompted me to say, okay, it's time to update this situation. I made a time management video or how to follow your calendar video about two years ago, and I like that system and I use that system, but I use some other things along with that system.

So if you watch that video, what that is about is really kind of how to set up your Google calendar and how to use that. It's up to you whether you use a Google calendar or not. I use one because I work on appointments, right? And people are able to schedule consultations with me. My clients are able to schedule their their one on one appointments with me.

I put on any other kind of appointments that I have on my Google calendar so that works really well. The other thing I put on my Google calendar that might be a little strange to some people is I put my routines on there. So I have my morning routine on there. It will say, get dressed, put on makeup, feed and medicate the cat.

Fill up your water. It will say really basic things like that. Make your bed. And I've had clients say to me, I feel silly putting such in. They're not they're not judging what I put on my calendar. They're talking about what they want to put on their calendars and they're like, I feel silly putting such basic things on my calendar.

I feel like I shouldn't have to do that. And then I show on my calendar and I'm like, I do that. So that's my morning. And then I'll have, you know, my my work day things and I'll have my appointments and then I will have my to do list of things that needs to be done. And we'll talk about that in a little bit.

And I will decide what needs to be done today and what needs to be done tomorrow. And I will fill in the gaps that I have between appointments with these items. I will estimate how much time they're going to take and put them on my calendar. And that's how I use my Google calendar in conjunction with a tool planner that I use currently.

If you're if you're watch, if you're listening on the podcast, I'm showing showing the planner, this is the particular one that I use. They also have it through Martha Stewart. I think Happy Planner has a similar type thing. But what I really like about the disc planner system is you can pull things out. You can move things around.

I think it works really well with the ADHD brain because I bought a particular full planner and then decided that there was certain things in it. I just was never going to use. And so I pulled them out. And then today I was talking with a client who actually turned me on to this tool planner. Thank you, Cami.

And I saw hers, and she was talking about adding weekly, weekly papers into hers. And I thought, That's a great idea. I use my monthly for tasks that I know I want to happen every week in my business. And I also use it for my personal coaching appointments, go on my monthly, and there's a few other things that go on there, but I just refer to that to put things on to my Google calendar and to put things on to my to do list.

So that's just kind of an explanation. But my freak out on Saturday, let's talk about that. I had been very tired the day before. I'm like, exhausted, got home and was just in one of those grumpy. I can't do anything. I can't think kind of moods. And I think it carried over to the next day. I think I was really tired and when I'm really tired I can get a bit anxious.

And I noticed I was just kind of bouncing around the house, getting upset basically, that there was so much to do and I would find this other thing and bounce to this other thing. I call this pin Marlene when we kind of just bounce around like a pinball in a pinball machine. I think I've coined that, actually. I think I made that.

I mean, it makes sense, right? And so I was bouncing around to the laundry of the dishes, picking this thing up, putting this thing away, taking care of this thing for my business, getting on the computer, just bouncing around everywhere and all the while noticing more and more all the things there was to do. And I was feeling overwhelmed and I was getting really anxious.

And luckily I had a coaching call scheduled for myself. It was where a coach and I were trading time, so we scheduled an hour appointment and it was actually with Stephanie McEwan, who you see on or listen to on episode 34, I believe, and she's also an ADHD coach. So it was perfect and we had that time scheduled and basically I was like, Can I go first?

And I explained to her what was happening and she kind of got to the thought of, you know, there's there's just so much to do and how that was making me feel and like what I was doing and one thing I was doing is because I was thinking that I was noticing more and more things to do because I was that was like a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?

There's so much to do. See, like when we tell ourselves things like that, our brain wants to prove it right because we like to be right. And so when I was saying there was so much to do, my brain was going, Yep. And there's that, and there's that. And don't forget, your boots are in the bathroom still. They've been there for three days.

And don't forget those eggs that you brought in from the chickens are dirty and that really matters right now for no reason. And this all the things and don't forget, you need to take care of the laundry. And don't forget you need to pick this thing up and put this thing away and sort the mail and like all the things.

Right? And I got on the call and she kind of talked me through it. And somehow we got to the realization that I had not planned my day. And, you know, it's fine on a Saturday or Sunday not to plan your day, but this happened to be a Saturday that I had been out of town all day the day before.

So I didn't really have a Friday. And there had been some other things that happened that week that there was just some stuff I needed to get done on Saturday. And so by the end of by the end of my my part of the session, I was definitely calmed down. And thank goodness, because then it was time to coach her.

I don't think I would have been a very good coach in this state of anxiety and overwhelm that I was in. But afterwards I'm like, okay, after this call I'm going to sit down and I like to call this stop, drop and plan, All right? And I have to remind myself to do this all the time. So I like to stop, drop and plan with my Now and Not Now list.

And I've done a video on this and it's it's kind of, I don't know, evolved a little bit over time. And this is just how I do it. You guys take from this what you will

And then I refer to my now not now list to plan my day. And that's what I did after that call. I sat down with my Now Not Now list and made sure everything that needed to be on it was on it. And then I went, okay, now what has to happen today? And you can do this any way you want.

But what I like to do is I you can use any color you want, but I take an orange highlighter and a yellow highlighter, and my yellow highlighter happens to be my. Now, I'm sorry. Not now. My yellow highlighter happens to be my today items and my orange highlighter happens to be tomorrow. I like to do it in two days, but a lot of my clients will just do it with one day.

It just depends on what you prefer.

Some of my clients do this process with one week. It's totally up to you what you want to do. So I went through and I looked at this list and I said, okay, what has to happen today?

And I highlighted 1 to 3, four, five, six things. Out of all the hundreds of things my brain was telling me was important that day, there was actually only six things that matter in that day. One of those things was as simple as sending a text. One of those things was placing an online order, and one of those things was picking up a prescription.

Like, these are not difficult things. But that morning when I hadn't narrowed it down and planned my day, my brain wanted to lie to me and tell me you have so much to do. Look at all the stuff you have to do. So the now not now. Everything that doesn't matter in today or tomorrow goes on to the not now and I happened to.

And if you're on the podcast, you're not seeing this but I happen to categorize my business on one side, personal on the other. This happens to be a paper that I got off Amazon. It's from Natalie Rebecca designed .com, but I got it off Amazon and it works with the tool system and it has a little checkboxes with lines.

I don't even use the checkboxes I have in the past, but I just decided I don't need to use them. And so yeah, it was only those six things. And then I highlighted, okay, what needs to happen on Sunday? And I said, okay, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Things need to happen on Sunday. Turns out two of those things I couldn't even do on Sunday.

One was like making a doctor's appointment that I couldn't do. And one of those things was updating my zoom payment. Why? I thought that had to be done on Sunday. I don't know. I've got 90 days to update it. Why? Why is our way to our brains do this right? The whole point of the story is having that now.

Not now. The not now. Is it just a really great place for you to offload all the stuff on your mind and also like, watch your thinking. You're thinking is going to cause things to be worse. You know, like I said, our brain wants to be right. It's going to prove to you how whatever you're thinking is true.

So be careful what you're thinking. And once I took the action of making this list and writing these things down, I was able to think more clearly. I was able to look and go, okay, actually there's only six things on here. I can knock a couple of them out right now. I've got plenty of time. There's not too much to do.

It's okay. But this is the new system that I work with. I work with this now, not now list. I keep it in my planner. I like my planner just for, you know, the the basic things. I keep it open to the whole month. And then I work in things that take a little extra time, like maybe recording a podcast into in between my appointments on my Google calendar.

So I'm wondering if there's anything else I need to share. So one more thing that helps me as far as like the list is when I mark out things and this seems so, so silly you guys, but it works. When I mark things out with just a black pen, I don't really see that it's marked out. And then I spend time questioning, is that done?

Is that not done? Whereas if I use a metallic Sharpie, I like the bronze one. It's clear that that thing is marked out, but then I can still see what the thing was. Whereas if you went with like a thicker marker, maybe that would work for some people, like going with a thicker marker, you might not be able to see what that thing was anymore.

If you want to go back and go, Did I do that thing? So I hope that all makes sense. I've been wanting to update things. I I'm loving the tool planner. I'm not saying you need to go out and get one, but also planner. Shame is something we should talk about. I have a podcast coming out this Thursday with Paula published, I think I'm saying her last name correctly.

And one thing I love that she said in there was I just don't make it a problem anymore that I want a new planner every 90 days. It's just not I don't make it a problem. Whereas before there was so much shame about it, or the unused planner or the plan not getting in the planner with dates so that you didn't have to beat yourself up over not using it for a week or two, or you know, whatever it was.

Just find the system that works for you that week. All right. And another thing I'll say about planning is planning is a dopamine hit. And what I want you to be careful about and we've talked about this and group coaching in the ADHD academy, but what I want you to be careful about is spending a whole lot of time making this big, beautiful plan.

And then you're you're kind of satisfied. You've got your dopamine hit and now you're like, why am I not taking action on this plan? Well, one, it's it's probably too perfect of a plan. And so you have doubts about being able to execute on it. And two, planning was the doing planning was was the dopamine hit. And so now it's hard to take any action beyond the planning.

You don't have the task initiation that you need to to move forward on the plan. And then I think a little bit of it is like feeling like you're going to mess it up somehow, and that's normal to feel that way. But what I do like to say and what I said in that particular group coaching is don't spend a whole lot of time on your planning.

If you are a person that wants to sit down and make a half hour, hour long plan for your, you know, your menu for the month or you're planning your week or things like that, give yourself. I was trying to reach for my timer, but it's too far away. I have a visual timer that I like to turn on and it's like, okay, we got we got 10 minutes, let's figure this out.

And that way you don't spend a whole lot of time planning and not doing and the other part is take action. Mark these get these things marked off the list. And what I do when, when the list gets filled up is I just pull out another little half sheet, transfer over what needs to be transferred over and go from there.

And if things get transferred, which this doesn't really happen. But I have heard in Productivity books where they talk about this, if something gets transferred too many times, it's on the wrong list. If you're transferring something over like four times, it needs to go back on the list. It's really not that important to you. And so, yeah, I just wanted to cover the time management.

I hope this was helpful and I will see you guys next week.


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