ADHD / Adult ADHD / Coping Strategies


Okay, I don’t want to disappoint anyone, after my planner breakthrough post, you know, about sticking things in little boxes and living happily ever after. And I don’t want to discourage anyone from using a planner, or any other organizational tools.



Then the things don’t get done one day. Maybe it’s because your focus/productivity ratio sucked that day. Maybe it’s because something unexpected happened in the course of the day and it deserved your attention and the things in the little boxes needed to be back-burnered. Life requires flexibility.


Yes, I see that I’m being a little black and white here. But seriously, what am I supposed to do? I’m a smart person and I’m looking at the planner here and if a day gets effed up, every following domino will eat shit.

Hence, I’ve been ignoring my planner for about 36 hours now I guess, I don’t know, and it’s not worth checking a clock and doing painful math to figure out. I’ve got layers to deal with here, it’s clear. The first one is that I have too many things going on in my life (at the moment…I was at a good level but one project got a little out of control and I’m in the process of reining it in again…). Sometimes I have control over that and yet, sometimes I legitimately don’t. I can only control what I can control. Isn’t that a foundation recovery principle in every 12-step group known to mankind?

Controlling for the times when I do periodically overfill my own schedule…how am I supposed to maintain flexibility and stay organized? I CANNOT end up with days that have like 24 things in the box, after a three day fiesta of curveballs. I don’t have a lot of to-dos that are optional. Most people who have families don’t. You can’t stop feeding kids, or stop taking pets to the vet, or stop cleaning at least some part of the endless mess created by kids and pets in your home, or stop going to work to make sure that you can afford to feed kids and take pets to the vet. You can’t stop cultivating your additional sources of income when the economy still kind of sucks and again, your household has fixed as well as sadistically surprising financial needs. Then lets say it’s one of those days where, for whatever reason, three members of your household (two- or four-legged, whoever the Universe has elected to fuck your schedule that day) end up barfing all over the place. Most likely when you are trying to leave for work. And often in a place where you are most likely to step in it at least once.

Barfing occurs. And the entire rest of the day is fucked. Take that, little planner box of perfection. Now, anyone with a family knows that you also have no way of predicting just how many of these barf-surprise days you might have in one week. You might not have one for a month. But then again…you could have another one again tomorrow. You just don’t know. But the barf (both literally, and as a metaphor) always wins. Always.

And that’s the point I’m coming to here, folks. The barf always wins. ALWAYS. I’m not sure yet how to factor in the barf effectively, so that my little plans aren’t slaughtered. This is why I kind of don’t like having to make plans…because putting in the effort of creating them, only to see them brutally and smellariffically destroyed on the daily, is a lot to take.

And I have a pretty strong stomach for barf odors. Just ask my husband.



  1. So, is your daily planner for household and not work stuff too? Or are you also cramming that in? If so, I think you need to separate them out.

    Barf days will trump the planner. There’s nothing you can do about that except learn to accept it (and I’m hearing this is hard for you).

    I will assume you’re just doing a household planner. Now, what can’t be set aside? Laundry? Cooking? Grocery shopping? IMHO, most cleaning can take the hind tit unless it’s something dangerous (like barf, poop, etc).

    I don’t remember the ages of your kids, but they should be helping clean too. Yeah, there’s probably a lot of nagging involved, but they need to learn how to take care of themselves and be responsible. I can remember learning to cook. I didn’t make very good meals, but I did learn.

    And having a LOT of extra activities for all the family members is very time consuming and expensive. I know you know this. Sometimes everyone can’t do everything they want to do if it means home is going down the tubes. You have to be able to say no and I know you have a special problem with the menage a trois intruder in your marriage.

    But finally, you need to be able to cope with things changing. The things on your lists are not written in stone and if you miss doing something, you’ll catch up with it later, or not, but it’s ok and you’re a good person no matter what happens.

    I don’t know if any of this helps, but I hope it does.

    • Well Penny, since you dared to open Pandora’s box, lol…

      My planner almost never includes household related things. Unless those things are important (bring cat to vet, bring kids to dentist, things like that). My household chores are mostly built into my schedule in a way where I don’t have to write them down – my family leaves the house by 7:30am and I don’t have to be at work until around 10am. Therefore, all of the time between family leaving and going to work is chores times and I don’t have to write it down. In the evenings there is also a little bit of designated “household” time, I just don’t always know what times it’s going to happen.

      Now for the stuff that’s on my planner – it’s almost always work-related, but the work is frequently not work that relates to my “day job”. I have one active small business outside of “work”(I’ve been running it for several years) and I have one back-burnered business that just has to remain on hold for now (hence it’s not clogging up my planner) and my husband started a small non-profit (outside of HIS day job) that we both complete tasks for (though this year we’ve been able to delegate many of these).

      Then let’s plug in the kids: Their schedule changes each week and they spend time at two houses. Unfortunately I have zero control over their schedule. So we cannot set a schedule for things like chores and such – not without spending a lot of time each week just planning every detail of how to make it happen, and I can’t do that because…I don’t have extra time for that, and we also don’t always have the information we need ahead of time. Whenever it is possible, I delegate chores to them or have me assist with things. For example, I have everybody fold their own laundry, and that task can be squeezed in at some point in the week. But when the kids have activities and we have things to do, and their schedule is never the same every week…you see the challenge here. If we do have them on a weekend, I definitely have people doing chores.

      So I put all of my work tasks on the planner. I put important household items in the planner. Sometimes the items on the planner are little things, like make a particular phone call. I try to break them down into small components so that they can be more realistically scheduled.

      Then there’s the surprises that life sends 🙂

      Right now I feel that I am one project “over-capacity”. And I’m in conversation with someone to rectify that situation.

      So basically this plays out like this – right now, on a Monday, my husband and I both have day jobs. After school, we have one child with a regular activity. We have a second child with another activity, but only some of the time. Then we have a third child who needs to do things like homework and stuff, and the other two need to do their homework, and everybody needs dinner. Of course, if it’s soccer season, then the third child also has an activity – but the soccer schedules are never announced more than a handful of days in advance. So during soccer season (indoor and outdoor, so many months of the year) then we end up with three kids who have different soccer schedules, and we don’t know the schedules in advance, so every week it’s a big surprise and a total nightmare. This is just each kid having one activity. Well…which kid would we single out and tell “hey, you can’t play”. I don’t think it’s weird for each kid to have an activity that they like to do. Of course right now there’s no soccer…but there’s baseball 6 days/week. There’s dogs to walk, homework, dinner…maybe a little laundry folding. Then the kids go to bed and my husband and I start our second work days. I push back when the kids request second activities, and for the most part we seem to be avoiding them right now, but I’m not the decision maker because I’m not a biological parent. So for four days we have that madness…then the next week the custody schedule changes…and the activity schedules change…see what I’m saying here? Activities are actually important for our kids too, because they do have two homes, so they don’t get as much time to bond with neighborhood kids as other kids do. The way our custody schedule works out, they see their neighborhood friends for a month…then they don’t see them for a month…

      I can’t afford to give up my small business, and the timing simply isn’t right for my husband to let go of anything he’s working on. We live in a cloud of moving targets. I’m not sure what will change but something sure needs to 🙂 I’m actually the most flexible person in the whole scenario and I handle a lot of the “surprises” – so I’m not really inflexible so much as that we just don’t have any wiggle room and I have no idea where to find it.

  2. I dont plan shit and I wont commit to anybody but my wife and she will work her ass off begging for a commitment. If i do commit i will do what i say but i will not commit myself to anyone in general. NEVER!!!!

  3. I relate so much to the general sentiment here and the specifics are a great example of why even though I have always wanted to be a mom someday I’m not entirely sure I would be able to handle it. It wouldn’t eliminate this problem to leave some empty space in the box for unexpected developments, but maybe it would mitigate it? Of course then on the days with no/few/small unexpected developments, what do you do with that time? Maybe get a jump on the next day’s tasks . . . but then you’re right back at “I’ve ruined the plans.” ARG.

    • Well – I’ve had one day this week of unrivaled productivity and one day of average productivity – but on both days, I ended up getting to work late, and having to leave early, because of family commitments or surprises, lol. WHAT THE HECK 🙂 I think I need to take a couple of things out of my schedule. I don’t know what. But I do think my life could use some shaving and I have to think about it carefully…I certainly don’t want to scare anyone away from parenting, LOL.

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