ADHDmapOrganization and time management happen to be two of the biggest challenges for adults with ADHD. Part of the problem is that these are skills that just don’t come naturally to people with ADHD. Many of us have to learn them later in life, as adults, and often only after a lack of organization and a lack of time management have caused major problems.

Here’s something that you may not know or you may not have ever realized… organization and time management are all about one thing: planning. And this is where adults with ADHD get tripped up.

Pay attention to the people in your life who don’t have ADHD, and see how they go about organizing a space, managing their schedule, or working on a new project. You’ll notice that people without ADHD almost always start with a plan. It’s just something they do! It’s a part of the process.

Then pay attention to how you approach the same kind of situation. Without the proper skills and resources, we almost never start with a plan. It’s a completely foreign idea to many of us! Instead, adults with ADHD like to jump right into the project head first. And sometimes that works, especially if there is an impending deadline or tremendous pressure to get something done. But, more often than not, jumping into a project without a plan just leads to overwhelm.

You see all the things that need to be done, and you don’t know where to start. So you become paralyzed, you get frustrated, you procrastinate. And, of course, you feel bad about yourself! But those feelings and those challenges can all be avoided by making a plan in advance.

Your plan is like your roadmap. Imagine that you’re going on vacation. You’re driving to a different state that’s a few hours away. Would you get in the car and start driving without a map, or directions, or a GPS? In theory, you could get on the highway and follow the road signs, but your trip would be pretty stressful, and you’d probably take a lot of wrong turns!

It’s much easier to get to your destination when you’re being guided, and you have a tool that instructs you on where to go next. This is what planning is all about. Your plan is the roadmap that tells you were to go next. It eliminates the frustration that comes with not knowing where to start or not knowing what to do next. When you create a plan, you take control over the situation.

There are two keys to creating a plan successfully:

  1. You must plan the time to plan. Understand that creating your plan is just one step in the process of getting the project done. It’s a step that can’t be skipped.
  2. Create your plan when you’re calm and centered, and not when you’re in the middle of the project or in the middle of the chaos. You never want to walk into a cluttered space and make your plan there, and you never want to try and plan your day in the middle of the action. Instead, step back from all your tasks and to-dos and plan out how you’re going to tackle them in advance.

I know that organization and time management aren’t easy, and that they’ve probably caused you a lot of stress and frustration in the past. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Give yourself credit, and trust that you can do it. You can take control of your space and time. Start with a plan.


Jennifer Koretsky About Jennifer Koretsky

Jennifer Koretsky, SCAC is the Managing Partner of the ADD Management Group, LLC and Chief Executive Officer of She is a Senior Certified ADHD Coach, and the author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD.


  1. I don’t mean to be offensive but this post just makes me angry. I have ADD and that is what I have been doing and what I am good at: Planning. But that is the problem, I plan and plan and plan and plan.. But 98 percent of the time, I fail at doing as planned. I am good at planning but never at doing.

    I’m sorry I had to let that out…..

  2. Same with Teslah…except opposite end of the spectrum. I try VERY hard to plan. I often need to write out even the most basic steps of my day to not feel overwhelmed….my friends don’t understand and make fun of me (for example….my to-do list starts -wakeup – brush teeth – put lotion on face, etc.) things that people don’t/wouldn’t need to write. I spend most of my time TRYING to make a plan and not being able to piece it together ….not seeing how to prioritize steps…wanting to do everything at once… getting incredibly overwhelmed. OBVIOUSLY we need a plan…. duh… my problem is how to MAKE that plan that is REALLY painfully difficult and really really really misunderstood by many of my friends who don’t get why I can get so confused and overwhelmed with something simple. I asked one of my non-add super organized friends to help me create a music-practice plan because I couldnt seem to do it myself no matter how hard I tried, how many books I read about making creating a practice plan, etc. I was fundamentally unable to see priorities, limits, and gauge time and energy. I remember how dumbfounded the look on her face was when she was helping me with this (because for her it comes so naturally, without a thought). Yeah- it’s super hard to deal with and not feel bad about, but that’s a whole other topic… MAIN POINT……. this article doesn’t necessarily provide any CONSTRUCTIVE feedback but states the obvious of what I feel most if not all add/adhders KNOW