I first heard the phrase "Tetris-ing"the calendar" from a client of mine. It's a beautiful visual that describes the tight interlocking fit of each part of a calendar plan where shifting just one event means the plan won't work.

Solving the daily, weekly or monthly puzzle is satisfying because it proves that it is possible to get everything done . . . Yay!

However it doesn't take much interference from normal life before the schedule falls apart and not only are our grand hopes dashed, but we blame ourselves . . . which then decreases our motivation to try again. 


So why do we Americans have the urge to jam our calendars more tightly than the President’s?

According to a 2021 Wired magazine article, 1 we do this because we really do not want to have to admit that we have limits, that we actually have more events, responsibilities and tasks than can be completed in a  typical day. This gets worse if we are working in a culture that romanticizes the “do more with less” approach (with “less” referring to both time and resources).


Here are a few of the points from the Wired article:

Most (but not all) of us with ADHD have the following difficulties in addition to those stated above:

green rectangle with the words, "The key to ADHD productivity is to set ourselves up for success."

How do we set ourselves up for success?

That is a question that will have a unique-to-you answer, but I will share something that has been working for me for a while:

Only 3️⃣ things?

Sounds CRAZY, right?

But it works!  I'll give you an example:

This morning, I put three things on my list:

If I finish these three things, I will have completed my list!

Note: I can do more if I choose . . . but these three are my priorities for today.

Are there other things I plan to do today?  Possibly . . . (probably 🙃)

Question: What do I do if something else comes up?

Answer:  I have a choice of replacing one of the three planned tasks, or keeping them as is.

3 wooden blocks with a yellow 5 pointed star on each
(3 wooden blocks with a yellow 5 pointed star on each)

Here's an example:

Today my husband proposed that we go to our local gym and sign up for a one month membership. I agreed.

However, I did not put that on my list, because I decided that it was not going to replace one of my three goals for today.

What would I have done had I decided that signing up for the membership should be a main goal today?

I would then have deleted one of the other three and put the gym sign-up in its place.

This is very useful because having to switch out tasks for new ones requires me to Pause and make a conscious decision as to whether it is worth adding to today's priorities. This helps me not to schedule too many things in one day.

It’s a win-win for me because I feel delighted 😊with myself when I make progress on my main three tasks and that provides momentum. The momentum helps to create the motivation that I need to try again tomorrow!

We ADHDers thrive on success!

What works for you when you plan your day?

(Message your responses to me at LinkedIn or email me and I will reply).


1. www.wired.com/story/to-do-apps-failed-productivity-tools/

(Note: you get one free article)

2. www.alanpbrown.com/blog/your-brain-is-an-outlaw-here-s-how-to-control-it-and-get-more-done-2