I tried every Digital Daily Planner out there, and a few more 😫

They all suck! Read me complain about it...

I tried every Digital Daily Planner out there, and a few more 😫

Photo by NORTHFOLK on Unsplash

Here's the problem:

I need to structure my time

Ok, I lied. As I've come to find out that's more of a goal than a problem. So let's break it down.

There are two parts to this: First, there's the problem of figuring out what you want/need to do. Then there's the problem of figuring out when to do it.

Don't worry about the how, or why right now - you're smart, you'll figure out the how and trust that if you decide it needs to be done, then the why is there.

Now let me save you some precious time and give you the tldr for why there isn't a good tool for this. (yet..?)

Most apps out there only tackle one problem and not the others1

Now that that's out of the way, let's start from the beginning...

Why should I use a daily planner?

I have ADHD (hold on; data shows you could really benefit from this too) and while most mistakenly think that means you can't focus, really it's just that you try to focus on so many things, all at once, and you can't control it. Let me explain.

Actually...

Let me show you

Let's say you're trying to write a paragraph for your essay on WW3. The line is a sustained mental effort (it's your "line of thinking") 2 And that sexy figure on the left is you -- nice arms.

You're working on your first paragraph, breaking it down to multiple sentences and example. You're imagining the conversation that probably went down in the war room meeting and you wonder if generals in the White House would schedule an event on their calendar -- "War Room Meeting w/ POTUS."

Haha that's funn- KAPOW did you schedule that meeting you were supposed to

Ok that meeting is kind of important and you want to give people time to plan around it and also make a presentation soon. Let me just quickly send the invite and book a meeting room.

Speaking of things you forgot to do...

Oh no! Y sent you such a sweet heartfelt message that you saw on the train on your way to work today but before you could reply, your stop came, and then it was raining; that guy playing the guitar in the rain was really good. Ok. Ok. Send a quick reply to Y and you can follow up later today

You start typing... Wait what was that lyric you heard the other day that made you think of them? I think it went something like

* you're humming *

Agh you can't remember it and you don't want to get distracted. Let's finish that text really quick. No wait, it's running late, you need to finish this -- SH*T

Of course you lost your train of thought now and can't remember the point you were trying to make. Focus.

Ah! But therein lies the problem: you can't.

Try as you will, your body won't let you. That feeling in your thighs when you try to force yourself to focus on one thing will prevent you. You see, dear, that feeling, that extreme urge to scroll through instagram, or pet your dog, or think about texting your friend days after you were supposed to, is your brain's "reward system" being confused.

You see, from an evolutionary standpoint, your body evolved to reward you for doing the things you need to survive. It does that by releasing dopamine. And when it doesn't, ehhh. But you know what will make your brain release dopamine? Scrolling through instagram. At least you think it will until an hour has passed and you realize you just wasted your day away.

The currency of the system, and the price for attention, is dopamine. We're basically all f*cking junkies. 3

Ok, but at least don't spiral and start thinking about all the ways you're failing your loved ones.

Shhhhhhh

A simple 10 minute phone call could fix that torment and sadness. God even a text is too much.

Don't think about your friend who's visiting SF but you can't see.

Don't think about how if you had just budged and cut your hair short when you were a kid, your dad wouldn't have stopped you from going out with your friends and maybe, just maybe, you wouldn't have developed comfort in isolation.

Don't think about all 19,000 children orphaned in Gaza, or 15,000 killed...

Shhhhhhh

Try meditating and centering yourself

.

.

.

.

.

The problem is that at the end, you didn't finish the paragraph, or reply to your friend, or schedule that meeting, or remember the lyric, or do this, or do that.

Not even. The real problem is that that's been happening all week. No, it's been happening forever and your bowl just keeps filling up with more and more every minute. You never get things done, but it's not like those things just go away. But therein lies the paradox too: the more you don't do, the less you're able to do. That's what people mean when they say it's debilitating.

That Damn Word

I used to despise hearing the word debilitating used in the context of mental illness. See, I'm very stubborn, and hearing someone tell me I can't do something because of ... whatever it may be - infuriates me. I mean I got through college knowing fully well I had ADHD, but I had to prove to myself that I can graduate from a top school without accommodations, meds, or any help. I can do it on my own, and do well. And... I did.

But God it was awful.

Anyways.

But Alas!

Some studies show that those with ADHD tend to be more creative and better at "divergent thinking tasks." I mean it's kind of cool that you connected a lyric you heard and your friend. Sure you couldn't walk down a straight path, but you see all those loops and curves you went over? That's creative thinking, my friend.

But, sadly, you never got to send your text...

All your one-line journal entries, incoherent footnotes, and all your dot dot dots might never see the light.

Everyday your dreams seem more far-fetched, your goals further unfinished, and your life one very long list of semicolons, bound to never experience the sweet surrender of a full stop...

Anyways, I'll talk about my experience with daily planners, and how I thought about coding one myself in another blog post..

Till then!


Footnotes

  1. And if they try to -- ahem, usemotion .com -- they forcefully shove AI down your throat to the point that makes product awful just so they can collect that sweet, sweet VC money.

  2. I called it thought because the word "thought" also refers to the process of thinking.

  3. There are such things as dopamine detox. I'll write about it in another blog maybe