School and Calendars Are ADHD BFF

What The Research Says About Calendars

Did you know that…
Carry a Calendar with You

Having and using a daily calendar has a major impact on whether students will meet their daily responsibilities like getting to appointments and completing homework and chores!

Researchers taught a group of high school student to have and to use a calendar. Prior to the study students were getting very few of their responsibilities done (0% to 37%).

First, the students were allowed to pick out the calendar they liked and then asked to carry it every day.

If they had their calendar with them when the researchers asked, they got a point. The students had to be able to carry their calendars 5 days in row before they were ready for the next phase of the study.

When they learned the habit of carrying their calendar, they were then taught to write down their daily schedule including school assignments, chores, and appointments. The researchers then did daily spot checks to see if students had their calendars and had written everything down.

They were expected to do both of these tasks 5 days in a row and were given two points for accomplishing these tasks.

In the third phase of the study the researchers counted how many of the responsibilities written in the calendar the students actually completed each day. In this phase of the study, all the students improved dramatically in meeting their responsibilities: they completed 80% to 100% of their responsibilities.

So, just owning, carrying, and writing in a daily calendar can dramatically improve your ability to do what you need to do and get to appointments.

You can conduct a similar study on yourself.

  • Pick out a time management tool that matches your needs and your style. There are so many choices beyond paper planners: PDAs, on line calendars, software calendars, etc.
  • Look at the week before you started carrying and using a calendar and count how many of your responsibilities you met.

Then follow the phases used in the study:

Phase 1: just remember to have your calendar with you each day. Give yourself a point if you did. Once you have kept your calendar with you for 5 days in a row you are ready for phase 2.

Phase 2: now practice keeping your calendar. Include your assignments, studying, social engagements, chores etc. Give yourself 2 points a day if you both, had your calendar and wrote everything in it. When you have done this 5 days in a row you are ready for phase 3

Phase 3: at the end of each day count up how many of your responsibilities you met. Calculate the percentage of things you accomplished by dividing the total number of responsibilities into the actual number of those you met. How much have you improved from before you began using a calendar?

What do you need to do to keep in the habit of having and using your calendar?

Consider making an agreement with a friend to check on one another or work with a staff member from the Learning Center.

Flores, D. M., & Schloss, P. J. (1995). The use of a daily calendar to increase responsibilities fulfilled by secondary students with… Remedial & Special Education, 16(1), 38.
Submitted to me by a client with calendar challenges. Reprinted in entirety.
Maureen Nolan, Your Attention Coach