Online Calendars: A Simple but Powerful Accommodation At Work for Employees with ADHD

The strategic use of a calendar is one of the most powerful support, or accommodation, that someone with ADHD can use at work. We are often bombarded with a variety of calendars in paper and electronic form. Using too many calendars is a recipe for disaster. Even the most organized and focused people on Earth can easily get confused, forget appointments and allow events to fall through the cracks when they use too many calendars. 

It is difficult to switch from a paper calendar or a several online calendar to a single online calendar, but it is so worth it!  Having all your appointments, in one place, on your phone ensures you always have your calendar with you.  Online calendars can be color-coded so you can see at a glance if an appointment is for you, your coworkers, your spouse or your children.  You can also color-code items in your calendar as a reminder only.  Many online calendars are sharable as well.  I use a shared Google calendar with my administrative assistant so she can schedule appointments for me.  I can then sync that shared Google Calendar with iCal on my iPhone, and I can see what she has scheduled for me.  

I made the switch to an online calendar slowly.  Initially, I used a Google Calendar and I printed it out.  Every week I would print the online calendar so I had a piece of paper to touch and write on.  This was a good method for me to make the switch gradually and painlessly.  At the end of the week, I transferred anything I wrote on the printed version of the calendar onto the online version and then printed the next week.  I now only use an online calendar, and I haven’t looked back!

Here are some features to look for in a calendar app:

  • Sharing – Is the calendar sharable?  It is helpful to be able to share your calendar with your family members and other important people in your life.
  • Color Coding – Can you color-code the entries in the calendar?  I have a color for each person in our family, and this color scheme is consistent through all our calendars, our paper filing system, and even to actual objects we own!  For example, I am pink, my older son is blue, my younger son is green, and my husband is white or black.  I also color-code various aspects of my business.  The nonprofit I consult with is coded in orange; my business appointments are all purple.  
  • Locations – Can you include location of appointments?  Do you need a calendar that will link to a map or driving directions app?
  • Reminders – Can you set reminders for appointments?  Can it notify you with the frequency you desire?
  • Recurring Appointments – Can you set recurring appointments?  Will the app repeat these appointments as often as you need?

My Recommendations:

iCal by Apple

Preinstalled on all Apple devices.  

iCal allows you to share appointments and is compatible with other calendars, such as Google Calendar, for sharing.  iCal is also color-coded.  Within iCal, you can set locations, reminders, and recurring times in the appointment.  

Cozi Family Organizer by Cozi, Inc.

Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and at cozi.com

Cozi’s calendar is color-coded and can be shared.  It also allows you to look at a daily view of events with color coding.  The calendar feature on this app can be used with other online calendars such as Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and Microsoft Outlook

Google Calendar by Google, Inc.

Available for Android, iOS, and at google.com.  

Google Calendar allows for color-coding and sharing. 

Calendar systems, such as the apps recommended above, are inexpensive but powerful workplace accommodations. Accommodations allow people with a variety of cognitive abilities and differences thrive in their careers. 

Find out more about our software solution and support portal that enables employers to easily and inexpensively support their employees with cognitive differences and neurodiversity like ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism. www.forallabilities.com

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