ADHD 9 minutes read

Mastering ADHD: 5 Digital & Paper Planners & Journals for 2023


In the whirlwind of modern life, maintaining focus and organization can be a Herculean task, especially for adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The spinning mind often requires an anchor, a lifeline to the realm of productivity, and what’s better than a finely crafted planner or journal? These powerful tools not only bring order to the chaos but also help develop a mindfulness habit, encouraging a healthier, more harmonious daily rhythm. A plethora of digital and paper planners have surfaced, offering an array of features that cater to the unique needs of adults with ADHD. But which of these hold the potential to become your personal co-pilot? To eliminate the guesswork, we’ve assessed and collated the top five planners and journals of the year – Akiflow, Day One, Five Minute Journal, The Happy Planner, and The Planner Pad. Whether you’re a paper aficionado or a digital devotee, there’s something for everyone in this comprehensive guide. We’ll dissect each option, delving into their features, pros, cons, and pricing. Ready to unleash your potential and master your time in 2023? Let’s explore the paths to focus and productivity together.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that interferes with an individual’s abilities to pay attention, stay orderly, and manage their impulses. This disorder can affect people from all walks of life, yet it is most often recognized in children and young adults. Common indicators of ADHD may encompass challenges in maintaining focus, a propensity for forgetfulness, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and a sense of restlessness. While the precise causes of ADHD remain unknown according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), current research underscores the significant part played by genetic factors.

List of 2023’s Top 5 Digital and Paper Planners and Journals for ADHD Adults 

Individuals with ADHD could find digital and paper planners and journals helpful in focussing on their goals and completing daily tasks. However, it’s essential to highlight that while these ADHD-friendly planners can aid in accomplishing everyday tasks, they should not be viewed as replacements for professional mental health consultations or prescribed medication regimes.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the list of top five digital and paper planners and journals set to revolutionize your workflow and guide you towards your 2023 goals.

1. Akiflow

Best digital planner for calendar and to-do lists

Image Source: Akiflow

Type: Digital Planner

Features: Akiflow is a YC-backed time-blocking productivity platform where everything can be viewed and managed in a single place without the hassle of switching between tabs and windows. Akiflow’s universal inbox lets you easily import all your tasks from your preferred tools into a single inbox. It is easy to create much more effective and realistic daily schedules by placing the inbox and calendar views side by side. You can effortlessly drag and drop your tasks into the calendar. You can lock time slots for your tasks and use Focus Mode to avoid multitasking and distractions. You can also monitor your daily performance with the Daily Planning and Daily Shutdown rituals.


  • Has critical ADHD productivity features like time-blocking, reminders, and notifications
  • Available on multiple devices, e.g., laptops and desktops, smartphones, and tablets
  • Integrates with a variety of other tools, e.g., Google Calendar, Notion, Asana, Todoist, Slack, Gmail, Trello, Clickup and Zapier
  • Takes users from scattered to-do lists to beautifully organized schedules
  • Easy to get started with
  • Time tracking (Pomodoro timer) available

Cons: Free trial is limited to 7 days only

Pricing: 7-day free trial, after that, $14.99 monthly for a yearly subscription.

2. Day One

Best digital journal for memories

Image Source: Day One App

Type: Digital Journal

Features: Day One is a journaling tool with an award-winning design that allows unlimited text entries, rich text formatting, and the creation of multiple journals. The platform prioritizes privacy and security with automatic backups, end-to-end encryption, and biometric security measures. With Day One, you can preserve memories with unlimited photos and videos, dictate entries, and start an entry on one device and finish on another. It also offers features like ‘On This Day’ flashbacks, tags, and favorites, and even supports high-quality printed book creation. With integration capabilities for various apps, automated data import, and smart camera scanning, Day One redefines journaling.


  • An award-winning, user-friendly interface.
  • Allows text, voice, photos, and drawings.
  • Offers end-to-end encryption and secure backups to protect user data.
  • Integrates well with various apps and platforms for seamless data import and journaling.
  • Available across multiple platforms, including iPhone, Android, Mac, iPad, and Apple Watch.


  • Premium features come at a cost.
  • Some users have reported issues with the text editor and auto-correct feature.

Pricing: Day One Basic can be downloaded for free. Day One Premium is available for an annual subscription of $34.99.

3. Five Minute Journal

Best digital journal for personal reflection

Image Source: Five Minute Journal

Type: Digital Journal

Features: The Five Minute Journal App is designed for an intuitive journaling experience. It replicates the physical journal with an easy-to-use interface and guided entries. The app offers quick navigation through past entries, daily inspirational quotes, and secure passcode protection. Premium features further elevate the experience, allowing users to attach photos and videos to entries, personalize questions, use a notes section for free writing, and track moods. It also offers look-back reminders and a photographic timeline view. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, it can track your mindful minutes through the Apple Health app and provide insights on personal progress. You can also backup and export your entries for safekeeping. A custom widget on your home screen ensures you never miss a journaling moment.


  • The app encourages a happier outlook on life by promoting gratitude and self-reflection.
  • Its intuitive interface makes journaling and navigation straightforward.
  • Entries are secured with passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID protection.
  • Compatible with multiple devices including iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
  • Allows tracking of mindful minutes in the Apple Health app.
  • Allows for easy backup and export of entries and media.


  • Premium features come at a cost.
  • Some users have reported limited customisation options, lack of daily prompts, limited features in the free version and the paid version as being expensive.

Pricing: The Five Minute Journal application can be downloaded and used for free with optional premium features that can be purchased within the app.

4. The Happy Planner

Best paper planner for fun customization

Image Source: The Happy Planner

Type: Paper Planner

Features: The Happy Planner offers a comprehensive organization system with a customizable layout. The planner features a monthly planning section with ample space for lists and notes, making it perfect for those who appreciate meticulous organization. A variety of dividers and sticker sheets are included for easy identification of your sections, which could range from homework to bills or recipes. The planner’s signature disc-bound design allows for page rearrangement, adding a personal touch. With its 7″ x 9 1/4″ size, it’s portable and fits in most bags. Additionally, the planner comes with various accessories like pocket folders and seasonal sticker packs to enhance your planning experience.


  • The planner’s customizable disc-bound spine provides flexibility to add, remove, and rearrange pages.
  • Suitable size for portability; it easily fits into most bags.
  • Comes with additional accessories such as pocket folders and sticker packs, adding variety and fun to the planning process.


  • Durability may be an issue.
  • The dated format might limit flexibility for those who prefer undated planners.
  • Higher-end designs can be pricey.

Pricing: Available on Amazon at various price points.

5. The Planner Pad

Best paper plan for streamlining tasks

Image Source: The Planner Pad

Type: Paper Planner

Features: The Planner Pad Spiral Bound Organizer is an effective tool designed with an exclusive 3-tier funnel-down system that helps categorize, prioritize, and schedule tasks, facilitating seamless organization of your life. Featuring a 7-day weekly view, it provides a comprehensive perspective of your week, enhancing focus and organization. The slim profile allows for easy writing, while its durable cover suits both desk and on-the-go use. The high-quality white paper stock prevents ink bleed-through for a pleasing planning experience. It claims improved focus and organization within the first month.


  • Its unique 3-Tier Funnel Down Approach facilitates a systematic process to categorize, prioritize, and schedule tasks, boosting efficiency and organization.
  • Allows users to view their entire week at a glance, which helps in managing tasks and time effectively.
  • Easy to carry and use, making it a good choice for those who are on the move.
  • High-quality paper stock prevents ink bleed-through, offering a better writing experience.
  • Includes three years of planning calendars, which is excellent for long-term scheduling and goal setting.


  • The 12-month planning system is available with fixed start date options, which may not be suitable for everyone.
  • With an 8 1/2″ x 11″ dimension, it might be too large for some users’ preferences.
  • Lacks aesthetic and creative appeal of some other planners.
  • Relatively expensive as compared to other physical planners.

Pricing: The Planner Pad can be bought from Amazon for $34.49.


As we’ve navigated through the unique features, pricing, pros, and cons of Akiflow, Day One, Five Minute Journal, The Happy Planner, and The Planner Pad, it’s apparent that each presents its own distinctive way of addressing the needs of adults with ADHD. The variety of options available in today’s market ensure that there’s a solution for every unique individual, regardless of their preference for paper or digital, a simple interface or a comprehensive suite of tools. While Akiflow is the ultimate time-blocking platform and Day One excels in digital organization, Five Minute Journal champions quick, effective gratitude practices. On the other hand, The Happy Planner shines with its customizable design, and The Planner Pad offers a systematic approach to prioritizing tasks. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs, personal preferences, and the areas you’d like to improve or manage. It’s about finding the tool that resonates with you and aids in mastering your time, fostering mindfulness, and promoting productivity. Whichever route you take in 2023, remember that the journey to focus and productivity is a personal one, ideally navigated with a planner or journal that feels like a trusted companion.

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