Planning Her AuDHD Way with Sabra Gilbert

Raise your hand if you have bought a planner, used it for a good two weeks, and then left it to die in a drawer or doom pile filled with more planners. The complexities that are being multi-passionate, and an intense planner who may or may not need flexibility leads you to a planner graveyard. You can never find something that is both rigid and flexible. You’re not asking for a lot right?!

If you raised your hand then this week’s episode with Angela and Molly is just what you need. Guest Sabra Gilbert is here to talk about how she decided enough was enough–and design her own Chaos Coordinator Planner that’s perfect for the Neurodivergent User.

It wasn’t planned

“[B]ig life events trigger the ADHD,” says Sabra as she explains how becoming a parent played into discovering that not only is she AuDHD, but also that her whole family is neurodivergent. Understanding this helped her understand how she successfully went from a horse obsessed biology major to loving social media, blogging, and photography, to starting her own virtual assistant business, being a secular homeschool parent and admin of an international secular homeschooling group, and creating The Chaos Coordinator Planner. That is some beautiful non-linear processing and problem-solving, right there! None of it was planned, but it is being lived and adjustments are being made to create the best possible experience for herself and her family.

Time Blindness, Object Permanence, and Overscheduling

Sabra says, “I would overschedule the crap out of myself on those [day planners] because I have extreme time blindness” (21:36). Yeah, we have all been there. That’s exactly what happens. As Molly points out, we need both flexibility and structure, and we need something that we both want to engage with and are ABLE to engage with (20:04). “Does anyone else need it, like open constantly to actually be able to use it? Because if I, if I close it, if it goes underneath something, it’s just gone. It’s gone, bye, it doesn’t exist. I’ll see you in a month” (Sabra, 23:48). That’s nothing to be ashamed of. It is the reality and one which most planners don’t take into account so they sit there staring out at you shaming you when you find it and want to try again. Those pages you ripped out left it feeling wrong or you feel awful because of all the blank pages and money you wasted by not using them. Not an issue with the Chaos Coordinator Planner!

If I could be organized, I would already be.

Look, having a planner isn’t going to fix all the things. There will still be issues. And if you aren’t organized, you aren’t organized. Molly adds, “my brain is doing 300 things at once that I cannot organize…” which contributes to personal hygiene being a struggle so sometimes that needs to be planned out and intentional (35:17).  “Don’t do it on your own!…Get the planner and then work with somebody. It’s okay to ask for help and ask for support…self awareness is hard. And it takes time, effort and energy. But without that we expend so much time, effort and energy on things that we don’t want to.  Our lives become completely non-consensual. Right? And that’s where burnout comes from” (Angela, 37:35)

Seriously, y’all. Let’s be real. Sabra understands chaos. She LIVES chaos. Chasing two little neurodivergent kiddos, homeschooling, running a business, keeping 5 other animals alive while handling her own sensory issues and AuDHD? Chaos. And that’s where the Chaos Coordinator Planner was born. A place to plan #allthethings in a way that kept her time blindness and object permanence in check.


Sabra Gilbert’s Chaos Coordinator Planner

Sabra on Instagram

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