Almost all my life I thought I was bad at, well, everything. It actually turned out to be ADHD – something I was diagnosed with later in life. I never learned the necessary coping mechanisms to organize myself and function as others would have done in their early years.
Since then I have learned that I can structuring my thoughts and actions using apps† I won’t remember the daily tasks, but the apps will. Together they give me the help I need to function without thinking about it.
Instead of searching for a “top 10 best list of ADHD apps” on Google that doesn’t really go into how the apps can actually help me, I looked at the many others who were suffering from the same issues as myself. We all asked the same question: how do I live like this?
Before I even knew I had ADHD, I tried to control my lack of organization, ever-present urge to procrastinate and forgetfulness by writing notes to myself as mnemonics. This ended badly, as I had by then lost a scandalous amount of papers in the house, in my pockets or in the void where specially selected socks go into the washing machine version of Narnia.
I tried the Notes app on my phone for years. It was better than paper, but I still ran into the problem that I would take a lot of notes and none of them had structure. They mixed between deadlines, ideas, chores and reminders. Therefore, they became a job of their own to sort them out. This, in turn, would make me procrastinate dealing with that mess. To this day I still haven’t watched them.
Living like this made me constantly frustrated. I needed a unified set of tools to keep track of my tasks, constantly remind me of deadlines, and take and organize my notes. I needed apps that would divide my thoughts into work, chores, reminders, and other little tidbits (like remembering that food matters).
Despite finding a few duds, I’ve been messing around with apps that people with ADHD said helped them. After trying these apps, I feel real hopeful†
The app with the most rigidity regarding organization is routine† It does exactly what I hate to do, but need so badly. Daily tasks and chores have always been my curse, sometimes causing me to waste hours staring at the clock and avoiding work. This adds urgency to the tasks my ADHD needs to actually focus on them.
After some input from my side, Routinery contained my ideal daily routine down to the minute. This included abstaining from drinking water and taking breaks when hyperfocusing on a hobby (ever drawn 14 hours without a break until 8 a.m.?). Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the planned schedule, but I’ve learned that I can look at the list all day to remind myself what I’ve done and what I haven’t done yet.
In a similar vein, HabitNow does similar structuring for my life but more with habits. Which I don’t have. HabitNow made it easy for me to enter habits I wanted to reinforce and tick them off the way I did them.
Every day it would refresh and remind me to do them again. In the past with only notes, even when I managed to remember to try and keep up with habits, I had nothing or anyone to hold me accountable. HabitNow reminds me of my set deadlines for such tasks and keeps pestering me until I check them off. It takes away a lot of mental tension and anxiety by remembering everything for me.
As for organizing work, monday.com is perfection. It organizes and shows me all my current deadlines. Including completed work tasks that I may need to recheck. The part that really made the itch for my ADHD brain was that I was allowed to record certain notes on every work task I had.
It was also incredibly easy to navigate and set this all up. I really enjoyed filling it out as it was such a smooth process. I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly well Monday.com has structured all my work. I still open the app every few hours to see what’s going on and what I need to work on.
One app I really appreciated didn’t do much to organize my life. Instead it helped check me. That app is called Forest† You plant a small tree and the app stops you from delaying it by telling you that the seedling will die if you leave before the timer runs out.
I don’t know about others, but that’s more than enough leverage to convince me to take a break and finish my current work. The app gives you the reward of collecting and seeing that tree you have grown in your yard. You can also see all the trees you’ve grown and how much you’ve been able to focus. Since people with ADHD like me need more visual representations of their actions, I found this inspiring. I was reminded that over and over again I was doing good for myself in small ways.
Food and nutrition organization is not something many people consider, especially if that person has ADHD. sum of lifeone of the the best fitness apps of 2022, was one that I saw others recommend for a ton of reasons. Many diet or food organization apps all offered the same features with slight variations, but the one app I fell in love with was the cohesive mix that Lifesum offered.
I could collect recipes, create a meal plan, and create a shopping list that I could check off while shopping. But what I loved most was the food diary and progress meter. It tracked calories like any other food diary, but this calculated how much carbs, protein, and fat I should have for my body and knew how much each food I ate was contributing to those needs. Together, the app was all I needed in terms of food.
Because of ADHD, like many others, I suffer from hyperfocusing on comfort foods for texture or taste. This sometimes happens at the cost of ignoring nutrition for weeks until my body physically tells me I’ve made a lot of mistakes. At one point, I gave myself anemia from my food choices, so having something to track if I’m going overboard is almost literally a life saver.
The biggest help in organizing my life has been structuring every part of my needs into the right apps. There is no app can do everythingand if I could, it would be so complicated I’d just give up.
Instead, I let Lifesum help me eat and track my body’s needs. Monday.com was perfect for keeping my work under control and always visible. I’ve started building life-changing habits with HabitNow and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
Routine built up my daily schedule so I could pick it up when I needed to. The only thing I still struggle with is that it’s a little too rigid in planning every little thing I do. With my daily schedule, I can hardly ever keep up with plans to the minute. Especially now that my ADHD manifests itself in the way I constantly get sidetracked.
That said, there is something extremely magical about being able to take care of myself without depending on others. I finally feel like I’m a little more able to take on the world and just live. This newfound stability and responsibility is a constant reminder of what I should be doing so that I don’t have to punish myself for remembering things that my mind just can’t keep up with.