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ADHD Friendly Apps
Ever find yourself glued to your phone? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! App logos are designed to be colourful and attention grabbing. For people with ADHD this can be very stimulating for the mind and can lead to spending more time looking at our phones than we may like. Siempo (Android), aims to change this relationship by turning our home screens into something a little simpler. You can set your home screen to only display the apps that you use on a regular basis and hide the icon branding which can reducethe desire to procrastinate! Add to this the option to display a personalised ‘intention’, which appears whenever you wake your phone, and a ‘batched notifications’, which allows you to control how often you receive notifications, and you may find that this makes your relationship with your phone a little healthier! The app is currently in beta and will be free until the full version is released so give it a try now! An iOS version is coming soon.
Google Keep (Android/iOS) is a simple note taking app which allows you to make lists, set reminders and take memos. You can use it to keep simple lists and ideas in a ‘sticky note’ format, or if you are a creative type, you can really get stuck in and customize your notes with colours, voice memos and images! People with ADHD may really appreciate the versatility and ease of use of the app, which allows the freedom to organise multiple ‘checkbox’ lists alongside freeform note taking for ideas. Its ease of use is its main selling point.
Fabulous: Motivate Me!
Do you ever find yourself taking on too many good habits at once, and then dropping them all when you start to feel overwhelmed? If you do, then Fabulous: Motivate Me! (Android/iOS) maybe exactly what you are looking for! The app developers have studied the science of routines and have built an app that very much focuses on ‘taking it slow’ and building healthy habits one at a time. The app will start by challenging you to start simple by drinking a glass of water every morning for three days and then add further habits one at a time, every few days. The app is very reward based, giving you satisfying bells and chimes when you complete your habits and offering visual/verbal encouragement and cues to keep you engaged. This may be a useful balance for people with ADHD, as it offers enough variety to keep it engaging, whilst encouraging you to take it steady and try to make the habits ‘sticky’. It is allows you to see all of your habits in a list, with the amount of time they will take to complete, which may be useful for those of us who have trouble estimating how long tasks will take. The app does charge for a subscription for the more in depth features, but you can use it for free as well.
Clearfocus (Android), is an app designed around the ‘Pomodoro’ method. The Pomodoro method is designed to increase productivity by breaking working time into manageable chunks. Generally this will be 25 minute sessions of work, with 5 minute breaks, and a longer break after 4 sessions (pomodoros). The app takes this and integrates it with a simple timer which is fully customisable, allowing you to set longer or shorter pomodoros and breaks. If you have trouble staying focused for longer periods of time then you may find this technique allows you to get more done. Similar apps can be found by searching for‘pomodoro’ in your phones app store.
A great app for gaming enthusiasts! Habitica (Android/iOS) takes the structure of a ‘Role Playing’ computer game and modifies it to reward you (and your game character!) for completing real life daily tasks, habits and items on your to-do list. You are awarded experience and health points every time you complete a task, alongside coins which you can use to either buy in game items for your character, or spend on ‘real life’ rewards, which you can add to the app yourself. You can specify a difficulty level for each task, so the more difficult you find something, the more rewards you will receive when you mark the task as completed. A really exciting app that turns everyday mundane tasks into a game could be just the tonic for some of us in the ADHD community!
If you like the idea of journaling but hate the idea of getting started on a big blank page every day, Journey (Android/iOS) could provide an ideal solution. The app is a take on the traditional paper journal, but can be better for catching quick, concise entries when you are on the go. It could be useful for monitoring your ADHD symptoms, medication or simply for ideas and observations throughout the day. Each entry is date and time stamped and presented in a calendar format, allowing you a quick and easy overview of your journal history.
Not strictly an app designed to help with ADHD itself, however, some people with ADHD report having trouble with focusing on reading and finishing books. An interesting feature on the Kindle (Android/iOS) app is called ‘word runner’. Word runner is a kind of speed reading feature that flashes one word at a time in the centre of the screen, at a pace that suits you. For people with ADHD that wish to try a different technique for reading, this may be helpful, as it forces you to keep your eyes on the screen, and may override the distraction you may feel when reading the traditional way.
If traditional or speed reading don’t work for your brand of ADHD, you may have more luck with Audio books! Audible (Android/iOS) offers a free trial for new users which gives you chance to sample anaudio book for no expense. Some of the time the authors themselves narrate the book which can give you a different experience from reading the book yourself.
One of the best podcast apps around, Pocketcast (Android/iOS) can give you access to some of the most educational ADHD podcasts out there. Some of my recommended podcasts include:
ADDitude – ADHD experts
ADHD Support Talk Radio
Faster than Normal
See in ADHD
Taking Control – The ADHD podcast
Search for ADHD within the app and you should find all of these podcasts for free download.
Forest (Android/iOS) is a cute app that allows you to grow virtual trees! The idea behind it is that you tell the app how long you wish to stay off your phone for, and if you can avoid using your phone for that amount of time, you’ll be notified that your virtual tree has grown! Once you’ve done this enough times you’ll have your very own virtual forest! Very useful and rewarding for those of us who use our phones to procrastinate a little too often!
A meditation app, designed and narrated by a former Buddhist monk, Headspace (Android, iOS) has ballooned in popularity since its inception in 2010. Whilst meditation may not suit everyone with ADHD, mindfulness could help you develop a greater awareness of your symptoms and an increased ability to manage them. It can also be excellent for treating some of the co-morbid conditions that may occur such as depression and anxiety. Of course, sitting still with our thoughts can be extra challenging for those with ADHD, but the app can really help with this, as it offers short meditations ranging from 3-10 minutes and really focuses on being forgiving towards yourself when your mind starts to pogo! The layout is beautiful and easy to use and makes great use of colour and animation. The app does run a subscription based model but you can try the first 10 days for free now.
Daylio (Android/iOS) is another diary/journal based app but may be of benefit to those who struggle to get started on writing entries. The journal works by simply selecting your mood at any given time during the day, using 5 faces, ranging from super smiley, to very sad, and then asks you to select what you’ve been doing from a list of activities. You can add your own custom activities and over time, you’ll be able to view statistics to see if patterns emerge and how they relate to your mood. Really easy to maintain and fantastic for those who want to monitor their moods in the simplest way possible.
The king of procrastination apps, who of us hasn’t spent a few hours going down a YouTube rabbit hole of cat videos, or monkeys riding on the back of pigs (is that just me then)?! However, you may be interested to know that once you’ve finished those videos, YouTube has a wealth of great ADHD resources. One such resource is a wonderful channel called ‘How to ADHD’, hosted by a young woman called Jessica who has ADHD herself. In the short snappy videos, Jessica explores a variety of ADHD topics in an informative, engaging and humorous way. She’s nearing 200,000 subscribers who share tips and thoughts in the comments section so go ahead and check it out today!