I spent most of my life thinking I was bad at everything. Turns out it was actually ADHD – something I was diagnosed with later in life. I never learned the necessary coping mechanisms to organize and function as others might have in their formative years.

I have since learned that I can structure my thoughts and actions using apps. I won’t remember daily tasks, but apps do. Together, they provide me with the help I need to function without thinking.

Elizabeth Turk | Digital trends

Instead of googling the “10 best apps for ADHD list” which doesn’t really delve into how apps can really help me, I looked at many others suffering from the same issues as me. We all raised the same question: How can I live like this?

What I needed

Before I even knew I had ADHD, I tried to control my disorganization, procrastination, and forgetfulness by writing notes as reminders. This ended badly, as I then had an outrageous number of lost documents around the house, in my pockets or in the void where specially selected socks go in Narnia’s version of the washing machine.

I tried the Notes app on my phone for years. It was better than paper, but I still ran into the problem where I was creating a lot of notes and none of them had a structure. They would shuffle between deadlines, ideas, to-dos, and reminders. Because of this, they became their own sorting-only work. That in turn would cause me to put off dealing with this mess. To this day I have not looked at them.

Living this way made me constantly frustrated. I needed a single set of tools to keep track of my assignments, keep me reminded of deadlines, and keep and organize my notes. I needed apps to separate my thoughts into work, chores, reminders, and other little tidbits (like remembering that nutrition matters).

Routine plan for daily tasks

While I found a few duds, I dug into some apps that people with ADHD have said help them. After trying these apps, I really feel hopeful.

The application with the greatest rigidity in terms of organization is Routine. It does exactly what I hate to do but need so badly. Daily tasks and chores have always been my bane, sometimes causing me to waste hours watching the clock and avoiding work. It adds urgency to tasks that my ADHD needs to focus on.

HabitNow tracks the screen habits of the phone you're holding.
Elizabeth Turk | Digital trends

After some input on my part, Routinery contained my ideal daily routine down to the minute. This includes making sure to drink water and take breaks when focusing on a hobby (ever spent 14 hours without a break drawing until 8am?). Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my planned schedule, but I’ve learned that I can look at the list throughout the day to remind myself of what I’ve done and what I haven’t done yet.

HabitNow for building habits

In a similar vein, HabitNow does similar structuring for my life, but more with habits. Of which I have nothing. With HabitNow, I could easily add habits I wanted to reinforce and check them off as I did them.

Every day it refreshed and reminded me to make them again. In the past with just notes, even when I was able to remember to try to stick to my habits, I had nothing or someone to hold me accountable. HabitNow reminds me of the deadlines I set for such tasks and keeps pestering me until I check them off. It takes away a lot of mental strain and anxiety by remembering everything for me.

Monday.com organizes my work

Monday.com on the phone screen over two notebooks with pens and notes nearby.
Elizabeth Turk | Digital trends

Regarding the organization of work, Monday.com is perfection. It organizes and shows me all the current deadlines. Including completed work tasks that I may need to recheck. The part that really scratched that itch for my ADHD brain was being allowed to include specific notes about every work task I had.

It was also incredibly easy to navigate and set it all up. I actually enjoyed filling it out as it was such a smooth process. I can’t stress enough how incredibly well Monday.com structures all my work. I still open the app every few hours just to see what’s coming up and what I need to work on.

The forest keeps me on task

An app I really appreciate hasn’t done all that much to organize my life. Instead it helped control i This app is called Forest. You plant a small tree and the app stops you from exiting it to procrastinate, telling you that the seedling will die if you leave before the timer is up.

I don’t know about others, but this is more than enough leverage to convince me to stop and finish my current job. The app gives you the profit to collect and view the tree you have grown in your garden. You can also see all the trees you have grown and how much you have been able to focus. Since ADHD sufferers like myself need more visual representations of their actions, I found this inspiring. I was reminded that I was doing well for myself over and over again in small ways.

Lifesum helps me take care of my body

LifeSum app on phone screen with crackers on store shelf in background.
Elizabeth Turk | Digital trends

The organization of food and diet is not something that many people consider, especially when that person has ADHD. Lifesum, one of the best fitness apps of 2022, I’ve seen others recommend for a bunch of reasons. Many dieting or meal planning apps offer the same features with slight variations, but the one app I fell in love with was the cohesive combination that Lifesum offered.

I can collect recipes, meal plan and make a grocery list to check off while shopping. But what I loved the most was the food diary and progress meter. It tracked calories like any other diet diary, but calculated how much carbs, protein, and fat I needed for my body, and knew how much each food I ate added to those needs. Together, the app was everything I needed food-wise.

Due to ADHD, I – like many others – suffer from the fact that I will focus on comfort food for texture or taste. This sometimes comes at the cost of me neglecting to eat for weeks until my body physically tells me I’ve made a lot of mistakes. At one point I actually made myself anemic from my dietary choices, so having something to help me track if I’m overdoing it is pretty much a lifesaver.

What helped and what didn’t

The biggest help in organizing my life was structuring each part of my needs into the right apps. There is there is no app that can do it all, and if it could, it would be so complicated that I would just give up on it.

Instead, I let Lifesum help me with food and meet my body’s needs. Monday.com has been perfect in keeping my work under control and always visible. I started building life changing habits with HabitNow and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

The routine built my daily schedule so that I could take it when I needed it. 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 follow plans to the minute. Especially since my ADHD shows up in the way I’m constantly digressing.

All 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 capable of dealing with the world and just living. This newfound stability and accountability is a constant reminder of what I need to do so I don’t have to punish myself for remembering things my mind just can’t manage.

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https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-adhd-apps-routinery-habitnow-lifesum/