Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are complex and there can be many symptoms, but generally adults who are living with ADHD face difficulties staying organized and focusing on the task at hand.
Most experts agree that productivity apps or day planners can help those with ADHD manage their lives. The LifeTopix app is designed specifically for life management. It includes 12 life topics: Tasks + Projects, Shopping, Events, Travel + Places, People + Services, Health + Activity, Finances, Home + Assets, Education, Notes + Files, Media, and Bookmarks.
The simple routines and strategies I’ve outlined below can put those living with adult ADHD on the road to getting better organized and avoiding excess stress.
Being on Time
Those living with ADHD generally have difficulties being on time, whether it’s showing up or paying bills. Often they become distracted and lose track of time. This can lead to problems with relationships and difficulties at work because the perception is that the person is inconsiderate and disorganized.
A strategy for always being on time is to schedule every item to which the person has committed to on their calendar, and to make sure that audible and visual reminders are set. Add a buffer to each appointment. For example, if an appointment is at 12:00, schedule the prep time and the actual appointment on the calendar, as shown below.
In LifeTopix, I’d suggest changing the settings so a reminder is triggered at the time of the appointment. For example, go to Settings and set Other (which includes Appointments) to Remind on same day as shown below. This way, the reminder will sound and display at the time of the appointment, which will trigger a prompt.
Also, define how many days in advance that’s required to address paying bills. As soon as a bill is received, pay it or schedule a reminder for the payment in the LifeTopix Finances topic.
Managing money could be a post all by itself, but keep in mind, for those with ADHD, micromanaging budgets is the key to success. According to HelpGuide.org, “Start by keeping track of every expense, no matter how small, for a month (yes, thirty days). This will allow you to effectively analyze where your money is going.”
Living with ADHD can lead to impulsive buying so keeping track of even the smallest purchases keeps spending in check. With LifeTopix, those with ADHD can record expenses, schedule payments on their calendars, add accounts, track bank accounts, create payment templates, track charitable donations, track assets, and take financial notes. The following screenshot shows an overview of the Finances topic showing the items that can be managed.
Prioritizing, Starting, and Completing Tasks
Those affected by ADHD might have serious problems with prioritizing, starting, and completing tasks. It helps to have an understanding of the tasks’ steps so breaking them down into smaller tasks and recording them via a planner are both good strategies. It’s also difficult to stay focused for a length of time on large tasks, so breaking them down helps to achieve finalization.
Every day, most people have tasks that they need to complete. Some are transient, mundane, and routine — like making the bed or feeding pets. Others are more strategic, such as tasks that allow them to complete large home or work projects. LifeTopix includes the ability to record both through checklists (to-do lists) and tasks.
Checklists (to-do lists)
It’s important to make a list of the items that need to be completed each day. Establish a consistent time to complete these tasks so they become routine. The short, transient tasks can be recorded via LifeTopix checklists. These tasks include make beds, prepare lunches, lock doors, feed pets, etc. In LifeTopix, users can create to-do lists on the fly in their main Agenda view. A to-do list might look something like the following screenshot.
Projects + Tasks
Break large-scale projects into smaller units (tasks), such as planning an overall house de-cluttering project. This is a project that could take several weeks or months, depending on the home size and free time allowed. For a large de-cluttering project, breaking down the project into smaller tasks, such as 1) Install fridge bins, 2) Clean out junk drawer, 3) Install appliance garage, etc. paints a realistic view of the time commitment, breaks the project into manageable chunks, and allows the project to be completed over time.
LifeTopix projects can include associated tasks (and other items). To properly plan, tasks include description, status, priority, effort (time), started/finished date/time, category, location, and repeat options. These options help to establish a deadline and total amount of time to completion. Scheduling dates enable the tasks to be shown on the Calendar, ensuring visibility and accountability. The following screenshots show a LifeTopix project and list of broken-down tasks for the project.
Tracking Negative Behaviors
Adults with ADHD are more likely to abuse alcohol, smoke, or abuse drugs. Professional help is needed for those who suffer from abuse; however, tracking any undesirable behavior can be useful. For example, regular monitoring of alcohol consumption can detect binge drinking episodes.
The LifeTopix app includes monitoring through log forms. The types of items and units recorded are user configurable. The following screenshot shows an example of a log form and the log entries for alcohol consumption.
Forgetting to take medications is a common complaint from those living with ADHD. It’s common to forget when medications were taken and at times a reminder is also needed. Taking medications can be part of a daily routine to-do list or device reminders can be used.
LifeTopix includes built-in functionally for logging medications such as the dose, frequency, and side effects. This provides patients and doctors with data that indicates whether the medication is appropriate. It’s possible to add any type of medication and log any side effect. Furthermore, graphs show correlations between medications and side effects that are tracked.
The following screenshot shows an example of a multi-topic log form with medication and a side effect on a scale from 1 to 10, such as anxiety.
Implementing Healthy Routines
Good nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise are important for everyone to achieve optimal health, but become especially important for those with ADHD. Research shows that some individuals have the ability to eliminate medications when they exercise regularly. And nutrition also plays in important role.
According to Additudemag.com, “Studies by Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist Richard Wurtman Ph.D., and others have shown that protein triggers alertness-inducing neurotransmitters, while carbohydrates trigger drowsiness.” Moreover, according to Livestrong, “Harvard Medical School’s associate professor of psychiatry John Ratey explains that some people who show symptoms of an attention deficit disorder may still need medication even when they do exercise, but others may be able to stop using stimulants altogether with an increase of physical activity.”
LifeTopix multi-topic log forms can also be created for nutrition, exercise, sleep, and associated ADHD symptoms. The method in which these forms are created is the same as with medication logs and side effects (discussed earlier), and are managed in the LifeTopix Health + Activity topic.
Under Committing and Over Delivering
Due to impulsive behavior, those living with ADHD take on too many commitments and tend to over promise. Under committing and over delivering might appear to be dishonest, but for those with ADHD it can be used as an effective strategy. Consider the level of commitment before taking on a project or event. Before committing, let the requester know that consulting with a calendar or planner is necessary. Schedule a reminder to ensure the requester receives an answer in a timely manner. Review lists of projects, tasks, and to-dos to ensure that delivery is possible.
The LifeTopix Tasks + Projects topic allows users to gain awareness of the number of projects and the time committed. Also, the Agenda view (shown below) provides a high-level overview of the the current day, the next day, and the next seven days allowing the user to quickly evaluate the upcoming commitments and manage them as necessary.
Please let us know if you have any comments or questions, and please share your experiences about how you use LifeTopix to help you manage ADHD symptoms.