Jordan McMahon

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Wiring Your Tech to Fight ADHD: A Place for Ideas

 One of the perks of ADHD is that when your mind is always running at a seemingly unstoppable rate you’re bound to come up with some great ideas. Unfortunately, the rate at which you tend to forget those ideas is often even faster. This has caused me to lose ideas for screenplays, articles, and the occasional funny tweet. It’s also caused me to neglect scheduling events, putting tasks into my todo list, sending important messages, and lose other tidbits of text that I might have needed to get my work done.  After being left with notions of great ideas that I couldn’t recall, it was time to find a solution to the forgetfulness ADHD gifted me with. For the past several years I’ve been using a two-part solution that ensures my ideas are captured, stored, and managed effectively no matter where I am.  The first piece of this system is a  Field Notes  notebook I carry with me whenever I can. It’s great for writing down little ideas and quips, but it isn’t always ideal. The problem with relying on a notebook is that sometimes you’re not in a place where you can write something down, and your ideas don’t stop when your ability to take note of them does.  Since  productivity starts with the device we use the most , I turned to my phone in the hopes that an app could save my ideas from being lost forever. In my search, there was no shortage of note-taking apps that served this purpose, but I’ve found  Drafts  to be the best tool for the job. It set the standard for managing text and it’s the best way to make sure my ideas are written down while they’re still fresh in my mind.  Your ideas come first; you can organize and take action on them once they’re secure   

One of the perks of ADHD is that when your mind is always running at a seemingly unstoppable rate you’re bound to come up with some great ideas. Unfortunately, the rate at which you tend to forget those ideas is often even faster. This has caused me to lose ideas for screenplays, articles, and the occasional funny tweet. It’s also caused me to neglect scheduling events, putting tasks into my todo list, sending important messages, and lose other tidbits of text that I might have needed to get my work done.

After being left with notions of great ideas that I couldn’t recall, it was time to find a solution to the forgetfulness ADHD gifted me with. For the past several years I’ve been using a two-part solution that ensures my ideas are captured, stored, and managed effectively no matter where I am.

The first piece of this system is a Field Notes notebook I carry with me whenever I can. It’s great for writing down little ideas and quips, but it isn’t always ideal. The problem with relying on a notebook is that sometimes you’re not in a place where you can write something down, and your ideas don’t stop when your ability to take note of them does.

Since productivity starts with the device we use the most, I turned to my phone in the hopes that an app could save my ideas from being lost forever. In my search, there was no shortage of note-taking apps that served this purpose, but I’ve found Drafts to be the best tool for the job. It set the standard for managing text and it’s the best way to make sure my ideas are written down while they’re still fresh in my mind.

Your ideas come first; you can organize and take action on them once they’re secure

 

Drafts sets itself apart from the competition by working under the assumption that your ideas come first; you can organize and take action on them once they’re secure. When you open the app you’re greeted by a blank note page and a keyboard so you can immediately get to typing, ensuring that you have time to get the idea out before your brain convinces you it has a more important thought to get to.

The power of Drafts lies in what happens next. Most note-taking apps try to work as a place to store your notes; Drafts has little interest in filling that role. Instead it acts as an operator who will take your text as it comes in and send it to its proper destination using its powerful Actions system. Whether I’m tracking an idea for an upcoming article, messing with a potentially funny tweet, planning my next appointment, inputting a task into my todo list, or adding ideas to an existing note, Drafts is equipped to handle that and more. It’s become the central place where all of my thoughts and ideas begin.

Given the abundance of apps that Drafts can integrate with, it’s easy to build a collection of Actions that can be difficult to sort through. Drafts manages this by letting you create organized tabs for your Actions. By creating silos for different types of Actions you’ll ensure that the time between hitting the last key and recording your thoughts is painless and swift.

To avoid the clutter that reinforces the troubles of ADHD, it’s best to separate your Actions by the types of text they handle and what purposes they serve in your work. I have mine organized into four tabs, each labeled by a single emoji to keep the tabs short and make their purposes clear: Writing, Productivity, Social, and Tools. With these four tabs I’m able to quickly find the Action I need without much effort so I can get back to work.

When you’re prone to forgetting a majority of the thoughts that enter your brain each day, every second counts. Orchestrating your system to resist this and keep track of your ideas takes time, but Drafts is your best shot at logging the most important things that come to mind, whatever they may be.

Gone are the days of racking my brain trying to recall that Great Idea I Can’t Remember for the Life of Me.

Throughout my four years with Drafts I’ve gone from ineffectively using it to store all of my ideas the same way I would Apple’s stock Notes.app, to flooding it with actions I never actually used, and finally letting it take its place as the most frequently-used app on my phone. Gone are the days of racking my brain trying to recall that Great Idea I Can’t Remember for the Life of Me.

Drafts can’t solve the problem of a spacey and forgetful brain, but it can alleviate the pain of not having a way to record your thoughts before they’re gone. It can be overwhelming at first, but with time it can be a powerful tool in your fight against ADHD. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your best ideas are safe and sound, ready to be accessed whenever you need them.

Jordan McMahon