Jordan McMahon


Wiring Your Tech to Fight ADHD: Everything At Your Fingertips

I spend most of my working day on my feet. This is great because I get restless, but it means I’m not always able to quickly jot things down or get to things that need immediate attention. As a result I often push those things to the back of my forgetful brain and lose track of them before I’m able to sit down and tend to them.

I’ve worked around this problem by always having my phone close by and using it as my digital utility belt, containing all of my essential tools and keeping them within arm’s reach. Without it, I’d be no more successful than I was a year after being diagnosed with ADHD.

In eighth grade my teacher confronted me in front of my mother about my poor grades. She asked me why I hadn’t been turning in my homework. When her questions were met with stutters and half-hearted excuses, she asked me to hand her my binder. When she saw what was inside, she unzipped it completely and turned it upside down so all of the crumbled and unorganized papers inside fell to the floor.

“Perhaps if your son organized his paperwork he could actually do his homework and turn it in so we wouldn’t need to have these meetings,” she said. I was humiliated. It wasn’t that I neglected organizing my work, it was a foreign concept to me. I operated under the assumption that I could place everything into one location and I would remember to get back to them later.

I thought about those words a lot as I looked to my iPhone for a solution to the poorly-managed pile of tasks and chores ADHD had left me with.

Widgets are always a right-swipe away

I’ve found iOS widgets to be the most powerful way to keep me productive and stress-free by providing a home for the tools and information I rely on to get my work done.

Widgets are always a right-swipe away from your lock screen, home screen, and notifications panel, so no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can grab your phone and find what you’re looking for.

My widget panel contains all of the apps I use throughout the day, and nothing more, to provide a distraction-free environment for quickly sifting through tasks. With it I’m able to record ideas while they’re still fresh in my mind, jump right into one of the projects I need to spend some time on, and check my calendar and todo list to get through my daily tasks.

Swipe right for productivity

I’ve avoided over-complicating this panel because it can easily be weighed down with items that take up more space than they provide assistance.

When you’re organizing your widgets, it’s important to know where to start so you don’t find yourself adding every widget available and being so overwhelmed that you never want to access them again.

To avoid this, think about the role your phone plays in how you get work done. Then, look at the apps you use the most for that work to see how having quick access to them can make getting your work done faster and easier.

When you’re done you’ll have a focused and organized page of your most important apps that are always a swipe and a tap away.

With a clean, simple, and goal-oriented widget panel, you can streamline your workflow and visualize how your apps can better work together to save time and energy, both of which are in short supply when struggling with ADHD.

Jordan McMahon