Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately nine million American adults, or roughly four percent of the population. While some symptoms, such as short attention span, hyperactivity, and difficulty focusing are commonly known, they can also manifest in lesser-known symptoms such as hyper-focus and impulsivity. This broad range of symptoms can make something that is routine for some, such as an average workday, uniquely challenging for others.
For those with ADHD, today’s fast-paced work environment can prove disheartening. Adults struggling with ADHD may find themselves missing quotas, being passed on for promotions, or worse. Working with ADHD, in a get-it-done-yesterday environment is no easy task. Luckily, in today’s tech-forward world, there are plenty of ways to make the workday more manageable—from simple apps you can find on your phone, all the way to fully functional work suites.
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Mental health and symptoms of ADHD are no longer the enemies of productivity with the help of some new tech tools. Below are five tools that can drastically reduce symptoms for employees, or students, with ADHD.
1. Google Calendar
Just about every phone on earth comes with a calendar app now, but when working with teams, Google Calendar might be the best option around. Google Calendar has many great features for collaboration, allowing users to schedule meetings, set future reminders, and share their schedules with others. Not to mention, Google Calendar is completely free. For ADHD patients, calendars are an amazing tool. And, for small teams with busy schedules, they have the power to force structure on a daunting day.
2. Forest (Android and iPhone)
The Pomodoro technique is the oldest technique on this list, but with Forest, it comes with a tech twist. Many people consider it a productivity hack gone digital. The traditional Pomodoro technique relies on set timers for productivity. The process is simple: work for 25 uninterrupted minutes (full screen is your friend here!), and then take a break for five. Then, continue doing this throughout your entire workday.
Forest takes this classic approach to productivity and adds a visual element—a literal forest. As you work, your trees grow. It encourages users to put down their phones, by “gamifying” their distraction. If you need help staying focused, Forest can transform how you see your time. Think of it as a way to point ADHD hyper-focus in the right direction. It’s only $1.99, making it a very affordable tool.
3. Natural Readers
The inability, or at least struggle, to focus is the most classic symptom of ADHD. Have you ever been stuck reading the same paragraph over and over and getting absolutely nothing out of it? For those with ADHD, having a good text-to-speech feature can be an absolute lifesaver when stuck in a rut.
While many programs now feature text-to-speech for accessibility reasons, some of these programs are better than others. But, Natural Readers is one of the best out there. It features naturalistic voices, rather than robotic voices, so you can find your ideal reader. While its free version is more than enough to power through a tough day, its premium options are where it really shines. Natural Reader’s Premium service features some of the best voices in the text-to-speech world with its Chrome extension and unlimited usage.
4. MindNode (Mac OS)
Adults with ADHD can be just as intelligent, forward-thinking, and innovative as anyone else. In fact, some studies have even suggested that creativity and ADHD might go hand-in-hand. But what do you do when you have a great idea that you just can’t articulate?
This is where MindNode saves the day. MindNode is available for free, or for $19.99 per year for their premium version. This innovative tool offers users a visual brainstorming app that clearly traces how one idea leads to the next, and so on. In an office environment, where communicating big ideas is necessary for moving up in an organization, MindNode can provide a stylish and organized interface to turn big ideas into big proposals.
5. Asana (Android and iPhone)
The workplace is seldom linear. More often than not, it requires near acrobatic levels of attention splitting. For people with ADHD, this can prove to be a non-starter. Luckily, Asana was built to maintain momentum.
Asana is a free program that lets you juggle the multi-faceted nature of work. It allows you to organize, track, and manage your way to success so your brain doesn’t have to. It also includes calendars, goals, and a centralized hub for communication. If you’re working with teams and need your attention divided a hundred ways at once, Asana can be a master tool in your back pocket. With their premium or business option, your whole team can conquer their tasks too.
Do You Have ADHD?
If you believe you have ADHD because of the symptoms described in blog posts, such as the ones from Mind Diagnostics, you should see a counselor or doctor. Although ADHD may not seem like a serious mental health condition, it can cause frustration and a lack of productivity. In some severe cases, it can even cause anger issues. So, do seek help from a professional as quickly as possible. They can also help you decide which of the tools above would be the most beneficial for you.