back to Blog

Top 8 ADHD-Friendly Productivity Tools

Introduction

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is estimated that ADHD affects around 5% of adults globally.

ADHD can make it challenging to focus, prioritize tasks, organize thoughts and belongings, manage time, and control impulses. This can negatively impact productivity in education, work, and daily life. The fast-paced digital age we live in today, with its constant distractions and expectation of multi-tasking, can exacerbate these issues.

However, there are strategies and tools that can help individuals with ADHD minimize the impact on productivity. This article outlines some of the top ADHD-friendly productivity tools and how they can address common challenges. With the right support, those with ADHD can thrive and succeed in the digital age.

Prioritization Tools

Prioritization tools are essential for people with ADHD to stay productive and focused on the most important tasks. Here are some of the top prioritization tools:

  • Eisenhower Matrix: This tool helps you categorize tasks into four quadrants – urgent/important, not urgent/important, urgent/not important, and not urgent/not important. This method allows you to focus on the urgent/important tasks first. Apps like Prioritizer and Eisenhower Matrix help you implement this system digitally.
  • Priority Matrix: This tool by Dovetail helps you categorize tasks based on effort, impact, and urgency. You can then filter tasks to see your top priorities. The tool ensures you’re working on high-impact tasks first.
  • Kanban: Kanban boards like Trello allow you to visually organize tasks into columns based on status – backlog, in progress, and completed. This provides an at-a-glance view of what you should be working on now based on priority

The key benefit of using these tools is to objectively prioritize tasks. For people with ADHD who struggle with executive functioning and time blindness, having an external system for prioritization can significantly boost productivity. These tools provide structure and ensure important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.

Task Management

Task management apps help people with ADHD stay organized and focused by providing features to prioritize tasks, set reminders, and manage to-do lists. They can help reduce the overwhelm that comes with keeping track of responsibilities.

Todoist
Todoist is one of the most popular and full-featured task management apps. It provides the ability to organize tasks into projects and set priorities. Todoist offers reminders, due dates, notes, filters, and productivity analytics to stay on top of your workload. The app synchronizes between devices and integrates with other productivity apps. Todoist has free and premium versions available.

Microsoft To Do
Microsoft To Do is a simple, user-friendly task manager. It makes it easy to create task lists, set reminders, organize tasks into categories, and mark items as complete. To Do synchronizes across devices and integrates with Microsoft apps like Outlook. It has free apps available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. The tool helps focus your workload while providing a straightforward interface.

One issue with To Do lists for ADHD people is that they can often become overwhelming and counterproductive, as the extensive list of tasks can lead to anxiety and difficulty in prioritizing, making it hard to focus on and complete individual tasks effectively.

Focus Tools

Maintaining focus is one of the biggest challenges for people with ADHD. There are several digital tools that can help enhance focus and minimize distractions.

FocalFilter
FocalFilter is a website and browser extension that works as a distraction blocker. It allows you to block selected websites and apps that tend to be distracting. You can set time limits for how long you want to block access to these sites. FocalFilter is great for staying focused when you need to get work done on your computer without clicking over to social media or news sites.

Forest
Forest is a popular productivity app that helps you stay focused by letting you grow virtual trees. You set a timer for how long you want to stay focused. While the timer is running, you cannot use your phone or the tree will die. This creates a fun incentive to stay off your phone and focused on your work. The app works across various platforms.

Momentum
Momentum is a Chrome extension that replaces your new tab page. The Momentum dashboard shows useful info like your daily goals, to-do list, weather, and inspiration quotes. It has a built-in pomodoro timer to help you stay focused for 25-minute bursts. The simple, clean interface minimizes distractions so you can concentrate.

Timer-based apps can be beneficial for ADHD as they serve as a compelling prompt to action. However, it’s important to ensure that this focus on timed tasks doesn’t lead to just being busy for the sake of it, but rather is directed towards working on the right priorities.

Organization Tools

Staying organized is one of the biggest challenges for people with ADHD. Our brains love to jump from thought to thought, making it difficult to keep things in their proper places. Thankfully, there are some great digital tools that can help.

Trello
Trello uses a kanban-style board to organize tasks and projects into columns and cards. You can create boards for different areas of your life, add checklists to cards, set due dates, and @mention others. This visual system makes it easy to move tasks between different stages and see what needs your attention.

Evernote
Evernote is a digital notebook that lets you capture ideas, to-do lists, images, audio, scanned documents, and more in one searchable place. You can tag notes, organize them into Notebooks, and access your content from any device. Evernote is great for jotting down thoughts and linking related items together while keeping everything neatly organized.

Notion
Notion is an all-in-one workspace for notes, documents, wikis, databases, and task management. It’s extremely flexible and customizable to suit your organizational style. Notion makes it easy to create structured databases for your content while connecting disparate information in one digital workspace. Relationships, tags, and linked databases help you stay organized.

LittleWinsApp.com
My top recommendation is LittleWinsApp.com, an app I personally developed. It’s built on the philosophy of celebrating small achievements to maintain motivation and focus. Perfect for ADHD individuals, it allows you to break down tasks into manageable wins, fostering a positive mindset and enhancing task completion.

Try my app here: https://littlewinsapp.com/register

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping tools provide visual representations of ideas and connections that can help people with ADHD plan, organize thoughts, and see the big picture. Rather than linear text, mind maps use branches, colors, images and more to mirror the nonlinear way an ADHD brain can work. Mind mapping engages visual and spatial processing skills in the brain which can aid focus, memory, and task initiation.

Some excellent ADHD-friendly mind mapping tools include:

Coggle – This free online tool allows you to easily create colorful mind maps with text, images, and shapes. You can collapse branches to focus on specific ideas or details. Coggle makes it simple to organize thoughts and break down bigger tasks visually.

MindMeister – For a full-featured mind mapping application, MindMeister has robust functionality for brainstorming, planning projects, structuring writing, and more. It has sketch and handwriting integration, task sections for mapping out steps, and ways to share and collaborate on maps with others. The features cater towards visual thinkers.

Mind mapping can help people with ADHD bypass overwhelm when getting started on projects. It provides an overview of connections between ideas. Mapping engages ADHD brains creatively and taps into visualization superpowers. The structures aid complex problem-solving, studying, writing, and task initiation.

One issue with mind mapping is that you end up spending hours setting up and managing your mind maps. ADHD people don’t do well with these expansive and complex tools. Simplicity is key and you should aim for minimalism if you end up using a min mapping app.

Digital Assistants

Digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant can be great productivity tools for people with ADHD. They provide hands-free help to set reminders, alarms, and calendars which can aid with time blindness and forgetting important tasks or events.

Some ADHD-specific digital assistant skills have been developed as well. For example, the Skillist skill for Alexa allows you to set up custom reminders and routines to help stay focused and on-track throughout your day. You can create reminders to take breaks, drink water, change tasks, take medication, or any other routine that benefits your productivity. Alexa can then gently prompt you to follow your personalized routine.

Another useful digital assistant is Google Assistant, which has a routine called “Pay Attention” that’s designed for ADHD management. This routine guides you through a short breathing exercise to regain focus when you feel distracted. The Google Assistant app also allows you to set up custom reminders, alarms, and other prompts to help stay on task. Using a digital assistant removes the need to manually set up these beneficial prompts.

Timer Tools

When you have ADHD, staying focused on a task for an extended period of time can be challenging. Timer tools are useful for breaking up work into focused “sprints” to help enhance productivity.

Pomodoro timer apps like Forest and Flora turn productivity into a game by planting a virtual tree that grows while you stay focused on your work. If you switch to another tab during the 25-minute “pomodoro” the tree dies, providing motivation to stay on task. These apps also have built-in break reminders after each 25-minute period.

For setting customized productivity timers, TimerTab is a Chrome extension that allows you to set a timer that runs inconspicuously in your browser tab. Be Focused is another option that lets you customize timed sessions and track productivity.

Using a simple timer tool can make a big difference in maintaining focus for individuals with ADHD. Setting short, structured time blocks encourages staying present instead of getting derailed.

Timer-based apps can be beneficial for ADHD as they serve as a compelling prompt to action. However, it’s important to ensure that this focus on timed tasks doesn’t lead to just being busy for the sake of it, but rather is directed towards working on the right priorities.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise and distraction can severely impact productivity for people with ADHD. Noise-canceling headphones are an excellent tool to block out external sounds and allow you to focus.

Here are two top-rated noise-canceling headphone options:

Bose QuietComfort 45

  • Over-ear design with soft ear cups that completely cover your ears
  • Active noise cancellation uses microphones to cancel external noise
  • Noise-rejecting dual microphone system for clear calls
  • 24 hours of battery life per charge
  • Comfortable enough to wear for extended periods
  • Can connect to multiple devices at once

Sony WH-1000XM5

  • Industry-leading noise canceling with Sony’s proprietary processor
  • Lightweight and comfortable with soft fit leather headband and ear pads
  • 30 hours of battery life with quick charging
  • Touch controls to easily manage music, calls, and your preferred noise canceling mode
  • Speak-to-chat feature that automatically pauses when you speak

Noise-canceling headphones like these can make a dramatic difference in focusing and minimizing distractions. They are an excellent tool for boosting productivity.

Conclusion

For adults with ADHD, organization and time management are often major challenges. But with the right mix of tools, apps, and techniques, you can build a digital workspace that fits your unique brain wiring and needs.

The tools on this list have helped many people with ADHD stay focused, prioritize their tasks, avoid distraction, and maintain some sense of order amidst the chaos. At the same time, no one tool is a silver bullet. You’ll likely need to experiment with different combinations until you find a system that works for you.

In summary, the most helpful categories of tools tend to be:

  • Prioritization apps like Todoist that let you break down projects into manageable tasks and focus on the most important activities first.
  • Task managers like Trello that organize your to-dos into visual boards and lists, helping you see the bigger picture.
  • Focus tools like Freedom that eliminate digital distractions during periods when you need to hyperfocus.
  • Digital assistants like Alexa that allow you to set reminders, alarms, and notifications so you don’t forget important appointments or tasks.
  • Timer apps like Tempo that keep you aware of time passing as you work, helping curb tendencies to hyperfocus or get distracted.
  • Noise-canceling headphones that minimize distracting sounds when you need to tune everything out.
  • Mind mapping apps like MindMeister that let you brainstorm and visualize ideas in a nonlinear way that suits the ADHD brain.

The key is finding the right tools for your needs and style of working. Pay attention to when and why your productivity falters, and seek tools that address those pain points. It may take some trial and error, but with persistence you can build an ADHD-friendly toolkit that maximizes your talents in the digital age.

Want to try an ADHD Productivity app thats super simple to use and you can start using in less than 2 minutes?

Checkout the app I built. I made LittleWinsApp.com because I too face ADHD and have struggled tremendously with focus and positivity. I discovered in early 2023 that the simple act of “win journaling” can have a profound affect on your happiness and time blindness. 

It takes less than 2 minutes to start using the app. 

Signup here.

Mayur

Mayur

Hello! I'm Mayur, a technologist with a passion for creating innovative solutions. My journey in the IT industry has been driven by a deep interest in developing tools that make a real difference in people’s lives. As the creator of LittleWinsApp.com, I've combined my technological expertise with a personal mission to support those with ADHD. I love exploring new technologies and am constantly seeking ways to harness them for greater productivity and empowerment. Join me as I share insights and tools to help you navigate the digital age more effectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you sure you want to delete this?

This function isn’t ready yet. If you badly need to delete some or all of your items, please send an email to hello@littlewinsapp.com or contact me on X at https://mayur.ca/twitter