Many children are diagnosed with ADHD (or ADD) in their adolescence, and it goes away as they get older. Then there is the rest of us.
Growing up my parents did not see eye to eye on whether or not to medicate us for ADHD, and I believe they both had good reasons. They spent a small fortune (enough to buy a brand new car) to have my twin brother and I extensively tested. The results after a week were that we indeed had a little bit of an attention problem. Okay, maybe I was given the highest legal dosage of Ritalin as a kid, or at least that is what I remember. Like most people, I stopped taking medication before I became an adult, but guess what; I still have issues with my attention span. Though my attention span has improved tremendously over the years, there are a few apps that help me focus even better while I am at work.
1. Focus at Will:
Focus at Will combines scientific study and music to help you to concentrate for a longer period of time. I remember the first time I used this app, I was able to concentrate for a prolonged period of time. They also have a timer on the app that allows you to set self-deadlines for tasks. There is some learning curve with the different types of music offered with Focus at Will. I use quite a few of them, though I am not convinced that the one listed for those with ADHD works for me. Please do yourself a favor and see if you concentrate better with the app and give me your feedback.
This is the most expensive of all the apps and hacks that I use and recommend, and unfortunately, there are no free options.
2. Rescue Time:
Rescue Time allows you to track how you are spending time on your computer. If you are on Facebook a ton, it will let you know that you are very distracted. It also will compare your current week to the previous week to let you know whether or not you are improving at being a good steward of your time. Luckily, there is a free version of this application. Here is the description of the app from their home page:
“With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. RescueTime helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive.”
3. Stay Focused:
Potentially the greatest value comes from being able to limit how much time you spend on a certain website or a group of sites collectively. So if you are spending too much time on social media sites, you can let Stay Focused know to only allow you to spend thirty minutes total a day on all the social sites.
There is also a nuclear option on Stay Focused. If you want to keep yourself off certain sites that are a time waster for you; you nuke the site. Just remember, you will not be able to get back on that site.
Nozbe is the task management system that I have used for years. It is geared towards David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) system.
This app helps me to remember the things I need to be working on; therefore lowering the risk of me entering into a state of prolonged distraction.
It if weren’t for Evernote I would not have an enjoyable way to retrieve much of the digital information I collect. This is my go-to application for many good reasons. Most importantly it is the location where I store many important documents, notes, quotes, business cards, and likes for later retrieval.
The free version of Evernote is very good. I sprang for the premium version because I utilize the premium features on a frequent basis.
6. Weekly Rhythm:
While this is not an app per se, having a weekly rhythm helps me to stay on track by using my time in a predetermined manner. In my rhythm, I schedule a time to finish the needed tasks, develop leaders, develop myself, spend time with family, use my quiet time, and so forth. When coaching an individual or company, I encourage them to create a rhythm to maximize their productivity.
While my attention span still affects my productivity from time to time, these apps and hacks have helped me to move forward tremendously.
If you have any other apps that you use to help you stay focused I would love for you to share.
(Some of the links are affiliate links. I only recommend apps that I am currently using. I use the free version of everything listed, except for Evernote and Focus at Will.)