ADHD Management Tools – The Smartphone in Your Pocket

by | Aug 22, 2014 | ADHD Success Skills and Tools | 0 comments

smiling men using smart phones

ADHD Management Tools – The Smartphone in Your Pocket

ADHD adults struggle with many things including; missed appointments, forgotten tasks, losing track of time, overwhelm and staying on task. These cause frustration and impair our ability to live successfully with ADHD.

One solution can be kept as close as your pocket or purse – a smart phone.

A smartphone is a cell phone with advanced capabilities. They provide us with email, a calendar and a complete personal organizer. They allow us to use ADHD-friendly apps (computer applications) that do everything from time management tasks to tracking the number of steps we take in a day to reading our favorite newspapers and magazines. Really a smartphone is kind of like a mini personal computer.

When does it make sense for someone with ADHD to get a smartphone?

That depends. I’ve had a number of ADHD coaching clients try using them with mixed results.

A smartphone works best for people who are (or want to be) so devoted to their phone they’re never without it. For some adults with ADHD their smartphone is the only thing they never lose. But, if you frequently misplace things, a less expensive phone is probably a wise choice.

Then there are people who often don’t have their phone with them. Naturally, an alarm mournfully wailing away in a purse or pocket at the other end of the house won’t serve as a useful reminder.

The bottom line? Though a smartphone can provide an excellent solution to the ADHD adult’s problem of losing track of time and schedules, it’s not the best solution for everyone. You’ll need to think it through and find solutions to stumbling blocks like one of my clients, Louise, did.

Louise and her husband were considering buying a smartphone for each of them. She was leaning toward not getting one for herself since she frequently misplaces things. But then she did something that really impressed me. Louise demonstrated a superb example of what I call ‘Self Coaching’. She thoughtfully considered and addressed each issue keeping her from making her phone a useful tool.

Here’s a Cliff Notes version of Louise’s email:

  • I started thinking about what you said about how the only thing some ADHD adults never lose are their cell phone. I realized my relationship with my cell phones had been more like casual dating than a committed relationship. I bought cheap, only learned the basics, got mad when they were uncharged, habitually lost them or left them in random places such as the car or the counter.
  • Since we were in line for new cell phones I made some new choices.
  • I purchased the same smartphone as my teenager and my husband. Now when something doesn’t work or is puzzling, I can ask my husband or daughter for help.
  • I bought a more expensive phone that I really liked. This was key for me, as I really DON’T want to lose it. It has a good alarm feature and syncs with my computer for easy updates.
  • Realizing I wear pants every day, I bought a case that clips to my pants. It has a strong magnetic closure that won’t open by accident yet the phone goes easily in and out of the case so I’m not tempted to toss it down instead of putting it away.
  • At the place I routinely stand to undress each evening, I put a pretty silver tray with the charger plug peeking out. Now, when I take off my jeans, the charger is right there. In the morning, SURPRISE, my phone is still there, all charged and ready to go.
  • I am proud to say it has been 21 days since my last cell phone loss. I have learned how to use the alarm feature as well as how to text my daughter and husband love notes which is very reinforcing for me. I feel I have finally solved this issue forever — I’m now happily married to my cell phone, and I even have a ring. (groan)

Fantastic work, Louise (despite that last bad pun)! Thank you for letting me share this in ADD Success.

Just like any other choice in managing your adult ADHD, choosing to use a smartphone as an ADHD management tool is a personal choice. But if you haven’t thought about it, take some time to consider it. It’s a powerful way to organize your day, stay on task and remind yourself about appointments. And it can all be as close as your pocket.


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