10 Techy Accommodations

Managing ADHD can be rough, especially in this world of fast technology where most things are online. For me, technology is bittersweet. There are some things that drive me insane, like having to go through 4 different hoops if I forgot my password to a site while forgetting where I put my phone. Other things can really help me out when I can barely remember what day it is. Here are some different technology accommodations that have made managing my ADHD a little easier:

10 Techy Accommodations

1. External Monitor
Toggling back and forth is exhausting for my working memory and cognitive capacity. I forget what I need to know, lose track of my actions, and get lost in a rabbit hole. By using an external monitor, I can pull things up side by side, which helps me stay on track better while using less cognitive energy. I also use this as a way to manage my time. The first thing I do when I start my day at my computer is to pull up my weekly calendar on my second monitor and keep it there. It helps me see what my day looks like, as well as the passing of time and how close I am to another meeting, event, or task.

2. Personal Printer 
I recommend this, especially for college students.

Sometimes, paper copies are what I need to help me conceptualize and organize my thoughts effectively.  I also tend to retain printed information better. Having an easy-access printer helps me with that. This was highly beneficial when I was in college. It was always so frustrating, requiring a massive amount of cognitive effort to plan a trip specifically to the library, ensure I had all necessary materials, and remember to print what I needed, only to return to my dorm and realize I had forgotten the printed materials back at the library.

3. Speech to Text
Did you know that Windows has a built-in voice-to-text option? If you press Windows Key + H, a mic pops up. You can click anywhere you want the text to be and start talking. This is great when I am trying to draft an email, write notes, start writing a blog, or externalize thoughts I have been ruminating about. It can also be used as a study tool by verbally processing new information you learned.

4. Wireless Earbuds and Loop Phones
I am very sensitive to sound and hate the feeling of headphones getting ripped out of my ear, so wireless earbuds work wonderfully for me. I can even just use one if I need to. I also use them when I have to go to the grocery store (where I get very overstimulated) and put on calming music or my favorite audiobook. It helps me stay grounded and less anxious. Loop Earphones are great when I want to hear others, but everything feels so loud. It helps me engage in conversation and hear the person at a level that feels comfortable for me.

5. Customize Default Time Notifications
Did you know that you can personalize the timing of your default notifications on Google Calendar? This feature allows you to set reminders for every event without the hassle of adjusting them individually each time. Personally, I prefer receiving reminders 5 and 10 minutes before an event starts. To change or set this up, access Google Calendar through your desktop. Click on the setting icon on the top right.  On the left column, under “settings for my calendar”, choose the calendar you want to customize. Scroll down to event notifications, and Voila! You can also apply these settings for all-day events. This keeps me on track, especially when it is connected to my smartwatch.

6. Xtreme Alarm Clock App
This app has been incredibly helpful in my over-snoozing problem. There is a free version, which is highly customizable. This app has a multitude of alarm deactivation features to get you out of bed, jump-start your brain, and make it harder to snooze, such as dismissing by completing math problems (my go-to), scanning a barcode, taking steps or rewriting a word with different levels of difficulty. It also has customizable limits for snoozing options and more. This one is only available for Android users, but I am sure there is a similar one for all my Apple fans out there.

7. Sleep Mode
I noticed that if I am on my phone with certain apps (Google, social media, Amazon, etc.) past 8:30 pm, it takes me FOREVER to fall asleep. Jumping on my phone to follow a random thought late at night feels like a good idea at the moment until 3 hours later, and I’m still hooked. This free mode on an Android phone allows you to customize the days and times to turn off certain apps of your choice on your phone. So now, at 8:30 pm every night, my phone blocks (and will literally kick me out of) all those troublesome apps. Ninety percent of the time, it feels like too much work to change it, so I get off my phone. That’s 90 percent better than where I was before, and I’ll take it! It also creates enough awareness to check in when settling down for bed. They also have other modes, such as work mode too. There is a similar version for iPhones called Sleep Focus.

8. Multiple Calendar Views on My Phone
Having multiple calendar views on my phone’s home screens helps me see things differently and keep track of things more easily. On my main home screen, I have a small list of events for the day with an easy way to add events. On a different “page” on my phone is my whole calendar month view, which I can click to see the full-day layout then. All these different layouts keep me up to date and the different visual views of time help me manage time.

9. Pin and mark unread text conversations
The Google text messaging app has an easy way to pin and mark texts unread. You can also do this on an iPhone. I use this feature as a reminder to text back, as I often receive texts and cannot respond immediately.  You can also schedule to send texts, which prevents me from sending things late at night, too early in the morning, or even at inconvenient times.

10. Supernatural VR Fitness
This one is definitely a bigger investment. However, if you have a Meta Quest VR Headset and you need a way to get some more exercise while being short on time, I highly recommend trying the Supernatural VR Fitness app. This is a fun way to get a quick and easy workout in your own home. You can join a program, challenge your friends, and cheer each other on while virtually exploring the world.

Navigating this technology-driven world can be frustrating and can keep us disconnected in real life. However, there are ways we can use technology to our advantage to help us stay grounded, promote our well-being, and uphold boundaries. As we gain insight into our individual preferences and challenges, we can find ways to use this to find a better balance.

Alicia Kohls, M. Ed., PCAC

Alicia Kohls, M.Ed, PCAC

ADHD Coach and Life Coach, Executive Skills Coach

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