These 5 apps completely changed how I live with my ADHD

I have spent nearly my entire life thinking I was bad at, well, everything. It turns out it was actually ADHD — something I was diagnosed with later in life. I’ve never learned the necessary coping mechanisms to organize myself and function like others might have in their formative years.

Since then, I’ve learned that I can structure my thoughts and actions with the help of apps. I won’t remember everyday tasks, but the apps do. Together, they provide me with the help I need to function without a second thought.

Phone with app on screen laying over a notebook with a pen.
Elizabeth Tirk |

Rather than look for a “top 10 best ADHD apps list” on Google that doesn’t actually dig into how the apps can truly help me, I looked to the many others suffering from the same issues as myself. All of us raised the same question: How do I live like this?

What I needed

Before I even knew I had ADHD, I tried to control my lack of organization, ever-present urge to procrastinate, and forgetfulness by writing notes to myself as reminders. This ended poorly, as I then had an outrageous number of papers lost about the house, in my pockets, or into the void where specially selected socks go in the washing machine’s version of Narnia.

I tried the Notes app on my phone for years. It was better than paper, but I still ran into the issue where I would create a lot of notes, and none of them had structure. They would mix between deadlines, ideas, chores, and reminders. Because of that, they became a job of their own just to sort through. This would, in turn, cause me to procrastinate dealing with that mess. To this day, I still haven’t looked at them.

Living like this made me constantly frustrated. I needed a uniform set of tools to keep track of my chores, remind me constantly of deadlines, and take and organize my notes. I needed apps that would divide my thoughts into work, chores, reminders, and other little tidbits (like remembering that nutrition mattered).

Routinery for daily tasks

Despite finding a few duds, I’ve fiddled with some apps that people with ADHD said helped them. After trying these apps, I actually feel hopeful.

The app with the most rigidity concerning organization is Routinery. It does exactly what I hate to do but need so badly. Daily tasks and chores have always been my bane, sometimes causing me to waste hours staring at the clock and avoiding work. This adds urgency to the tasks that my ADHD needs to actually focus on them.

HabitNow tracking habits on screen of phone being held.
Elizabeth Tirk |

After some input on my end, Routinery contained my ideal daily routine down to the exact minute. This included remembering to drink water and taking breaks when I hyperfocus on a hobby (ever spent 14 hours without a break drawing until 8 a.m.?). Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the schedule that’s planned, but I’ve learned I can look at the list throughout the day to remind myself of what I have done and what I didn’t yet do.

HabitNow to build habits

In a similar vein, HabitNow does similar structuring for my life but more with habits. Of which I have none. With HabitNow, I could easily throw in habits I wanted to reinforce and check them off as I did them.

Every day it would refresh and remind me to do them again. In the past with just notes, even when I managed to remember to try and keep up habits, I didn’t have anything or anyone holding me accountable. HabitNow reminds me of my set deadlines for such tasks and keeps pestering me until I check them off. It takes off a ton of mental strain and anxiety by remembering everything for me. organizes my work