Apps for ADHD and Productivity- Glorified or Justified

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is defined as a chronic condition including attention difficulty [distractibility], hyperactivity, and impulsiveness, all of which impact executive functioning. The Attention Deficit Disorder Coaching Academy (ADDCA) defines ADHD as a unique brain wiring which requires engaged interest with a clear, purposeful intention in order to activate and access attention, so an individual can manage the brain’s executive functioning.

Video on ADHD on YouTube

Apps to mange and support ADHD- Glorified or Justified?

In the sections below I’ve mentioned some apps that can help to manage some of the areas of challenge associated with ADHD. BUT (and here it comes- glorification or justification…..) for any app to work well, you need to learn how to use it, master it, apply it and then to do all of this consistently…. Which can be a challenge for someone with ADHD.

To learn how to use an app, you’ll generally get information and a “how to” guide on the internet (you can get articles to read or YouTube tutorials). And this is where we encounter a pretty significant BUT… accessing the tutorials can send you down a rabbit hole… What if one tutorial mentions another app or something else you didn’t know about ADHD? Suddenly off you go, neck deep in new information without even finishing the tutorial to find out how to use to the app, let alone how to make it work for you or do so consistently.

Whilst technology can certainly work well in building mental stimulation and is accessible in that it is increasingly common for it to be available in the palm of our hands in the form of a smart phone, it can also increase the number of distractions for a person with ADHD . Therefore, it is crucial that the app is simple in what it does. If it is overly complex or has too many features, bells and whistles it will impact on the cognitive load or the amount of information/focus/stimuli that working memory can hold at one time. Cognitive load theory states that the brain can only do so many things at the one time and overly complex “helpful” apps become completely counter productive.

Cognitive load theory. Brain with labels for germane cognitive load- deep processing of new information by integrating it with previous learning
Extraneous cognitive load-distracts working memory from processing new information 
Intrinsic cognitive load- complexity of new information
Cognitive load theory

Here are some of the presentations of ADHD that you and/or your students can get “tech support” for!

Working memory

What is it?

A system or set of processes used to temporarily hold in mind and process new and already stored information so it can be used for some purpose in the moment (ADDCA).

Executive Functioning

What is it?

This is the cognitive management system of the brain. Effectively its our ability to be able to pause and pay attention to what we’re paying attention to. In this pause we can reflect upon and discern the best choices that we could make. The pause will also enable us to choose the best actions in the present for an improved outcome and quality of life in the future (ADDCA).

Time Management

What is it?

This is our ability to use our time effectively or productively. Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of the time we spend on specific activities. Most especially this involves the time that we spend on activities that will help increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity (ADDCA).


What is it?

Three aspects of creative cognition are divergent thinking, conceptual expansion and overcoming knowledge constraints. Divergent thinking, or the ability to think of many ideas from a single starting point, is a critical part of creative thinking and studies have found that ADHD’ers are exceptionally good at divergent thinking tasks

Some supportive tools:

Asana- project management tool

Asana can help with a number of challenges with ADHD as it helps with both individual to do lists, task reminders and team projects. It helps you to plan, track and manage your work across the web and mobile and it’s completely free! You’ll be able to access Asana as a website, on Android and for IoS. Find out more about Asana by going to this link.


Habit Tracker: Daily Routine & Goals Planner

Productive is the app that helps you build positive life-changing habits. With Productive, you can set personal goals, track your progress, and focus on what makes you healthier, happier and more productive!


HABIT MANAGEMENT: Create, complete, stop, or pause habits whenever it is convenient for you. Add notes to your habits to highlight the main points during the day.

PROGRAMS: Сhoose your goal, receive daily habit tips, reflection check-ins, and motivation prompts to get the boost you need.

CHALLENGES: Improve your daily routine by completing guided tasks and competing with other users from all over the world.

ARTICLES: Grow awareness of your own productivity and motivation with personalized expert insights

CUSTOMIZATION: Customize the app the way you want! You can name your habit, choose a unique icon, and even pick its color.

STATISTICS: Track your habits and analyze progress by building motivating chains of completed habits and perfect days. The longer your chain of completed habits, the more likely you will keep the streak going.

NOTIFICATIONS: Set up smart reminders, and personalize the app to get notifications of what’s scheduled for each part of the day.

ADHD ASSISTANCE: Manage distractions and deal with ADHD by concentrating on a focused daily routine.

Screenshot of the features on the Productive App.. $ phones one with personal assistant second with Plan your day options, third with Build good habits options and last with reach your goals options
Productive App features

Mind Node

Mind Node is a visual brainstorming and mind mapping app to help you connect your thoughts and clarify your ideas. It makes capturing thoughts easy. It helps you to focus on the content without having to think about the details. It gives users a canvas where they can be creative and pay attention to detail yet it’s simple and powerful.

Sample of what a mind map loos like in mind node with one central hub and 2 branches with many more branches emanating from the two main branches. Each branch has a word or a phrase on it
Mind Node Visual Map

Glorified or Justified?

I’ve narrowed down tools for time management, executive functioning, creativity into three… You can only imagine how much filtering there is between all of the different apps that are available. For every different Google search to list the top apps for any of these things, thousands upon thousands of results are returned. It’s here that we need to be really careful about whether or not the app is justified or glorified. Every individual with ADHD will have it manifest in completely different ways so it’s important to find what the ADHD’ers strengths are and use those strengths to help choose a form of technology/app that will address and manage some of the challenges that they may be experiencing. Otherwise it is just a case that the tech is glorified and not justified. Another distractibility tool.

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