Using iPhone’s Reminders app to manage ADHD

One area that I hyperfocus on is organization. It has helped me a lot as an adult. It helps me to remember appointments, accomplish tasks, follow up with assignments, and so on. As I developed my system over the years, I didn’t realize I was coping with ADHD; I just thought I was making sure I didn’t forgot things or procrastinated things.

My entire adult life, I have tried to keep organized. I had a day planner in my late teens, a planner on my mission, and shortly after we were married, we started using an electronic calendar. Email became a critical organization tool of mine, too.

I wanted to take a few moments to run through the system I have set up in the Reminders app on my iPhone. This helps me mostly with getting tasks done

In the app, I have several lists:

  • Scheduled items
  • Days of the week
  • To sew
  • To build
  • Home maintenance
  • To buy
  • And a catch all list shared with the rest of the family

In my Scheduled list, I put everything I need to remember to do on a specific date. Here, you’ll see take out the garbage (a weekly task), make lemon squares for a church function, trim some branches on a tree that hangs dangerously over our roof, take a new profile picture to help document my growing out my hair for cancer, and take my monthly vitamin C and iron supplements.

For recurring tasks, I click on the “Repeat” option, then select the frequency I need. For “Taking garbage to the back”, I simply selected “Every Week”. For tasks that occur every month, I would select “Every Month”. And so on. There is even an option for creating your own custom recurrence schedule.

On the date, I’m supposed to do them, I’ll have a reminder pop up on my phone. I’ll either take care of the task myself, assign it to someone, or snooze it if I’m busy when the reminder comes up. Either way, the task gets done that day or soon thereafter.

Next, are my daily lists. These are the workhorse of my system; they’re where I get most of my work done. Let’s look at Sunday’s list.

Here, you see a list of all the tasks I have remaining for the day. (I’ve already completed several tasks today.) These are all things I need to get done today. I also include pretty benign things that I know I’ll do every day, such as walking my dog. I mean, if I choose to not walk my dog, he’ll make sure I actually do. Doing regular tasks like this helps me to remember to look at my app, which is critical if it’s going to be effective for me.

When I complete a task, I check it off. Simple as that. Eventually, the app removes it from my list. However, I do this for just the one-time tasks. For daily tasks (such as walking my dog), I move the task to the next day’s list when I’ve completed it.

Instead of checking off the task, I click on it, then I click the little “i” icon. From there, I click on the “List” menu, and select the next day from the “Change List” window that comes up. Then if we switch to the Monday list, we can see the task listed there now.

As far as the remaining lists go, these are pretty self explanatory: “To sew” is for things I need to sew (like a quilt), “To build” is for projects I want to build (like nighttables), “Home maintenance” are for things that need fixing around the house (I try to add one of these my Saturday list each week), and “To buy” is a list I share with my spouse and is where we list things we need to buy (such as pants or footwear for the children).

And that’s how I used the Reminders app on my iPhone to help me manage my ADHD, specifically my tendency to forget things and procrastinate things.

What do you think? Do you think my system could work for you? How do you use your phone to help you get stuff done? Let me know in the comments below.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

3 replies on “Using iPhone’s Reminders app to manage ADHD”

[…] The reminders app helps me organize my tasks into days. Each day, I review the list of tasks for that day, checking them off as I complete them, or transferring recurring tasks to the next day when I complete them. I can also organize them by the order I’ll do them that day, which makes it less likely for me to forget to do something. So, if I’m out walking my dog and I remember that I have to buy shirts on Saturday for our two middle children for their rock camp, I can add a task to my Saturday list, freeing up my mind for the next message coming down the pike. […]

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