Technology has the power to benefit society, increase our consciousness and support us to reach our full potential by removing barriers. I’ve always been a bit of an early adopter when it comes to technology. As someone with ADHD, I’m constantly looking for ways to optimise my productivity and workflow. But over the years, I’ve settled on a few key pieces of technology that have become essential tools in my daily life. Here are five pieces of technology that I have stuck with me for at least three years.
The article will guide Neurodivergent people to find resources they need.
And designers, so designers can learn more about the types of products that meet diverse needs and where the gaps may exist. It is much easier to understand through concrete examples and helps to overcome the double empathy problem as designers. There is so much scope for innovation in this un-tapped market, and it is more likely to happen if we do this together.
A soup-maker is an easy, stress-free way to make delicious and healthy meals, the Soup Maker is a fantastic perfect solution for those who want healthy meals but don’t have the time or patience for traditional cooking methods. Also, ease helps us to maintain our spoon count.
I currently use this Morphy Richards soup-maker as it is good value for money. Previously I used this one which had a saute option and I do wish I had opted again for it.
Healthy eating is good for everyone. However, for Neurodivergent people, we need to eat healthy to have enough energy to focus and be productive and maintain our spoon count. A poor diet can exacerbate unhelpful symptoms, and hunger has been shown to affect the body’s nervous system, putting the body into fight or flight, worsening problems such as anxiety or insomnia. Cooking, for disabled people or those with executive dysfunction, is a mammoth task. There is shopping, remembering what to buy, meal planning, and remembering to use food before it goes off. Then, when we finally get to cooking, we meet Everest — all that washing up. Isn’t a diet of cereal and pot noodles easier? Maybe our stomach and dopamine levels agree, but our mental health, weight, and finances do not.
A stress-free way to make delicious and healthy meals that is cheap and easy to clean. You loosely chop (or throw) vegetables in and the soup-maker will blend and cook them. In 21 minutes you can have a hot and healthy meal on the table with minimum washing up in no time. You can use whatever is in your fridge and if, like me, you still forget to do shopping, just keep a few bags of frozen veg as backup. It is incredibly easy to clean, taking less than a minute to wipe down after use.
Soup is not always super filling so I add lentils to thicken it and give extra protein. Protein and improvements to ADHD symptoms have been heavily linked 1. You can also use it to make some great pasta sauces. And sometimes I’ll add an egg to this food flask and let it cook ready for lunchtime, thus turning it into a version of Huevos rancheros.
If you can get a soup-maker with a saute button, there will be no need to have a separate pan to cook meat. In addition, sauteing the vegetables really makes a huge difference to the taste.
Power banks are small, portable devices that allow you to charge your electronic devices without the need for a power outlet. They come in a range of prices, from £10 for a standard power bank that can give your phone or tablet a couple of extra charges, up to £70 for a more powerful one that can charge laptops and multiple devices at once.
Do you often find yourself scrambling to find a charger when your phone’s battery is running low? Or maybe you’ve been stuck in a situation where your laptop is running out of juice and there’s nowhere to plug it in. Or, you forgot to charge your phone overnight or before a long journey to a meeting.
Having a power bank with you can be a real gamechanger, especially if you have ADHD and tend to forget to charge your devices overnight. With a power bank, you’ll never have to worry about being late to meetings or having to reschedule because your phone died. And knowing that you have a backup plan in case of an emergency can help reduce stress and improve your mental health. Less morning stress means focusing on a morning routine and starting the day in a calmer way.
I carry two power banks because I could occasionally forget to charge both my first power bank and my phone. So having a backup for my backup had the additional benefit of giving me a prompt — it’s time to juice up!
I use BSSYO personally. It has a numerical value to tell you exactly how much charge is left and charges my phone quickly. However if you have other recommendations please do share!
Smart Wifi plugs are the perfect way to save money and energy. With the ability to switch them on and off with an app, timer or even voice control, you’ll never have to worry about leaving the lights on again. Oh, did I mention you can control them from ANYWHERE?
With prices starting at under £30 for a 4-pack, it’s easy to automate your home on a budget. If you are using Apple home make sure the plugs are suited to it as not all are.
If you’re like me and have trouble waking up in the morning, Smart Wifi plugs are a godsend. I have a ‘schedule’ through Google Nest mini so my kettle turns on in the morning, the LifX bulbs switch on and the nest plays music. I get a notification when it’s time for bed so lights dim automatically and wifi can be turned off automatically, preventing me from staying up (or working!) too late.
Now, here is where the real fun starts. On my way home, I can even use the plugs to turn on the washing machine so when I arrive home I can sort the laundry out straight away, which stops me from putting it off until later. Overall, these plugs have really helped me stay on top of things and stay organised — highly recommended! Please comment if you have found any other ways of using them!
Interviews I conducted last year on technology disabled people used revealed for people living with chronic pain, it can take a long time to find a comfortable spot. Home automation can make a difference, preventing the need to move to turn off items in the house.
For those with executive dysfunction, how often do you leave your house and forget to turn the lights off? With electricity prices soaring, this really is a must-have. Not only will Smart Wifi plugs help you save money, but they can also help you keep to routines, taking cognitive load and helping maintain spoon counts. For many Neurodivergent people, having a routine is essential for managing anxiety and stress.
Monzo is not just a bank but a finance app that helps you manage all aspects of your money. You can track spending and budgeting, and if you are abroad, there are zero exchange rates! The app provides customer support through chat which makes it easy to get quick help without having to face a long phone call; plus their chat has very fast response times. No more worrying about overpaying for food or other essentials because Monzo will let us know right away if you’re going over budget. No more unexpected fees.
It is not unknown that those with executive functioning struggle with managing finances, budgeting and impulsive spending. People can fail to pay bills on time not because of a lack of funds but a lack of organisation and keeping track of them.
My personal experience of this is that I would lose my bank cards constantly and have to go to the bank to get a new one so often the bank staff knew my details by heart. I have anxiety with phone calls and I would have to find time during working hours to go to a bank, which required planning and memory. The process was extremely stressful.
And saving? People with ADHD think short-term, not long-term, making saving hard. Thus, when emergencies strike, such as our car breaks down we find ourselves with no money to resolve it. A lot of stress and anxiety can continue for months paying off debts created through mismanagement of finances.
Lost bank card? No phone call. No problem.
I gotta say, Monzo’s customer support is unparalleled! With the ability to receive notifications on your phone on every transaction, you’ll know if someone has stolen your card. You can freeze spending from the card on your phone, send a message to customer chat and in my experience they returned the funds and automatically sent a new bank card. The physical card’s luminous, bright orange colour additionally makes it easier to spot or find.
Set budgets to track your spending across categories
Within Monzo you can set budgets for individual categories. This is especially helpful for raising awareness of where your money is being spent. Each transaction can be put into a category such as eating out, entertainment, shopping, groceries and many more; the app will notify me if my spending rate means it is likely I’ll overspend in a particular area. With Monzo and awareness, I can change my habits.
Flex is an option that comes with your Monzo account, and it can be a great financial solution for emergencies. Unlike credit cards, Flex enables you to spread your transactions over 3 months at 0% interest, but you have to pay the first payment right away. The limit is capped at £1k preventing a chance of impulse spending putting you in huge debt.
Setting up pots for spending and saving is easy. Monzo can sort your salary on pay-day, helpful so that you do not accidentally spend rent and bill money. There are additional saving options such as rounding up your spending and moving pennies into a saving pot, which can be locked for a period of time to stop you spending it.
In the early days I occasionally had problems where Monzo wouldn’t work with certain venues but this has not happened for years. There are not many in-person branches across the country so if you do need to go to a branch in-person, it is a long way to travel. However, customer service is so good I have never had this need. Keep a second account with a traditional bank just in case and there should be no problem.
When we think about out-sourcing, we often think of a virtual assistant to help with work. However there are many other tasks we can outsource such as food, cooking and fortunately one of the most common ADHDers nightmare tasks — Laundry. We can firkin outsource Laundry!
A laundry app picks up washing from the house, washes, dries, folds and returns it within 24 hours. It will dry-clean coats, wash bedding, and even iron shirts.
Prices seem similar across the many services at £15 for 6 kg of washing, £2.5 to wash and iron a shirt, £10 for a duvet and a minimum of £20 spend.
Now many are returning back to work or a hybrid environment that means we can no longer hide in our sweatpants all day, laundry has once again become a task that if not kept on top of can lead to overwhelm, freezing and procrastination.
Laundry has to be one of the most boring, tedious and repetitive tasks in the world that is not only dependent on memory, it is a multi-step process where one point of failure can mean re-doing the whole load again. Many of you will have experienced the dread of forgetting it overnight and having to re-do it all.
Additude magazine has some great laundry tips that may work for you however, as I live in London in shared accommodation and no tumble dryer the task takes over 24 hours waiting for it to dry.
Not even the fear of Monday morning and turning up to work with no clean clothes is enough to light a fire under my butt and motivate me. Although I can muster the energy sometimes, at least once a month it seems to become an unmanageable task. Creating stress, overwhelm and procrastination that blocks other important work I could be doing.
I use this app when I start to really feel overwhelmed, for example washing, cleaning, food shopping, and general life-admin is building up to such a point my head is spinning. When washing is out of sight and I know it is being worked on, that small weight lifted creates enough space for me to start cleaning, or preparing food for the week.
Although it is not cheap, I have accepted if I outsource some of the tasks causing me stress. The benefits on my mental well-being, work and my social life is absolutely worth £30pm to do two washes and means I can complete all the tasks I have been putting off within a day.
Choosing the right service for you is important. There are two that I have used and would recommend. LaundryHeap is reliable, it updates you on the day and provides a tracker on how far the delivery is, thus it is difficult to forget or feel like you are constantly waiting. I’m trialling a new subscription service which should reduce cost and be based on bag-size rather than weight. I will update the blog when I have additional information.
Whatever you choose, make sure the driver weighs and tells you the estimated cost before they take it away so that you do not get any surprises. The first time I used this service my friend put all my clothes in a ‘dry cleaning’ section, resulting in a bill of over £100. I was unimpressed — they should have checked but fortunately the company let me off but their customer service was poor. I have not used them again though, so trial and test the service that works best for you.
Finally, do not, under any circumstances, put clothes in that you would be significantly upset about losing.
This is just a warm-up. I have a dozen other life-changing apps, from healthcare to organisation to home automation that have changed my life.
So if you liked this list and maybe tried out some of my recommendations, please definitely let me know by leaving a comment and by sharing. Articles that get the most interest are the ones I will prioritise writing next.
I would also love to learn what sort of tools or strategies you use to make your life easier. After all, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we all find solutions that work best for our own specific needs. Achieving this will be easier if we all work together.
- Nutrition and ADHD
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