From a very young age - I have been easily distracted. Even writing this very article is late - I said I’d do it months ago. Unfortunately, a global pandemic happened, life was shelved for a while and I dropped my own mechanisms for keeping track.
Neurodiversity has been both a blessing and a curse for 32 years (it’s also my birthday while writing this). Life with ADHD has afforded me the cognitive indulgence of reckless abandon. Saying ‘why not?’ to life led me on world tours, working alongside AAA names in entertainment, a 21st birthday in Las Vegas with pop-rock band Blink182 and more. Unfortunately, it left my timekeeping, accountability, social nuance and core functions of a human wanting. Frankly, it’s staggering to look back at how I managed to do what I did without help.
Throughout my late 20s and early 30s, I’ve amassed a buffet of technology and apps to increase my viability as an independent human.
I’d like to share a few with you now.
For me, timekeeping has been a challenge. I get so engrossed with everything at the same time - tasks rarely get completed and many essentials fall by the wayside. Tiimo designed an app specifically for the ASD community and it has been a revelation. The gamification of monotony has been reached with a phone / watch app which reminds me about everything from showering and eating - to meetings and travel time. Satisfying sounds, a user-friendly interface allows me to reign in some free-wheeling thoughts and make sure the essentials are covered and completed.
Google Duo may not be one of the most famous apps on the market, and truthfully - it’s invisible to a lot of people. For me, however, it is a portal to connection. My family is scattered across the world, sometimes in spaces of low-connectivity. When we want to do a group call, Duo is our primary source for video calling. The deep-rooted connection it has to my own home is also fantastic. I use it more than my actual phone to communicate with my partner at home as I can call our screens and start a video call on our TV wherever I am.
Philips Hue & Google Nest have saved me upwards of 3 billion pounds on wasted electricity and being burgled. People occasionally forget to do things, but with ADHD, I forget to do things a LOT of the time. Something as simple as turning off lights or locking my door have been saved by these services. I can lock my door from my phone, switch off the lights and even check my security cameras.
When attention is a must, I have frequently been unable to bring my whole self to the fray. Being able to commit a lot of my daily tasks to process has always been a trait of mine. I frequently buy 4 or 5 versions of the same clothes to save the ‘what shall I wear today?’ discussion with myself, because as a completionist, I sometimes have to see every combination of an outfit. That one has been gone for a while, so to have added a lot of my digital wellbeing to a technical process has afforded my mind the luxury of breathing space.
From a business point of view, I use Calendly - which populates my diary with all my meetings. I never have to schedule my own, the days of someone turning up for a meeting or calling to blindside me are long gone. I can look at my calendar and know my daily schedule.
HubSpot has been a wonderful addition to our office, too. I forget to log interactions - frequently. So when HubSpot tells the rest of the team I’ve emailed the client, or I can see the full archive of exchanges without having to track emails down - we’re able to operate quickly and efficiently. As the team leader on projects, it’s been a really important step in our journey to help me maximise my efficiency on creative projects - not just the admin.
They say the devil is in the detail - but when you know sit-com dialogue from a show you watched in 1993, all the words to Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ and how you should have used the Grünfeld Defence in that chess game last week - all happening at the same time, the important details get lost. Mercifully, ADHD is being helped by technology.
The Board’s last strategy meeting in January led to our vision which is to build and sustain UK leadership of Open Technology. Six months in, I think that is going well.
ADHD is like having 50 tabs open, 10 of them are making noise and 4 of them are in Spanish - working through it has not been easy, but today - I’ve spoken at Harvard, attended MIT, obtained many qualifications and became the Creative Director of Nosy Marketing.
Those are some pretty fine details.