17 Things I Need Every Day

Jun. 19th, 2017

This week on the blog I’ve decided to give you a glimpse into a day in my life for two reasons. The first is strategies, products, and services that might be of assistance to someone else if they haven’t heard of or considered it. The second is to show the sheer amount of work it takes anyone with ADHD just to function. Anyone who believes we are lazy or doing it on purpose might find the following interesting.

So here is the (probably incomplete) list of things I need every single day just to keep my life working.

Reminder app

This app runs my entire life.

Alarm/stopwatch/timer app

I use the proprietary iOS app and the ones on my Pebble. I have four alarms set daily, not including my wake-up alarm, three for specific days of the week, I set additional alarms for appointments, timers at least twice a day, and use the stopwatch most days.


I record every appointment in my Google Calendar on my phone, then use a reminder to remind me to update my paper calendar to coordinate with my husband and the one in my bullet journal. I check my agenda every morning, as soon as I wake up, and set alarms for every item. And I ensure I never schedule myself for anything earlier than 9AM so I can be on time, even if I totally forget the day before.

Music/Netflix/podcasts/Libby is on constantly

I keep some audio going in my life every possible second I can. My headphones are in constant use, even when I’m gaming, knitting, writing, or cleaning. Trying to find new content so I don’t get bored is a constant challenge.

Games for exercise

The only way I’ve found to motivate myself to exercise consistently is to involve a game and a buddy. When the weather is warm enough, my husband and I walk trails, hatching eggs on Pokemon GO. When it’s cold out, we play Dance Dance Revolution. In this way, I’ve managed to exercise every day of 2017, so far.


I have 3 sizes of notebooks I use weekly, and usually bring at least one with me wherever I go. These are the receptacles of my ideas, the processing of my priorities, and the rough drafts of my blog posts. I also use the notes app on my phone regularly.

Google Drive

I use Google Drive at least three times a day, every day. It has a ton of ingenious functions.

Water bottle

Dehydration can cause me intense headaches alongside all the other health problems it can cause. I use my bottles daily in the constant struggle to keep my body hydrated. This also means setting a reminder for myself to fill the bottles in the evening so I have the cold water I prefer to drink the next day.


Laptop, iPad, iPhone, and smartwatch are all indispensable gadgets in my life. They serve me in innumerable ways, including simply relaxing with Minecraft. It’s a struggle to ensure they are all charged and ready when I need them.


One of the ways I try to keep my life novel is by changing my device wallpaper every five days. You guessed it, there’s a reminder for that too. The free picture website Pexels.com has an amazing selection of beautiful images by some truly talented photographers. I go to them for my wallpaper and use them for my social media content as well.

Knitting/crochet/fidget toys

You’re probably familiar with the term fidget toy since the recent virality of the spinner toys. I mostly use knitting and crochet as my fidgets. I bring a project with me almost everywhere and I am usually knitting even when socializing.


While making a list won’t help every aspect of ADHD by itself, I have two lists that remind me to purchase items, for the kitchen and bathroom respectively. It was somewhat challenging to get into the habit of writing things down when they ran out (or preferably before) since it was something my in-laws introduced me to.


Gamification has been growing in popularity lately as a fascinating concept and strategy for ADHD management. I utilize it in the several systems I have operating constantly. Assisting me to do things like go to bed, maintain awareness of my working hours, and plan meals, as well as my morning and evening routines. These take a lot of effort to keep in motion, but I could not manage half of what I do without them.

Strict bedtime

I almost can’t include this in the list of things I need because I am so bad at sticking to it. I do ok, but almost anything is more fun than getting into bed to fall asleep. The bottom line, however, is that I do not function on poor sleep. I am more emotional, less logical, less attentive, and more impulsive when I haven’t gotten enough sleep. And that ranges from 8-10 hours, depending on what I’ve been doing.

Specific clothing

In the past several months I’ve noticed my reaction to sensory input has been cranked up. Due to physical discomfort, I’ve had to get rid of many items of clothing I loved previously. The little beads on the 50% polyester shirts drive me up a wall and I cannot force myself to wear them. Most of the clothing I wear is 100% cotton, or sometimes Spandex. I wear sunglasses indoors on occasion and often wear headphones to help drown out unendurable sounds.

Personal rules

It’s very hard to stick to anything consistently when you have ADHD. There are a few things I’ve made my personal rules, however. I’ve journaled every single day for going on five years now, I’ve written some fiction every day for about two years, and I have a strict policy of writing down anything I or others wish me to remember.


My brain is already operating on fewer cylinders than a neurotypical brain so I really need to provide it with food. I make sure I eat protein.

What do you need every day?