My Home Screen and Mental Health, Part 4

Feb. 4th, 2019

One of my least favorite things about my brain is my abysmal memory. On the one hand, it’s reliability does enable me to use the word “abysmal” which is an upside. On the other hand, I’ll often tell a story to the same person multiple times, and forget to tell another person once. The same is true of my blogs and this one likely moreso. The upside of this is that sometimes it’s the specific wording of information that is important in learning.

I’ve talked before about the benefits of certain aspects of technology for mental health and specifically ADHD. This blog post is going to take an in-depth look at my phone, specifically the first page of apps, and why they are given this prominent position. Part three is here.

1. Spotify

I pay the $9.99CAD per month to Spotify so I don’t have to listen to ads during playback as well as other benefits and it has been worth that money dozens of times over. Having music on in the background of my day is like an auditory fidget. It helps keep my brain just that little bit occupied so I can focus. Spotify is almost never off for me, except when I’m sleeping. I have specific playlists I use when I’m falling asleep, to energize me in the morning, and to keep my brain on task when working.

I also use this service for Dungeons and Dragons game music, to listen to audio books, and for music to concentrate better on driving.

2. 30/30

I was confused and unhappy when I discovered recently that 30/30 was no longer available for download. This app has formed the foundations of my multiple daily routines. Luckily I am still able to use it and for those who might want to try an app similar, here are a list of suggestions.

I start the list running and I systematically do each item on it. This helps keep me on track so my routines don’t drag on endlessly. My routines include: morning, after exercise, 3PM, and 8:30PM. I love all of the functions of 30/30, but just having a list to follow is the main reason this app has worked so well for me.

3. Messages

Texting is one of my main methods of communicating with friends, family, and clients. I love receiving updates and celebrations from my clients! And I often will send texts reminding them of things they’ve requested in advance. I routinely get images of things that have gotten done.

I will also sometimes ask people to text me things they want me to remember so I can process the thing into my task management system later. I’ll also sometimes ask someone in the car while I’m driving to text me ideas I’ve had since it is unsafe to use any device while driving.

There is a caveat to the “this app helps me with my ADHD” part of this. I have often in the past been unhappy with how much time I’ve spent texting and messaging. What I’ve done recently is placed all my personal contacts (except for immediate family) on Do Not Disturb and implemented a specific time of day when I check those contacts. This means I can still stay in touch with people who live far away from me, but I am not distracted when they respond to my messages. It is an extreme system that reflects how much I have struggled with this in the past.

4. Wallpaper

This isn’t an app, but the background image of my phone. It says “Let reality be reality.” - Lao Tzu. This is a vitally important aspect of how I choose to try to live. I don’t have to like everything, but I do strive to accept everything. It is a constant battle. It often can feel like accepting things is the same as giving up or giving in. It is not, for me. It is simply not allowing myself to use energy in uselessly fighting what is. Let reality be. I try to stop myself trying to convince myself that things are other than what they are.

I can absolutely still work to change these things I don’t like. And in fact, accepting things makes it easier to change them. A colleague was saying to me recently that clients can either put energy into fighting what is or into changing it, not both. I haven’t seen anything in my personal or professional lives to contradict that. Except maybe the caveat that you can change things while fighting them, but it takes far more energy and a much longer amount of time.