My Home Screen and Mental Health, Part 3

Jan. 7th, 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 one is here. Part two is here.


I’ve tried a few different mood tracking apps over the years and they lasted less than a month. I’ve used Daylio 56 days in a row now. I can’t promise it is the best in its category, but I can say that it is colorful, simple and intuitive to use, and has enough customization without overwhelming me. I sprang for the non-subscription paid version and have found it worth the investment.

The need that Daylio fills for me is the ability to, multiple times throughout the day, be asked how I am doing and have the emotional freedom to answer with complete honesty. I have many wonderful people in my life who welcome that same honesty, but I know an app will never be psychologically drained by what I tell it. The ability to unload without second-guessing myself has been very beneficial. I also have the ability to look back on my moods and see that I do feel pretty good, on the whole. This reality check is useful when I am slipping into depression or even a temporary bad mood.


As part of my annual time of preparing to start the new year on the right foot, I went on a rigorous decluttering stint of my master To Do list. This has lifted a great weight off my shoulders. A huge part of the reason I was able to give myself permission to do this is because of Wunderlist.

I house my “long-term storage” or Someday/Maybe tasks and projects, as GTD calls it, separately from my active tasks. Actually in different software. This allows me to reduce the number of things I have to regularly make decisions about. If my options were to see a task multiple times a week or delete it, I would have felt unable to change anything. Knowing all those amazing ideas are not lost, just stored along with many others, for the time being, freed me to slim down my master list.


I’ve already blogged extensively about this app, so let me say briefly that it is stupendous for an all-important aspect of my ADHD management: sleep. It not only gamifies sleep goals but it also prevents phone use during those hours.

They’ve added a few new features, including the ability to build larger structures with a sleep buddy. This adds the extra layer of accountability of not wanting to let the other person down. Brilliant.

Pokémon GO

Without games, I’m not certain I’d have ever gotten a habit of exercise. I’d tried many times in my life with classes and gyms, but nothing stuck, until I had Zombies, Run! and Pokémon GO. Exercise forms one of the other major pillars of my ADHD management.

Pokémon GO has also added features recently. Adventure Sync now allows any steps your phone registers to count toward hatching eggs and finding candy inside the game. This means I hold my phone while I’m using Dance Dance Revolution to get my winter exercise.

Google Sheets

Awareness is the first and one of the most important steps toward change. I track my habits (such as journaling and writing), exercise, sleep, work hours, food, and social media content using Google Sheets. The ability to know, without relying on my memory, what actually has been going on with vital areas of my life is super important for my mental health management.

There are also numerous apps designed to track things like sleep and food, but Sheets allows me to have all that information in one place. Just this week I merged all the separate informational sheets into one for convenience. I also love how customizable it is. And Sheets recently added the ability to add check boxes to cells.