Last month, I finally caved. I said good-bye to my beloved Blackberry and hello to my new iPhone. But I was disappointed at first. I had it for all of a day before I posted on Facebook and asked my friends to tell me what was so special about the iPhone, because I couldn’t see it!
The replies came quickly, with everyone telling me to give it time, that I would grow to love it. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. My iPhone has changed my life. In fact, it’s the best ADHD management tool I’ve come across in a long time!
It seems like everyone has an iPhone these days, and those who don’t are often asking, “Should I get one?” I’ve had quite a few clients ask me if I think the iPhone would be a good or bad thing for them considering their ADHD. And now that I finally have one myself, I can offer the pros and cons.
Here’s what I think adults with ADHD should consider when deciding whether or not to purchase an iPhone:
- It’s expensive. If the contract on your old phone isn’t up yet, hold off. You might love the iPhone once you get it, but you probably won’t want to drop $500+ for it…and especially not as an impulse buy! Plus, if you’re the kind of person who is often losing your phone, then the iPhone may not be a good choice for you.
- It’s easily breakable. Are ADHDers more clumsy than the rest of the population? There’s no scientific evidence on this but, anecdotally, a lot of people would say yes! Along with your initial investment, you’ll also want to make sure you get yourself an Otterbox case that will protect your iPhone from most drops.
- It’s distraction at your fingertips. As an adult with ADHD who is easily distractable, there are times when you’re going to have to fight very hard to put down your phone, and perhaps even turn it off altogether. The saying “there’s an app for that” really is true, and you can find countless things to keep you busy on your iPhone. (Like the popular Angry Birds game, which ruled my life for about two weeks.) This can be great when you’re sitting in a waiting room, but it can get you into trouble when you need to get going on that report or when your spouse is trying to have a real conversation with you.
- It’s an excellent time management tool. You can schedule your day in Calendar, and set up to-do lists and alerts in Reminders. You can also use Voice Memos for those times when it’s easier to talk out your thoughts, and Notes for quick lists that perhaps aren’t time sensitive. These are all free apps, most built-in.
- It’s an excellent life management tool. You can take pictures and videos in Camera, get the Weather instantly, store your Contacts (and even their birthdays), use a Calculator, listen to Music, set a timer or use a stopwatch in Clock, and of course you can email, text, access Facbook and other social media platforms, and browse the web at any time. Again, these are all built-in, free apps.
- Additional free and paid apps can make your life easier. I have downloaded so many iPhone apps that I use on a daily basis! And while I had a few apps on my Blackberry, it just wasn’t the same thing. Many apps are free, and most paid apps cost $.99 or $1.99. Sure, it can add up if you’re not careful, but luckily you can read reviews of apps and see screenshots before buying them. By way of example, here are two apps that I use on a regular basis that have helped me manage my household time and tasks:
* Grocery IQ (free), which lets me build running lists of groceries for each store I use. You can even sync your list with your spouse or your roommate, and track which items have been purchased. I really love this app! We no longer fight about who forgot to buy what, or forgot to write down what we were out of.
* MealBoard ($1.99), which lets me plan out my family’s meals in advance, so I’m not scrambling to figure out what we’re eating for dinner every night. I can even include separate meals for my little one, who eats more frequently than her parents. I had been wanting to write out weekly meal plans for a very long time, but I never quite got around to it until this app made it easy for me!
* And don’t forget Mark Kawate’s post on 6 Super ADHD-friendly iPhone Apps For Adults With ADHD for more app recommendations!
So is the iPhone worth it for an adult with ADHD?
I say yes, the pros outweigh the cons, and most of us can make great use of an iPhone as an excellent ADHD management tool. Every ADHDer I know who has one loves it, myself included.