Ask the Experts

Q: What Productivity Apps Will Keep My Teen Accountable and Motivated?

Productivity apps can motivate and hold accountable teens with ADHD who procrastinate and lose track of time and priorities. Here are five recommended by high school and college students who use them daily.

Tired student girl lying on the floor with books and gadgets

Q: “Help! My daughter is a HUGE procrastinator. She has tried everything, but nothing seems to hold her accountable and motivated. She wants to start using apps to help her stay on track. She thinks that they will be fun and therefore it might help. What apps do you suggest?” – PeachyGAMom


Hi PeachyGAMom:

Your daughter is listening to her 19-year-old ADHD gut and it’s saying, “I need something, anything that is fun and interactive to help me get motivated and be accountable.”

I’m so excited to answer this question, as I have a new book coming out in the Fall titled How To Do It Now, Cause It’s Not Going Away that focuses on procrastination in high school and college students! And, in fact, we polled dozens of students to round up their go-to, procrastination-busting apps. Here are the top five.

RescueTime

This time-tracking app is truly a game changer! It records how and where you spend your time online. It analyzes EVERYTHING you do in a day; from which apps you use to how much time you spend on your favorite websites. (No hiding your time management habits here!) Consequently, if you want to seriously eliminate the distractions in your life and get work done faster, it can even temporarily block specific time sucks.

Focus Booster

Use the Focus Booster app to apply the Pomodoro Technique on any device. Focus Booster helps you overcome distractions, maintain focus, and finish your work on time. I like it as it provides a deep understanding of your work cycles to improve productivity. Pomodoro sessions are automatically recorded so you can review your output and track your time.

[Click to View: 25 Great Mobile Apps for ADHD Minds]

Brain.fm

Does your daughter know that music helps you focus when you’re working or studying? The Brain.fm app uses an idea called dynamic attending theory, which suggests that certain rhythms and tone patterns can help your brain focus. Just open the app and tap on the listening mode you want, and music starts playing. Options include focus, sleep, recharge, and meditation. Focus mode is great for when you’re trying to get and stay in the zone. My students swear by it.

Quizlet

Quizlet, available through via app or website, is like the mothership calling your daughter home! It lets you create your own flash cards (a fab tool for memorizing important facts and figures for exams) or use ones made by other students (which is exactly how my son got through AP government his senior year)! It has live games, more than 300,000 study sets, and claims that more than 90 percent of students who use its resources report higher grades. I would drink their Kool-Aid, too!

StickK

We know that, when we’re working alone, it’s super easy to procrastinate. There’s no one to hold you accountable and no consequences hanging over your head. StickK lets you put your money where your mouth is. Literally! You actually lose money if you don’t follow through on your commitments! Here’s how it works:

You set a goal and commit to doing it over a period of time. (I’m going to study for my Economics test for the next five days, or I’m going to clean and organize my room every Tuesday evening.) Set a sum of money that you are willing to lose if you don’t reach your goal. Make sure to pick a sum that will be painful enough to motivate you but doesn’t leave you penniless if you fail. You can even invite supporters for extra accountability and recruit a referee who confirms whether you succeeded in reaching your goal. You decide who gets your money if you fail. And here’s where it has got to hurt: You want to pick a cause that you don’t believe in or a person who you deeply dislike! Who wants to lose money that way?

If your daughter wants more apps to help with time management and productivity, please have her visit our website, orderoochaos.com. Our resource section is filled with them.

Good Luck.

[Read This Next: Finally, Apps That Build Productive Habits]


ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to the ADHD Family Coach here!

Updated on May 20, 2020

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