My mind races a thousand miles a minute. Or at least it feels that way. It always has. Since I was a child, I’ve always had this constant stream of noise going on in my head. When it’s too loud, I simply revert to a daydream to block it out. These daydreams are typically elaborate and full of all the detail of a J.R.R. Tolkien book.
Such daydreams tend to arise during times of extreme stress or tiredness. As a little kid – this meant almost always. I was often in what looked like “a fog”, my eyes glazed over and body language unreceptive to the goings-on of the present moment. People often waved their hands in front of my face. “Hello?” they asked. “What are you staring at?” they said with an attitude, their assumption being that my transfixed eyes were in focus at all. Needless to say, my inability to pay attention has been a hindrance to me for a long time.
I will table the discussion on ADD, for the sake of keeping this article lighthearted and with the knowledge that many of us struggle with varying attention spans for different reasons. We all want to get things done and hardly anyone can deny that our attention has been fragmented as technology has evolved our methods of consuming information and entertainment.
Rather than feeling disgruntled at technology, why not use it to our benefit? Here are my favorite apps for those like me – with limited attention spans:
I “Google” the same things over and over again. I will research something, like “The best Spa in NYC” and do some thorough research until I am satisfied with my final answer. I will then use it. The problem is, a month later I will do the research all over again.
Evernote has a plethora of great uses for the attention challenged. The way I use it is simply by making a “note” on anything I research and adding any pages, links, paragraphs or pictures that I think may be helpful to me later on. Now I simply need to search for “spa” and Evernote will bring up all the notes in which that word is used. Evernote syncs on multiple devices. Need to know your wifi password and don’t want to leave the couch? Just do a quick search on Evernote. This has saved me TONS of time!
It’s hard to stay motivated. We often have great goals and intentions but don’t always follow through, especially when we don’t have someone to be accountable to. It’s far too easy to say, “I’ll just do it tomorrow”.
This app was named by Forbes as “the cheapest self-help product ever created”. It is a simple way to create goals and keep track of them daily. You simply “check in” when you have accomplished a goal. Others can see your progress and comment or like it – thus giving you extra incentive to actually work out as much as you say you will. This is my favorite new productivity app by far.
Problem # 3 – Keeping Track of Consumption
Those of us who don’t pay attention easily often don’t pay attention to when or what we eat. For me, this means I eat a lot when I am bored or feel the need to fill the time by doing something productive (feeding my face). Needless to say, this is not good for my health or my waistline.
This is the king of nutritional apps, in my opinion. As numerous studies point out, when you are monitoring your daily food intake you reach your goals twice as fast. Without fail, using this app helps me make better choices and keeps me on track when I want to trim down. It also helps me be aware of how nutritionally balanced my days are and reminds me that three candy-bars a healthy breakfast does not make.
I have trouble remembering things. My problem with this is so bad that it’s good. I can watch a movie and completely forget it a few months later and watch it again with the same curiosity. All joking aside, working memory is a big part of intelligence and an important thing to maintain for mental health as we age.
This site encourages users to play games on a daily basis. These games were created based on scientific research and are proven to help your brain health. The more you play, the more your “BPI” (brain performance index) goes up. I have seen a marked change in certain things, such as working memory the more I use this site.
I can never remember what restaurants or meals I’ve tried or liked. Sometimes someone will say, “have you been there?” and I will honestly not remember.
Yelp is a not just a great app for finding a place but also for keeping track of where you’ve been. When you check in with Yelp, make a comment about what you ate there and you’ll have a log of both your favorite (and not so favorite) locations and meals. Some other “check in” apps like FourSquare or Instagram might serve this purpose too – just remember to jot down a comment that will help you remember the details.
So how does this fit into the StoryShelter blog? Well as you can see, one of the keys to remembering something is keeping track of it through a site or an app. Just the act of doing this can help you remember, not to mention being able to find your entry at a later date. StoryShelter is a big believer that gratitude is a part of a healthy, happy life. So we have built the site with that in mind – and have created an area where you can record your “gratitudes” each day. Simply log in to the StoryShelter homepage and scroll down to the bottom to record your daily gratitudes. For more on the power of gratitude, check out our blog post here.
These are just my personal favorite apps that I use regularly as an attention-challenged entrepreneur. What are some of your favorite apps?