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You did it: You got an Alexa device to help your ADHD brain, but now what? In this post we’ll run down the best Alexa skills for ADHD.
ADHD-ers have sung the praises of Amazon Echo and Alexa as a tool for managing the ADHD brain ever since it hit the market. Writes one user: “It keeps a shopping list, a to do list, calendar, timer, and alarm. And the best part? We can do what we do best – just blurt it out when we think of it.”
The best Alexa skills for ADHD include:
|Reminders||Especially handy if you need to leave home at a certain time to make an appointment or meeting.||“Alexa, remind me to …”|
|Timers||Critical for managing time blindness.||“Alexa, set timer for XX minutes.”|
|Shopping Lists||Quick and easy way to blurt out what you need without needing to hunt down pen and paper or a mobile device.||“Alexa, add X to shopping list.”|
|To Do Lists||Perfect for when you’re in the middle of Grey’s Anatomy and realize you need to renew your car registration.||“Alexa, add X to to-do list.”
“Alexa, what’s on my to-do list?”
|White Noise||Essential for falling asleep and tuning out distractions.||“Alexa, open [sound of your choice].”|
|Alarms||Won’t fail you if your phone runs out of power.||“Alexa, set alarm for X.”|
|Meditations (example: Headspace)||For when it’s time to calm the hell down.||“Alexa, open Headspace”|
|Find my phone||Never spend a half hour looking for your phone again.||“Alexa, find my phone.”|
|Calendar||Hear about your day before it begins.||“Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?”|
|Random questions||Especially helpful for cooking. Prevents Google rabbit holes.||“Alexa, [random question here].”|
|Calculator||Prevents mobile device rabbit holes.||“Alexa, [math problem here.”|
|Todoist||If you’re a user of this popular productivity app, it’s Alexa-friendly, too!||Too many to list here!
|Shower timer||Never lose track of time in the shower again.||“Alexa, start shower timer.”|
And these just scratch the surface. You’re probably using tons of apps right now that have Amazon integrations available. While it can feel like a drag downloading a new skill and learning how to use it, once you have it you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.
Right now, the most popular device of the Alexa family is the Echo Dot. Now in its 3rd generation, I’m a proud owner of a 1st-generation model. It was gifted to me after my daughter was born and have since relied on it for cooking and breastfeeding timers/reminders, white noise, and audiobooks (unicorn ones, of course!).
Soon, the applications grew beyond the baby tasks and before I knew it, I was using the Echo Dot regularly, even as I returned to work. Alexa helps me leave the house on-time for critical appointments, keeps my shopping list handy and will play any song I want with a simple voice command (if I use the Spotify skill, which requires Spotify Premium).
Best Alexa Skills for ADHD
Have you ever put a soda in a freezer and forgot to take it out? This skill is perfect for that and about a million other situations. Simply say “Alexa, remind me to [thing you need to be reminded of].”
This is a perfect skill for those of us ADHD-ers who need to complete tasks in smaller chunks. House cleaning comes to mind the most. While a top-to-bottom clean can be too overwhelming for us, a quick 15-minute sweep of a particular zone can be helpful. For this, you would say “Alexa, set timer for 15 minutes.”
Simply talk to your Amazon Echo when you suddenly remember you need to add something to your grocery list. Check off items as you purchase them on your app, where you also can buy from Amazon directly. The most common commands are “Alexa, add X to shopping list” and “Alexa, I need to buy X.” You also can hold down the microphone button on the device and say “I need X.”
Same concept as the grocery list, except for items like getting your oil changed. The list is stored on the Amazon Echo app, where you can make edits as needed and cross off when completed. One common voice command is “Alexa, I need to X.” Others include “Alexa, add X to to-do list.” and “Alexa, what’s on my to-do list?”
I live by white noise, so to me this is by far one of the best Alexa skills for ADHD. While Amazon has its own library of sounds, you also can check out the skills shop to browse for others. While writing this article, I was super stoked to see that Brain.fm has an Alexa skill.
If using Alexa as an alarm to wake up in the morning, make sure the volume on the device is turned up high, as the alarm tone is on the mellow side. Common voice commands include “Alexa, set alarm for X,” “Alexa snooze” and “Alexa stop”.
While Headspace is the example I use at the beginning of this article, there are plenty of other meditation skills for Alexa. The important thing is that with a simple voice command you can take a few minutes for yourself and reset without fumbling around with your phone or computer trying to find what you need.
Find My Phone
Ah, possibly the most valuable skill on Alexa depending on how often you lose your phone. There are several find my phone skills out there, most of them free. The most popular one is aptly named Find My Phone and the most common voice command is “Alexa, Find My Phone.”
Start your day right by asking Alexa what’s on the agenda for the day. While you’re at it, ask about the weather and traffic so you can prepare accordingly. Common voice commands include “Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?” or “Alexa, what’s on my calendar next week?”
This is a favorite Amazon Echo feature for cooking multiple items, when multiple timers are needed. This skill also comes in handy when I need to be reminded to leave for something. Common voice commands include “Alexa, set timer for X”, “Alexa, how much time is left?” and “Alexa, stop timer.”
Need to know how long to cook brown rice in the Instant Pot? Instead of going to your laptop and risking a Google rabbit hole, just say “Alexa, how long do you cook brown rice in the Instant Pot?” Aside from cooking questions, this one can help you in a pinch if you forgot off-hand how to treat a fire ant bite (wash with soap and water, cover with a topical steroid cream and cover with a bandage).
This is another good one for cooking or really anything. It’s better than pulling out your phone because, again, you’re taking the risk of being taken off-task with distractions. To activate, simply say “Alexa, [your math problem here].”
Those who use the Todoist app will be thrilled to know there’s an Alexa skill for the productivity app. You can add tasks to your list, add items to your shopping list, hear all of your to-do items, and more. Other popular Alexa skills from productivity apps include Wunderlist, Cozi and (unofficially) Evernote.
For those who get lost during shower (or bath) time, may I introduce to you the shower timer. (Also, you can just set a standard reminder if your Alexa device is within earshot). The added benefit of these shower timers is having calculations on how much water you are saving, which can be motivating!
For those who haven’t started using voice command yet, it can seem far-fetched that the best Alexa skills for ADHD are so helpful. However, in my case, as I used the device little by little, I have now found that I can’t live without it! The most important thing is to start slow and pace yourself – find one thing you could use help with, and grow from there.