Staying on Task: Cool Gadgets

With so many interesting things to notice and think about, it can be hard for the AD/HD brain to stay on task at times… particularly during either routine or daunting tasks.

For students, focusing might be tough during classes at school, especially when a teacher is talking for an extended period or when it is time for a quiet task like a math worksheet  or silent reading. Homework can pose a similar challenge. Similarly, college students may face  challenges focusing during lectures or study sessions or adults may “drift off” during meetings.

Another challenge – at any age – is focusing while engaging in work on the computer. It can be oh so easy to check email, facebook or other engaging internet sites and lose track of the task at hand.

And what about tedious chores like cleaning the bedroom?  Or … you name it, many chores pose challenges to focusing for anyone, but especially for those with an active AD/HD brain.

Setting timers, cell phone alarms, and the like to ring at regular intervals can be helpful. When the timer or alarm rings,  it is a reminder to ask one’s self : “Am I on task?” and to re-focus if need be.  For some people, and during some tasks, reminders can be at 10 -15 minute intervals. Sometimes intervals as frequent as 5 minutes can be useful.

It’s one thing to have an alarm ring at home during homework or in your private office to remind you to stay on task, … but what about situations in which an alarm might be embarrassing or intrusive, such as the classroom, a lecture hall, the library, a meeting?

Consider these gadgets: 

1) A recent post on an Additude Magazine weblog  ( describes a handy tool called the “MotivAider.” This small tool can be worn like a pager and set to vibrate at chosen intervals. You can use the vibration as a reminder to yourself to check on your focus and return to the task at hand if your attention has strayed. To learn more, check out the “MotivAider”  online at

2) A vibrating watch works on the same principle, and one called “Watchminder 2” can be programmed not only to vibrate but also to display a personal reminder message. As an example, one product reviewer ( said her child chose the reminder “payattn”, short for “pay attention.” “Watchminder 2” is described in more detail online at

How often does your attention stray during routine tasks, quiet work, or while using the computer?

What helps keep you on track?

Have you tried either the “MotivAider” or “Watchminder”?

What gizmos and gadgets help you manage AD/HD-related challenges?

Posted in attention, focus, technology

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