Executive function disorder (EFD) can lead to problems with executive function skills such as planning and organizing, time management, and multitasking. It can be caused by many conditions, but people who are neurodivergent learners or workers are just as capable as anyone else in their abilities.
There are many technology tools and strategies that can help improve executive function. Here are some tools you can try to solve the problems everyone faces from time to time: focus and effective time planning.
Stay on Task is a Google Chrome extension that can dramatically increase your productivity. It combines a site blocker with a to-do list in a two-pronged approach to keep you focused on the task. If you try to access a blocked website, you are redirected to your original to-do list.
Stay on Task is extremely simple to use, effective and free. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out this guide on finding and installing browser extensions.
Habitica is a free productivity app that encourages you to adopt good habits and become productive by gamifying your tasks, routines, and goals. Habitica has a retro RPG interface. You create and customize an avatar, then add your tasks and routines.
When you do something in real life, check it off in the app to earn in-game rewards or enjoy a treat. Habitica’s social elements make it perfect for teaming up with friends for more responsibility. It is likely to appeal to children, but it is suitable for everyone.
To download: Habitica for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
Time Timer is as simple as a timer. He visualizes the passage of time using a red disc. Set your timer duration, press Go and watch the disc disappear over time. Let Time Timer run when you complete a task, and you’ll have a concrete reminder of how long you spent on it.
You can save timers for different purposes, adjust the color of the disc, and choose how the app notifies you when the time is up. Time Timer is available as a desktop, mobile, and Apple Watch app. A range of stand-alone timer products are also available on the Time Timer website.
To download: Timer for iOS | Android (Free)
Tiimo is for anyone who has trouble staying focused on their tasks and planning their day. It’s a visual daily planner app, which helps you create routines that work for you, so you can organize your whole day and minimize scheduling and time management hassles.
Tiimo has a full set of features. Many predefined routines and sets of activities cover all aspects of daily life. However, you can customize everything according to your preferences and you can easily import your existing calendar.
A visual timeline uses colors, icons, and emoji to help you follow along easily. You can use notifications to remind you not only of upcoming activities, but also halfway through and at the end of a period. Tiimo is designed to be inclusive and support neurodiversity, including EFD issues.
To download: Tiimo for iOS | Android (subscription required, free trial available)
5. Be focused
Be Focused is a Focus Timer that lets you use the Pomodoro Timer method to get things done. The Pomodoro Method is a time management concept that involves breaking tasks down into 25-minute periods, each followed by a short break.
The method benefits people with EFD issues, as it helps divide tasks based on a short attention span. In the meantime, regular breaks allow you to refocus.
With over 5 million users worldwide, Be Focused is one of the best focus timer apps available. Its simple interface allows you to manage your tasks and breaks. Upgrading to the Pro version removes ads and allows you to backup, export and sync your data between devices.
If Be Focused isn’t for you, explore more of the best free Pomodoro apps.
To download: Be Focused for iOS (Free) | Be Focused Pro for iOS ($4.99)
If you work on a computer, a web-based tool to help you with Pomodoro schedules comes in handy. Mark Pomodor for an easy assistant that will let you set work and break durations and send notifications to remind you when it’s time to stop working. Pomodor is free.
Marinara is another productivity timer with a bit more smoothness than a strict Pomodoro app. This is a free web tool that lets you select one of three options: Pomodoro, Custom Timer, or Kitchen Timer. Whichever you choose, you’ll enjoy a bold interface that’s hard to ignore.
Choose from an eclectic mix of alerts to notify you when your countdown is over. There’s everything from an angelic song to a fire alarm, which probably isn’t the best choice for a busy office or classroom! You can use the Marinara Timer on multiple computers so teams can keep the same schedule.
Forest is a game timer that has won multiple awards and has over 40 million users worldwide. It has a simple yet brilliant concept. Plant a seed in Forest when you need to put your phone down and stay focused on your task. Leaving the seed allows it to grow into a tree. However, using your phone causes your tree to wither.
Stay motivated and ignore your phone to grow a forest over time. And as you unlock achievements, you can plant real trees as rewards, save the planet and improve your habits.
This app is great for time management and for anyone who needs a little help cutting down on screen time.
To download: Forest for iOS ($3.99) | Android (free and premium version available)
Stay Focused and Motivated with Time Tracking Apps
With so many distractions in the world, it can be hard to stay organized and make every moment count. For anyone with EFD issues, these issues can make work, study, and even day-to-day tasks all the more difficult. Use these tools and resources to promote good time management and enjoy the positive feeling of knowing you’re using every moment of your day intentionally.