A heartfelt thank-you to Jessica from How to ADHD for this very thoughtful review of Owaves on her YouTube channel. Check out the video below or read the video transcription to learn more about her experience using Owaves!

Hello Brains!

For this video, I partnered with Owaves, which is an incredibly ADHD-friendly app that helps you plan your day, which is something that a lot of us I think need right now. It can be a really big challenge for ADHD brains to have their routines disrupted. Every time our routines get disrupted, it makes it just a little bit harder to make sure that we are prioritizing, because our brains have difficulty with planning and prioritizing. And so, if our routines that we put in place to support us get disrupted, like they do with COVID, it is really natural for us to stop taking care of ourselves as well or not make progress toward things that are important to us because they don’t have a place in our day. And if we don’t have enough external structure–you know, if we’re not going to work or going to school–we don’t have those things built in anymore, and so we have to build them back in for ourselves.

If you don’t have a lot of structure to your day right now, I really encourage you to find a way to create some structure for yourself. And that might feel kind of arbitrary at first, but if you get some sort of accountability, if you tell somebody, “Hey, this is what I’m doing, can you check in on me?” or if you get somebody else to do it with you, you know, even if it’s over Skype or Zoom or whatever. There are obviously a lot of ways to structure your day. You can do it by time blocking things out in Google Calendar. You can, you know, have your list. Our research consultant, Patrick LeCount, once gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten as an ADHD brain, which is don’t try and get everything done during a day. Figure out the three things that if you get those things done, you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll feel like, “Yeah, that day went well.”

There was this demonstration that I saw once as a kid, where there was a jar, and then there were rocks, and then there were smaller rocks, and then there was sand. And the teacher put the sand in the jar first, and then he put the little rocks in the jar, and then he put the big rocks, and the big rocks didn’t fit. There wasn’t enough space. And so he dumps everything out again and we’re like, “Well, yeah, it’s too much stuff.” But then he does it again, and he puts the big rocks in first, and then the small rocks, and then the sand, and now everything fits. And it blew my mind, I remember, as a kid. But life is kind of like that for us as adults, too. Even if you don’t schedule out your whole day, you put those big rocks in first and then your day has a little bit of more of a shape to it.

Right now I’m really liking this app Owaves because it doesn’t look like a calendar at all, which my brain likes. I don’t have the same resistance to Owaves as I do to looking at a calendar because I don’t have a negative association with it. It’s just cool and pretty, and it’s color-coded, and it’s really easy to rearrange things, which I like. It’s what I used personally when I came out to Seattle and was ready to put my routines into place and get my systems going. And because COVID hit, it just kind of disrupted everything, and so having this app to help me fill in the big rocks, to help me go, “This part of my day is going to be work,” “This part of my day I am going to make sure that I eat,” “Here’s where I take Chloe for a walk after work and that’s kind of my transition time.” I’m not going to stick to something perfectly. I’m okay with that. But just having some sense of structure to my day was really helpful for me.

You can choose whether you want it [the app] to remind you right when it’s time to switch [tasks] or if you want a bit of a heads-up. Sometimes, for some tasks, I make sure it tells me 10 minutes ahead of time so I can kind of wrap things up. I’ve actually paired it with my Apple Watch, which I got literally because of this app, because I tried it out with my friend Dani Donovan and she said that it pairs really well with the Apple Watch, and so…I got the Apple Watch. This was definitely an impulse buy, but I really like it. I like the way it integrates. It’s great, because instead of getting distracted by my phone, picking it up and seeing what I need to do next, I just get a buzz on my wrist when it’s time to switch, and it’s really easy for me to just tell what I’ve got going on that day.

If you’ve tried Owaves before, there is a new feature now, which I think is really cool. It’s called My Moai and it’s kind of a social aspect to it. You can see your friends’ days, which is nice because there’s kind of a gentle accountability there. Dani and I both tried it, and so I could see where she was at in her day and she could see where I was at in mine, and it encouraged me to make sure that mine was accurate and up-to-date. It also honestly made me feel a little closer to her, which right now, is really important. Everybody feels kind of far away, and so it’s nice to feel like you’re together even when you’re not. Another cool thing with My Moai is it will recommend other people too so you can kind of see what these people do for a living and what their day looks like, and you can kind of take some inspiration from other people, which I think is really cool.

Although Owaves itself doesn’t look like a calendar, it can actually integrate with a calendar, so my appointments still show up in my day, which is super cool. If you’re interested in trying it, I’d be really curious to know what you think. All of the information for how to download the app is in the description below. Unfortunately, right now the app is not available for Android users–I’m sorry–it’s Apple peeps only. And this version, with My Moai, actually won’t be officially released until the end of October. But, if you want to try it before then, you can go to owaves.com/howtoadhd, download Apple’s beta testing software, TestFlight, and you’ll get exclusive access to be one of the first thousand people in the world to get to try this new feature, My Moai.

However you plan your day, I do think it’s important to plan it somewhat. I think ADHDers definitely need to be flexible with their schedules, because things change, or we don’t feel like we’re in the mood for it, or our brains just straight up rebel and are like, “I’m not doing this right now.” So it’s also important to have the ability to change that plan.

But having some sense of what your day is going to look like and making sure that you’re putting in the pieces that are important to you–I think it’s really critical. And it’s the only reason that this channel exists. You know, when I started it, I was like, “Okay, those are my big rocks.” Whatever else comes up, I know that for three hours a day, I’m going to be working on the channel. You know, I’m going to be researching, or writing, or rewriting, or shooting, or whatever, and I just built that into my day from the get-go. Other things have been incredibly important to me, equally important to me, and just haven’t gotten done, which is why I own a guitar that I still can’t play, and I’ve been trying for probably 20 years. It’s important to me, but until I started building in time for it into my day, it just wasn’t happening, because other stuff was coming up. And once you have some structure, once you have those big rocks in there, then it’s easier to fill out the rest of your day, and not have it feel like it’s all just blending together.

I hope you found this video useful, whether you use Owaves or a different way to add some structure to your day. Thank you to Owaves for sponsoring this video, and thank you to my Brain Advocates and all my Patreon Brains for supporting every video, so that I can partner with only brands that I believe in. Thanks for watching! I hope you find this tool helpful. Bye, Brains!

Note: This post was originally published in 2020. While the video content remains unchanged, please be aware that some information about our app may have been improved or become outdated since then.