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How I (re)Discovered the Best Tool I Have for Coping with ADHD

Turns out it’s been with me my whole life.

Gray Miller
5 min readJan 20


I am an idea machine.

I laugh when I get the spam emails promising yet another course in “how to be more creative.” How is that a problem? I can come up with a dozen ideas for articles, games, stories, projects, you name it, all before my morning coffee is done.

Just one problem: I can’t remember them.

Not in my head, at least. Especially when they’re mixed in with things I need to do, books I want to read, appointments I want to keep, or other administrivia of my life.

Just capture it in your phone notes app,” is the common wisdom. Which usually goes something like this:

  1. Hey, I’ve got a great idea!
  2. Pull out the phone.
  3. See the notifications on the Home Screen.
  4. Tap one, putatively to unlock the phone, but that takes me to the app that posted the notification.
  5. Maybe that requires a reply or an acknowledgement; it also makes me wonder what else have I missed?
  6. A ridiculously easy swipe down on the screen shows all the other notifications, each of which loops back to #5.
  7. Any of the number of other app icons on my phone — designed to be eye-catching and fingertip-attracting — might also end up getting in the way of what I actually pulled my phone out to do, which is
  8. To pull up one of a bajillion note-taking apps and actually write down what the original idea was…assuming I can remember it.

Eight steps to catch an idea, on a device where companies have literally spent millions of dollars designing user-interfaces that will catch my attention.

And that’s when the voice in my head says “Why don’t you just…”

Maybe you’re saying it too. “Real first-world problem, Gray. Just stop getting distracted by the shiny icons and beepy notifications and get on with your life.

You don’t have to say it — I’ve said it to myself, for years. Decades. I just need to buckle down, focus, be disciplined, get serious, or that…



Gray Miller

Gray is a former Marine dancer grandpa visualist who writes to help adults figure out what they want to be when they grow up.