Friday, April 06, 2012

In Your Face iPad & iPhone Reminders That Work

iPad Lockscreen

You may recall that I have ADHD. It's something that has come up now & then on this blog. One of the hallmarks of ADHD is an unbelievable memory. No, really. I can't believe all the times I forget things. Like where I put my garage door opener. I just spent two days looking for it because I failed to put it in its designated place. Lots of fun.

Other things I forget are the items I go to the store for. That's why I create shopping lists. Of course, there's no hope for me if I forget to put something on the list.

iPhone Lockscreen

But the worst case of all is when I forget why I picked up my iDevice. I can be guaranteed an hour of distraction easily then. Maybe two. Then time flies by and the important item that needed doing is never done. Regrettably, there is always something more important to do than read more news or catch up on social networks. That's why I get cross with myself when I waste time, and that's why I try to stop distraction cold at the Lockscreen.

The first thing you'll need is an app that lets you create wallpapers with notes on them. The one I use is called Sticky Notes. Whatever app you choose, the most important aspect to remember is to keep things simple in three easy steps:
  1. Pick out a striking background.
  2. Put a blank note in the center of your screen.
  3. Write your reminder.
Setting wallpaper
Save, then visit your image in the camera roll of the Photos app. Select your reminder as a wallpaper there. The iPhone version of Sticky Notes opens the wallpaper preferences for you. You can select your reminder from there as well. Next time you grab your iDevice and turn it on, your reminder will be staring you in the face.
As with any sort of reminder, however, there are good and bad ways to implement them. Over time, I have found that keeping the following pointers in mind leads to more successful reminders for me:
  • Use no more than two reminders at a time.
    I have found that having a virtual todo list of items on my Lockscreen is so overwhelming I begin to ignore it.
  • Change after a week.
    Keeping the reminder fresh is key to its effectiveness.
  • Try not to have too busy or interesting of a backdrop.
    You can see for yourself that my iPad Lockscreen is much busier than the iPhone version. The busier the background, the less effective the reminders. I was more interested in playing with Decim8 than making an effective background, but coloring the reminder's text helped it stand out. Usually, tho, I opt for a less competitive background.
  • Keep the reminder short and simple.
    You only have a few nanoseconds to capture your attention before you swipe your iDevice open and dive into the Pool of Distraction. You'll tune out and eventually stop seeing the reminder altogether if your have too much text.

Obviously, this is not a sure-fire method to snap you to attention and save you from yourself. If you are craving your daily Pinterest updates, then you won't likely stop no matter how tall you type "DO YOUR TAXES!!!!!1!" on the Lockscreen. However, with training and practice, you will find that having one or two key reminders on the Lockscreen can help you keep focused when you might not otherwise be.

Follow me on Twitter as @SplinteredMind. I also explore iPhone photography with Instagram as douglascootey (peek). And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well, or find me on Path where I explore my coping strategy process.