Take a moment and picture someone with ADHD. Did an image of a child bouncing off the walls come to mind?
Perhaps it's because most Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnoses happen in childhood–with the average age of diagnoses in children being only 7 years, according to the CDC's 2013 report on ADHD
The reality is that ADHD affects adults too. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 4.4% percent of adults have been diagnosed with ADHD, with many more going undiagnosed.
Some estimate that 8-9% of adults are living with some sort of Attention Deficit Disorder which would make it "the second most common neuropsychiatric disorder after depression," according to Dr. Adler, the director of the Adult ADHD Program at NYU Langone Health.
For years, Llama Life founder Marie Ng was one of those undiagnosed adults with ADHD. When she finally got her diagnoses 12 years ago, Marie started searching for ADHD tools for adults. Specifically, she was looking for something to help with organizing her to do list and her inattentive symptoms like time blindness.
Unfortunately, she couldn't find what she was looking for. So she decided to create her own tool.
"I really wanted to create a product to help myself. I had been doing timeboxing for a long time just using timers, but I wanted a way to be able to quickly and easily attach those timers to specific tasks, and I just couldn’t find a product that worked the way I wanted it to." - Marie Ng
And thus Llama Life was born!
A productivity tool loved by adults with ADHD
To be clear, Llama life isn't an official, doctor-recommended tool for adults with ADHD (although, some ADHD coaches have recommended us to their clients).
In fact, Llama Life was designed to help everyone, both neurodiverse and neurotypical, achieve calm, focused productivity. And both our users with ADHD and those without it tell us about how much they love the tool and how much it's helping them.
Each day we receive heartfelt emails from our users and community members with ADHD telling us about their search for ADHD tools for adults, and how Llama Life is exactly what they've been looking for.
Our mission is to help all our users have calm, focused productivity through creating a tool which never feels overwhelming, is fun and easy to use, and allows personalization to a level where you can tailor the experience to how your brain works.
Llama Life is all about helping you work through your to-do list, rather than just making never-ending lists. Using the concepts of timeboxing and the Pomodoro Technique (created by Francesco Cirillo), combined with a flexible, adaptable approach, Llama Life goes beyond being your everyday task manager, or task timer tool.
What is ADHD?
But firstly, what is ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a complex brain disorder where individuals may have trouble focusing on tasks or activities, may become easily distracted or forgetful, find it difficult to or can’t focus, and may struggle with organization and planning. They may also have difficulty sitting still, may talk excessively, and may act impulsively without thinking through the consequences of their actions.
We know first hand from our community (and personal experience), that ADHD can have a significant impact on daily life, including academic and professional performance, relationships, and employment. However, with appropriate treatment, support, and systems in place, we know individuals with ADHD can lead successful and fulfilling lives.
Recognizing common symptoms of adult ADHD
We all face difficulties when it comes to being productive. But it's the extent or impact of ADHD symptoms that can sometimes make being productive feel impossible. Common symptoms of Adult ADHD include:
- Time blindness
- Difficulty with attention, focus and concentration
- Lack of motivation to get started
- Can't organize or prioritize tasks
- Getting bored easily
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Easily distracted and procrastinating
How Llama Life can help manage time blindness & improve your focus
If you’re an adult with ADHD, we hear you loud and clear when it comes to time blindness and focus. There are times when you’re experiencing time paralysis, you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can’t focus, and you feel like you’ve tried all ADHD tools for adults out there. We’ve gotcha.
Better understand the passage of time by using timers
Time blindness is the inability to sense the passing of time, and for many ADHDers, it's very easy to lose the track of time. What a lot of people don't understand is that time blindness is more a sensory issue, rather than an intentional disregard for time. Whilst some ADHDers find a physical timer, like the Time Timer really helpful, others may prefer a digital timer, or a combination of the two.
With Llama Life, you can set a fixed amount of time for each task, which can help to intensify focus and encourages working on one thing at a time. We also offer two digital timers - a pie timer, or a countdown timer.
Unlike other timeboxing apps or Pomodoro tools, our pie timer shows 'remaining time' in an absolute sense. This means a 10 minute slice of time always looks the same, and will appear double the size of a 5 minute slice. This will help the abstract concept of time to feel more concrete on a daily basis.
Customize alarms to work for you
Often, staying on task and focusing for longer periods of time can be difficult with adult ADHD. What a lot of our community members find a really effective tool are alarms. Once you've broken your larger tasks into smaller, doable chunks, have set a time limit per task, use one or a combination of our alarms to help keep you on track.
We have a range of alarms including:
- Silent/Visual - no sound, flashes color when time is up. Perfect for when you're in a meeting
- Nag Alarm - plays sound when time is up, then reminds you every minute until you turn it off
- Continuous - plays sounds when time is up, then plays continuously until you turn it off
Understand what time your tasks will start and end
We're not a calendar app, and we're definitely not trying to be one! But in place of having a calendar, we've added features to help with your time blindness even further.
With Llama Life, you'll be able to see the start and end time for each task on your list. This time isn't static like a calendar, but will show you the start and end time as you work through your day factoring in any changes you make.
You'll also be able to see your total list time and estimated finishing time, this will help you plan your day better as you'll quickly see if you've overcommitted your to-do list.
Build awareness of overtime, and track extra time spent
We understand that there will be times when you're in flow, and want to keep working after the timer ends. You often can't predict when you'll get into a flow state, but you can be reassured that Llama Life will capture any extra time spent on a task!
When the timer hits 00:00, Llama Life will start counting the extra time spent, so all time is accounted for.
Understand how you're spending your time
It's always a great idea to reflect on how you've spent your time, as a better understanding of this will improve your skills on estimating how much time to dedicate to each task. To help with this, Llama Life will show you a simple report on the tasks you've completed and how much time they took. This report will include all completed tasks whether they're simple tasks you complete on a daily basis, or more complex, or ad hoc tasks.
Use Llama Life to Help Manage Your Distractions
Distractions! They are all around us, everywhere! And they are all fighting for your attention. As a task manager, we want to help you laser focus on each task, whilst minimising distractions.
Set gentle reminders to stay on track
We're constantly surrounded by potential distractions, and sometimes need a reminder to bring our attention back to the task at hand. To help with this, Llama Life can play a soft chime at an interval of your choosing. For example, you can have a 25 minute timer which plays an alarm at the end, but also have a chime play every 6 minutes within that to help bring your attention back to the task you're working on.
Drown out distracting noises
Listening to white or brown noise whilst working can improve your focus, as it can help drown out the often distracting chatter of your thoughts and surroundings, in turn, helping you to relax.
With Llama Life, you can replace the unwanted noises around you with lovely background sounds. You'll be able to choose sounds from a beach, forest, thunderstorm, and wind.
Llama Life is easy to use and feels deceptively simple
We've all come across tools that promise to help, but once you log in or start using it... there's so many bells and whistles that you feel overwhelmed, adding another barrier to using it. This is not our philosophy!
Our aim is to never overwhelm you, and to be a task manager which not only helps you create your to-do list, but to also whiz though your list.
Create templated lists to save you time
Preset Lists are one of our community's most loved features. At first they seem so simple - they're lists that you can make ahead of time and use to create routines of daily tasks, or group common sets of tasks together - but the possibilities are endless!
To save time, plan ahead, and to help create calm and structure to your day, we’ve created a templates page where you can view, be inspired, and directly import Preset Lists to use.
You could import and then use our 'Morning Routine’ template as your daily checklist, to help make sure you start your day, the right way for you. You could also use our Eat the Cake template for when Eatting the Frog seems too daunting or overwhelming.
Or, you could create your own Preset Lists to use however you like. Some users have used Presets to replace their weekly planner.
One idea is to use Preset Lists to make sure you have breaks throughout the day, as we know it's often easy to forget! Having a Preset List of different break sizes (5 minute break, 30 minute lunch break etc) will help you to remember!
Integrate with your existing workflow
We want to add to your existing productivity system, not overcomplicate it. Llama Life is designed to complement your other task management tools like your calendar or planner.
Llama Life also integrates with Todoist and Notion (Notion integration in Beta) so you can continue to work with your favorite tools by importing tasks and to do lists from Todoist and Notion with just a few clicks.
Add fun to your Adult ADHD management tool kit with Llama Life
As they say, life's too short to not have fun! And we couldn't agree more! Plus having fun, or enjoying what you're working on, means more stimulation that can help to increase dopamine more quickly.
Often, adult ADHD brains can struggle to maintain motivation when the rewards or impact takes longer to achieve (why breaking up larger goals is a must). We've considered this greatly in our design, and have sprinkled in fun and whimsy throughout Llama Life.
Personalize with colors and emojis
You can personalize each task by choosing an emoji and individual task colors. This helps to visually group similar tasks together or highlight tasks which need to stand out. Your to-do list does not need to be boring!
Celebrate every task you complete
Along with our options to personalize your experience with colors and emojis, we also celebrate each and every single task completed with confetti. 🎉
Because, we believe every win should be celebrated!
More ADHD friendly features to come in 2023
With every single feature we add to Llama Life, we want to be able to help our community members tackle one or more of the difficulties with productivity they may be experiencing. If you have ADHD, know that we take your feedback to heart, and are always trying to think of ways we can help. And we're proud to be part of your Adult ADHD management system.
We have many more features coming this year that we hope will help make 2023 your most productive year yet! We have plans for a mobile app, more sound related features to help you recenter, integration improvements and more- watch this space!
As you use Llama Life, we'll love to hear your thoughts, feedback and any feature ideas you may have.