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How I wrangle my ADHD brain with a smart speaker

Apple’s HomePod Mini has changed my organization habits.

Apple HomePod minis in white, navy, peach, yellow, and black. Credit: Apple / Reviewed

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  1. Apple HomePod Mini

    Pros

    • Great sound

    • Compact

    • Multi-room listening

    Cons

    • Siri only

    • Requires iOS device

As one of the 4% of adults in the U.S. diagnosed with ADHD, I’m always searching for ways to make my life easier. Between memory problems, trouble focusing, and my executive dysfunction, I need a superhuman combination of personal assistant and life coach.

I haven’t found anyone like that, but Apple’s HomePod Mini, which costs $99, has managed to fill some of these roles.

About the HomePod Mini

White Apple smart speaker.
Credit: Apple / Reviewed

This smart speaker is compact and lightweight, weighing in at just under a pound.

Released back in 2020, the Mini was a more compact and cheaper version of the now-discontinued HomePod. It is a latecomer to the smart speaker game, and its smart assistant, Siri, lacks the large skill library of Amazon’s smart speaker, the Echo. But as with most Apple products, this sleek little ball of smarts plays exceptionally well with other Apple devices. Coming in black and white with a touch screen on top, this smart speaker’s look is more modern and polished than that of its contemporaries. But at $99 (twice the price of the Echo Dot), that minimalist Apple look and feature set comes at a cost.

What I like about the Apple HomePod Mini

It’s great for verbally processing

Apple emojis all saying "Hi Siri."
Credit: Apple / Reviewed

The Apple website highlights that it can recognize up to six voices when it comes to voice command—perfect for families.

To use the HomePod Mini, you can either touch the speaker or just wake it by saying, "Hey Siri,” to summon your personal assistant. I process verbally, meaning I think best when talking. So being able to shout at my clock or calendar works well for me. I like the instant interaction too, because by the time I’ve found my phone, I've forgotten what I wanted to do. I function best when I can do tasks the moment they come into my head, and the HomePod Mini makes this easier.

It helps me keep track of appointments

Just like the iPhone, the HomePod Mini schedules appointments, creates reminders, and sets timers and alarms. And when you use the HomePod, these items integrate with your iPhone and Apple Watch. When I schedule a meeting, I can ask Siri to add the appointment to my calendar, and the appointment will be on my phone without any extra steps. And since I don’t have to find my inevitably misplaced phone first, I actually schedule it before I get distracted.

The HomePod Mini’s timer and alarm functions also help me keep track of my day. One of the symptoms of ADHD can be time blindness, meaning I sometimes lose 20 minutes brushing my teeth and don't understand how. And when I do manage to focus on work, I can go for six hours without remembering to eat, stretch, or go to the bathroom. So, I set multiple timers to help structure my day. I set timers to remind me to grab my tea, get my clothes from the dryer, exercise, and other tasks and transitions. And because the HomePod Mini has room-filling sound, I don’t miss the timer or alarm if I'm elsewhere in the house.

It has big sound but a small footprint

Speaking of sound, the HomePod Mini’s audio is top quality. I personally can’t listen to anything with lyrics while I work, so I use Apple Music to create playlists of binaural music to help me get my writing done, and I can control the speaker with my voice, so I won't get distracted playing with my phone.

The HomePod Mini helps me without contributing to my clutter problem. My desk is chaotic since I’m usually doing five things at once. So, I don’t have room for a huge speaker, but I still want something that delivers good sound. At four inches, the HomePod Mini occupies very little space on my desk, and still produces high quality sound no matter where I put it.

It’s an organization powerhouse

Person sitting at desk while working on computer next to smart speaker.
Credit: Getty Images / Martin-dm

Consider it your own personal virtual assistant that lives on your desk.

The many timers, alarms, and appointment-setting options on the HomePod Mini make it easier to organize my life and ease my constant fear that I’ll forget something important. It doesn’t take up space on my desk, it plays well with my other Apple products, and I don’t have to remember to charge it since it stays plugged in. I can even use it to ping my phone, which is an absolute lifesaver given the number of times I’ve lost it somewhere in my house.

What I don’t like

Android and Google users might look elsewhere

Person hovering Apple smartphone over HomePod speaker.
Credit: Apple / Reviewed

If smartphone compatibility is a big factor to you, be wary of buying the HomePod without an Apple product.

If you don’t use Apple products, you might find the HomePod Mini less useful. It doesn’t integrate well with non-Apple technology. Another drawback is that this smart speaker doesn’t play well with some of the major music apps like Spotify. You can use Airplay to stream from your phone to the Mini, but they don’t organically interact.

And unlike Amazon’s Echo speakers, the pod isn’t linked to shopping. For me, this is preferable. But if you like to shop verbally, this won't help you.

Should you buy it?

Yellow Apple HomePod Mini, Apple watch, Macbook, and Apple iPhone.
Credit: Apple / Reviewed

If you're a frequent Apple user, the HomePod Mini is a perfect match for you.

Yes, if you use Apple devices

If you already use Apple devices and are looking for something to help you stay organized, the HomePod Mini is a great tool. For someone with ADHD, having an interactive personal assistant that is small, smart, and affordable has been a huge asset. If you’re not fully kitted up with Apple products though, this is probably a product you can skip. For me, this is one impulse buy that has been a complete game-changer.
Get the HomePod Mini from Apple for $99

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  1. Apple HomePod Mini

    Pros

    • Great sound

    • Compact

    • Multi-room listening

    Cons

    • Siri only

    • Requires iOS device

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