Inflow Preview: A week with the Digital ADHD Program
Oh hello there! Welcome to my Inflow Preview. I recently got access to trial the "first science-based digital program to manage ADHD", as they say on their website. ADHD support comes in all shapes and sizes, and I imagine anyone reading this has downloaded a fair few mental health and productivity apps in their time, so i thought I'd tell you about my experience with Inflow.
First, some caveats. Inflow is currently in beta, slowly allowing a few people to join at a time as they build and improve the product. Indeed, even in the week that I used the application, the Inflow team deployed several updates. Which is all to say, this isn't the finished product. That's why it's a preview, not a review.
Secondly, I have ADHD. By which I mean, obviously, I missed a few days with a new application - but I didn't want to rush through it's programs, as I wanted to use it as I would have done regardless. If only because, hey, who knew I'd actually getting around to writing this?
Inflow Preview: Signing up
The process for signing up to Inflow is pretty simple, first you join the waitlist, and then, you forget that you've actually done that until one day an email arrives in your inbox inviting you to join. That's when you can go ahead and download the app.
You'll then go through a short questionnaire that asks for a little bit of information about you, nothing deeply personal, though given the ADHD community as I know it there should perhaps be more gender options. They'll also ask you what you'd like to achieve by using Inflow.
Inflow requires you to agree to a subscription up front, now, I have a few thoughts on this. The first I will say, is that Inflow are very aware that subscriptions are not necessarily the easiest thing for the ADHD adult to keep track of. Inflow does have a process in place to remind you that your trial is due to end before the subscription is charged, and they'll refund you if you forget.
The second thought is, well, that is good, but I'm wary of anything that adds administrative steps to the process, as that can sometime represent a barrier to me getting the thing done at all.
Inflow Preview: Pricing
You never really know how much an app is really going to cost while it's in beta, generally as user bases build, they get cheaper. Right now, I would say that Inflow is a little on the pricey side. But it's difficult to tell, as there's not really anything like it. Nothing quite so specific to helping ADHD folks directly.
It costs £85.99 a year, or £19.99 a month. As I say, there's not a good comparison to be found, but if we look at Calm or Headspace, Inflow is £40-£50 more expensive on an annual plan. Additionally, the disparity between the monthly and the yearly is much too high. Where Inflow might actually learn from Calm is in their Calm for Life plan. Essentially a one off plan that, while expensive, gives you access to everything forever.
There's a free plan though, well, the Inflow team are aware of the fact that many ADHD support mechanisms are inaccessible to too many and so you can apply, via a simple Typeform, to receive a free subscription, which they say they accept a limited number of. Student discount applications can also be made the same way.
Inflow Preview: Features
Predominately, the Inflow experience breaks down into five key areas:
Daily Focus, where you input the one thing you really want to get done for the day.
Program, where you tackle one module from Inflow's bespoke programs that train you to manage elements of the ADHD experience (I chose Impulsivity for my weekly trial).
Challenges, where you track your progress with the specific tasks (homework?), that you'll be assigned at some of the end of these daily modules.
Community, where each day Inflow will ask a question for the community to answer. You can read your fellow Inflow-ers comments and pop a little like on the ones you... well, like.
Events, once or twice a week a member of the Inflow team will host a live event via zoom, which you can access by pressing on event in app.
Currently, the programs and challenges are the most built out area of Inflow. While I was there there were 9 separate programs that focused on areas such as organisation, managing money, an intro to ADHD and the one I chose, Impulsivity.
The way these work, essentially, is that you listen to a short lesson (which is also provided in text), you then get a few bullet point takeaways before being set a challenge. These may be a simple, one-off task, or something longer term that's more geared towards habit forming. You can jot your progress in Inflows in-app journal.
Inflow has a fine line to tread between too much or too little when it comes to, what someone with ADHD might want. For me, if I'm in for a new life management system - I want to be all in - and I didn't feel like there was quite enough substance for me in the modules I completed, but then, someone else might find the level of depth i want to be off-putting.
I'd like to see a bit more of a happy medium drawn, and one potential solution could be opening up the programs a bit. Currently, you can only go through one course at a time but the lessons themselves are around five minutes. I think a limit is good for reducing the chance of burnout (or failure) but I feel like being able to do 2 or 3 at a time would be fine.
The other elements aren't quite as deep for the time being, but I think they'll build in time. I can't imagine a platform such as this isn't looking at ways of developing the in-app community functions. Daily focus is a neat idea, just one thing, but it's essentially just an alarm. It's useful though, and having a single task to be mindful of can allow for a little self-compassion when other things in your day to day start to pile up.
At least you got your daily focus done.
Inflow Preview: Roundup
I'm not going to put a verdict here or anything, ultimately I think Inflow is a great app and a fantastic beta for something that I hope really succeeds. I'd love to see what this program can do once it's had a little time to build up its feature set.
This app is very clearly put together by people who understand the ADHD experience, indeed, many members of the Inflow team are ADHD themselves. There's not quite enough for me to invest in it right now, and I'd be loath to take one of the free spots away from someone less secure than I am.
So for now, I'll just keep tabs on how it grows, and hopefully, in a little while I'll be back here with a full review of a finished and flourishing Inflow.