Wrapping up

So this is my last week at Sydney Dance Company and in rather than doing a big card and big gift we had individual cards and gave some money to a couple of animal sanctuaries that I really wanted to support.

The past 5+ years changed me immensly. When I started I definitely did not have qualifications of a unicorn. But the support from the incredible women who I’ve been lucky to call my bosses and mentors, and the unconditional love and support from my community at SDC and the #tessituranetwork has changed my life.

I will always be grateful for the opportunities to strive and push, grow and change. Opportunities to make small changes the in work life of colleagues with automations, or strategic inputs to the growth of the business be, it data driven decisions, silo removing technology, or EDI.

You learn a lot about your best self through goodbyes. Things that you overlook in your day to day struggles. I’m thankful for the inclusion and acceptance, never being patronised, compitence assumed. The lack of barrier between artists and admin at SDC proves that we are striving for the same goal

“We believe that dance changes you. To experience contemporary dance is to go on an inspiring and fulfilling journey. More than simply witnessing something beautiful or engaging with an art form, it is to be positively altered.”

Whether that’s through teaching dance to youth remotley during lockdown, choerographing exceptional works of beauty and relevance, or mentoring new DBAs that need support; we are working off the same playbook. To leave the world in a better place than when we found it.

Thank you for never treating me like I didn’t belong, thank you for giving me space to have a voice, thank you for allowing me to change and make change.

#SydneyDanceCompany #TessturaNetwork #ActuallyAutistic (at Sydney, Australia)
https://www.instagram.com/p/Chys8ZbPt5o/?igshid=NGJjMDIxMWI=

Planners and diaries with ND brains in mind

At the start of the year, like many folks, I’ve jumped back into getting the chaos of my job back into order with new planners and journals. Yes, again. However, this year I’ve stumbled across some great ones that I wanted to share.

The Hero’s Journal

A friend from my ASD&D (Autism Spectrum Dungeons and Dragons) group brought this up with me a while ago and I’ve since been enraptured by it.  The Hero’s Journal is a daily planner, diary, … thing … that has developed a bit of traction across the neurodiversity community. It takes something that you want to achieve and presents it in a Magical Quest form to keep it interesting and fun.  It’s not just whimsical, it presents pretty concrete psychological planning conceits in a (let’s face it) wonderfully nerdy way, giving your personal project the Joseph Campbell treatment.  It comes in two versions, the Adventure style and a Magical Wizardry School  style

The hardest thing was coming up with a project, and after wracking my brain (pardon the pun) I came up with my mental health. I’ve got so many things that I really want to do at any one time that coming up with a single project seemed small – that’s until I stepped back a bit. So much of what I’ve been trying to achieve (autistic advocacy, personal fitness, support groups, etc) fall completely under my constant struggle with my own mental health. It was a bit of a revelation that I could unify so much of what I want to get done day to day under that super objective.

It starts with mapping out what you want to achieve and getting you to define the stakes. The rest of the journal is a daily planner with 3 goals and a threat and ally list. At first I was a bit sceptical but recurring threats kept appearing during my early morning planning sessions which highlighted lurking concerns that I had in the back of my mind unacknowledged.  The allies section was great.  Full disclosure, I’m terrible at gratitude. Judge me all you like, I don’t understand the concept.  But an ally list was great for me identifying people and processes that I had in my corner.  

More info on it here https://theherosjournal.co/

The Anti-Planner

Dani Donovan (https://www.adhddd.com/) is a cartoonist who creates content explaining the struggles of ADHD.  She is marvellous and funny and well worth following on Insta.  HOWEVER her new project is the Anti-Planner.  

How many of us have picked up a planner on the 1st January only to find that after a few entries it falls by the wayside? Well the Anit-Planner is the thing you do before you get to the Journal (in retrospect this should have been in the beginning of the post)

The by-line is “How to get sh*t done when you don’t feel like it”.  It tackles project management, not through planning, but by dealing with the road bumps and potholes that derail us.  

I’m beta testing the Overwhelmed section, which is one of the 5 categories of roadblocks.  The others are Stuck, Unmotivated, Unorganised and Discouraged.  Each of these areas have their own unique challenges and Dani has collected some incredible “mini-games” to clear that path to success.  The first task in Overwhelmed is “How to half *** a project” designed to overcome perfectionism. There are 2 lists to fill out here, what is the meat of the project (aka the “must haves”) and what is the gravy (aka nice but are not necessary). Another task is this section is dealing with your dreaded Procrastination Hit List.  Cartoon those tasks you keep putting off on the supplied Wanted Posters and send out a posse to bring ’em in!  

There are silly things in there but all back with solid psychological theory.  It’s an amazing way of getting Projects back on track when you “you know what you need to do, but struggle to get yourself to do it”

Combating Overcommitment & Monotasking: Good tips on hacking my job

How to ADHD has really been on the money lately with incredible work tips that have really sung to me.

Taking on too much work

Ah YES! Over committing is a huge challenge for my life for a number of reasons.  Living a life in line with your values seemed a bit like the title of a pop psych book from the 90s (and personal baggage for another time). However stepping back for a minute and looking at what life values I need to prioritise was really great. Instead of fitting in one more request for other people, I really need to hit pause and take time out for myself, and the things on the top of my value list that I’m ignoring.  Things like personal health and relationships.

One way that I’m looking at that at the moment is by monitoring my emotional health using the Daylio app.  It also tracks potentially related stuff like healthy eating, exercise and personal timeouts.  Because the best way to get an over committed data junkie to take time out is with the lure of more data.

The other thing is Trello.  I talk about this a lot.  I have a personal Kanban for projects that I need to achieve and hard and soft deadlines for that.  For other work requests I’m building in two times a day of 30 minutes where I clear &/or prioritise those requests. Of course I can’t ignore everyone (as much as that sounds like heaven) but it does mean that I can block out times to focus and on what task knowing that the alerts will get dealt with in their own space.

Monotasking

That’s a great segue into the other great vlog –  Monotasking.  It’s a great reminder about the illusion that multitasking is somehow good.  I’ve known for a long time that my brand autistic neurotype deals with interruptions by crashing my brains hard drive.  It’s no secret that changing my focus requires a good 5-10 seconds to shelve what I was doing and making the turn.  Even then it takes a bunch of effort to do.  But split focus is also a pain for other neurotypes.  

Monotasking is a great way to do lots well.  Blocking out slabs of time to get things done.  It’s also good to block in slabs of time to do social or answer people’s questions.  It’s an idea I want to try out more and see how it goes.

Here are the two quick YouTube eps that I’m talking about.  Love to hear the ways you are hacking your work for your brain.