All right. Hi, everyone. Welcome to a another episode long awaited episode of all the things ADHD. Back from
the dead, it's your favorite ADHD podcast. Amy, I know.
I'll try to meet those out as they come but just to just to give an idea of where we are right now is literally before we recorded, had to go get a Kleenex box put next to her. I will have to be quick on the mute button for my cough. This isn't the only reason why we haven't been recording lately.
But, you know, dear listeners also that I'm using the good Kleenex is that's how sick I am as we went out and we got the Kleenex brand with soothing lotion because I'm not just rubbing tree against my face. At this point. My skin is all coming off around my nose. And I'm like, I'm so sick. I need the good clean accents. Yes, that's where we're at. Right good clean X's and mute buttons. And yeah, pasty mouths, and
yeah. Can I tell you this? Happy Easter? Yeah, it's good Friday. Today. It's a Good Friday.
It's a good Friday hotel quick
side of round clinic. I
mean, how could you not?
I know. We were I was staying at a hotel recently. And there was no Kleenex in the hotel room. There was like, the covers for the Kleenex and all that. And so I went out and the housekeeper's were in the hallway, but they didn't speak English. And I, I was saying tissue because I was like, maybe they know tissue. And they were like, towel, and I'm like, no tissue tissue and like pointing to my nose and everything.
And then universal tented finger. Yeah, gesture over. Yeah, exactly. Which means Yeah,
they still didn't understand. But I needed to use actually the brand Kleenex. Mm hmm. Because I knew they didn't have Kleenex. I knew it was just generic tissue. But they becomes like, like fridge or whatever it's become so inter codable Yeah, that I was I was consciously trying not to say Kleenex, but I needed to say Kleenex in order to actually be understood. It was the funniest thing in the universe because they like toilet paper and I'm like, No.
Kleenex Kleenex. Oh, would it surprise you li to know that I know the technical term for that sort of thing. Oh, it wouldn't surprise me but wouldn't surprise you. It's a brand EPO Nim, right, a brand opponent which means like Xerox, like Kleenex where the brand name category leader becomes so heavily associated with the category itself, that it becomes the generic noun, which is like both what you want. As a as a company like SkiDoo for snowmobile, in northern Ontario writes could do as a brand, snowmobile is the category name. So you sort of want that as the brand because it means that you are identified with thing but you don't want it so much. That then you lose your trademark. Right? So you want people to think of Kleenex when they blow their nose, and they're gonna go to the store and buy the brand called Kleenex, but you don't want everybody using the Kleenex in an undefended trademark sort of way to such an extent that you anybody can use the word Kleenex when they sell tissues, right. So that's an app on a brand eponym You're welcome. Thank you. You didn't need that information. But I was. We did.
We did. We all did. That's come for the come for the advice on ADHD stay for the actual ADHD side
for the ADHD sidewise diaper focuses. I mean, it's not like I'm teaching a history and theory of media course of mass media course. And we did a whole thing on on branding and productize ation and, and all of that stuff. Did you know I have to give you a side quest here. Yeah, that there is a person employed by the Swiss government. And their title is I don't know if you can handle this director of swiftness enforcement
directorate, do this person. I don't know if you know, but Toblerone, the chocolate bar is moving production out of Switzerland. Right. So they have been required by the Directorate of swiftness enforcement to take the matter whoring right, which is the most famous Swiss mountain and that is the triangle shape of the Toblerone. And it is in fact a mountain that's drawn on the side of the box. They have to remove that it cannot be the Matterhorn anymore because the chocolate bar is now insufficiently Swiss in content and that people will pay a 60% premium on a chocolate bar that comes from Switzerland and that is why the director of swiftness enforcement is enforcing the strict categories of what constitutes swiftness because it is something like 10 billion dollar a year brandmark that it adds value to the Swiss economy is the quality of Swiss Miss being associate P will pay apparently 200% More for a watch. That is Swiss made and they will pay 60% More for a bar of chocolate that is Swiss made. So you can see Toblerone will be quite happy to maintain its association with Swiss SNESs. But the director of swiftness enforcement says no. Possibly in French, possibly in French, maybe German. Yes. Maybe German or possibly
German. Yeah. Yeah. This seems like a very German side of the, although the French are very protective as well, there is Yeah. So
I mean, in aside related note, Americans just decided that Gouda is a generic name for cheese, which also enraged, the Swiss director of sleeplessness enforcement because Gouda is a region and a specific type of cow that needs a specific type of grass. And this cheese is aged in a specific type of way, in a Swiss location swiftly, but an American court has like yeah, Gouda is just another word for cheese. I mean, Americans, y'all are Philistines. Right? You've also just decided that oat beverage can now be called milk because the American consumer is smart enough to know that it doesn't actually mean dairy milk. But I don't think that is in fact true. No, are you are you? I mean, the way your schools are? I'm not quite sure. So there you go. swiftness Gouda has this. Toblerone Kleenex. What the hell were we going to talk about today? leat? Everybody missed us? They're like, Oh, you're back? Yeah.
They are. So back they have like, so we have one of like,
a month of like anecdotes. Did you know, I was reading in the New York Times. Yeah. Okay, great.
Let me tell you all about my branding class.
That's right. Yeah. What were we talking about?
Our brains are very, we're always talking about our brains. And we are literally reenacting how our brains work. unvarnished sort of way. But we were going to we were going to talk about how we get gained on Yeah, bigger, bigger. Yeah. Yeah. And beginning in beginning our thinking,
beginning our thinking. Brains are weird. Yes. Right. Especially, are weird. Yeah. And but I've been thinking a lot as I've come back this semester, after my burnout Leave about what works for me and doesn't work for me as I'm trying to rethink like, how am I going to relate to my job in this post pandemic world where we have all as we mentioned last time, seen some things and been through some stuff, right. And for some of us, the scales have fallen from our eyes about some of the things we don't wish to go back to some of the things that are gone forever, that we wish we could get back. But we can't. And, and some things that are just opportunities for self reflection now, and it occurs to me. This is a journey I think I kind of started on last summer, actually, in our summer of self acceptance was like just really trying to feel what felt good for me. When I'm working, and I work with my brain, I'm a university professor, right. My job is thinking the thing he thoughts, writing stuff down, going to endless meetings, but also teaching students. So ah, conferences, don't forget conferences. Yeah. So my brain has to be tiptop functioning. And I'm kind of paid to make sure that that instrument is working, right. Like, like a, like a golfer who has to do strength training and conditioning, right? Like there are ways I need to really pay attention to my brain in ways that maybe people who are not knowledge workers do not. But I think this is useful to maybe every adult with ADHD to start thinking about, what do we actually mean by using our brains to do stuff? And what constitutes productive thinking, and how does that happen? And it doesn't maybe always look like what other people would consider to be productivity, even to ourselves. So like, are you do have those kinds of experiences where you just feel like you're messing around with stuff. But in retrospect, it turns out actually, that was kind of a core component of some process for you that resulted in what looked to other people like productivity at some point further down the line.
Yes. Oh, yeah. All the time. I mean, it's, it's the, it's the entire, you know, the idea that ad people with ADHD are lazy, right? Because very often, what we look like, on the outside is that we're doing nothing or wasting time or we're fidgeting or we're, you know, whatever, whatever it happens to be, when in actuality, it is. It is allowing our brains or bodies to process to do the thoughts to have those kinds of things to you know, a lot of times you got to go on those sidekicks. So in order to be able to get to the main quest, right, whereas other people are able to to avoid the side quests, the side quests are the feature, not the bug for us. That's right. That's right side quests are the feature, not the bug. And so you got to let us go on our side quests to be able to eventually get to, you know, the dragon at the end. And anyways, then left dungeon. Yeah,
I think I think I mean, we use that that metaphor a lot. I mean, a lot of us are big into video gaming, and that's like, but circulates in the neurodivergent communities idea of like a side quest, which is like, Oh, I'm just gonna go off. And so I was like, sometimes you find an Easter egg. It's like this idea of like, yeah, randomness and non purpose driven, right. And that's true. And I think like side quests in this way. Like if we just visualize that you're going sideways off the main path. And for me, that's just another metaphor for what we also call associative thinking. Right? Yeah. So associative means sideways, right? Like, you're, you're, you're linking right. So like, you remember, I say, you remember, but did you take I don't know, like literary literary theory, I expect in your undergrad, undergrad, and like, you go through, like the formulas and stuff and like the structuralist, and they talk about syntagmatic imperative Matic thinking, right? And so like, I think I'm gonna get it wrong. What are the means? The choice, you chose this word, instead of all the other words, you could choose? And then the other one means and you put them in this sequence, right? So there's the order of words that produces some kind of meaning, but it's the choice of the individual word among all of the set of related similar but not exactly the same words. Right that so that, that thinking is crafted both in that straight line quest, right, yeah. But also in the side quest of like, you know, I could use the word bespoke here. Because bespoke actually mean, I'm gonna go look it up in the dictionary do I mean, handmade? Do I mean custom crafted? Do I mean made to measure? What does it mean, that are made to measure now you're on a side quest? And it's like Adam, illogical, cool. And then sometimes that clarifies your thinking in a way that other people are like, they're on seven sentences past you now. But you went on a side quest? Yeah. Which associative thinking, which is a kind of cognition, which is like, is this the right word? Do I even know what this word means? Yeah. Where does that go to right? And associative thinking is, is an act of creativity, right? So when we say side quests, what we mean is we are distracted from the main goal, right? For purposes of pleasure, usually, like, I was curious, like, I got diverted, I went over here, and I looked up a thing or like,
or I got bored, I got real bored and needed to do something. Because I was not able, like, there was no point in keep to keep trying to do the thing that I'm supposed to be doing. Because it just wasn't gonna get stuck.
Yeah, that's like, you know, if you keep getting killed at exactly the same level, at the exact same point in the same level of the game every time you like, you know, as soon as I go through that door, I'm gonna get obliterated. What else can I do in this room? Like your is to my inevitable respond, right, like, and so that's a by other means, right? Instead of like, continuing to do the same thing that's not working for you. Sometimes a side quest is like, yeah, you know what, I'm not making progress, while the main goal, so instead of like, repeatedly failing at the main goal, I'm just gonna be like, what happens if I pick up this cup? Oh, look at that. I just, like, got something magical, which if I was like, just really driven towards this goal. I mean, and maybe, like, I know, I see productivity advice for people or creativity advice for people. It's like one of those things, you know, where the New York Times is always trolling me with like, pareidolia. And you're allowed to eat in restaurants by yourself and stuff. I'm like, of course. Like, this is one of like, how to deviate how to stop pushing forward so hard towards the thing that you think that you want? And take a look around? I'm like, what? Really, this is another one of those things that's like, hey, neurotypical people, you should learn how to not have such massively functional executive function. Yeah. What is that? We're trying to teach people how to do now help them when I do it. I hate myself.
Yeah. Or other or other people make fun of me. Or like, Look at me. Weird. Yeah,
yeah. What are you doing? They'll say to me as they like, walk past my office. And I've got my my so you know, my new obsession is doing the Sudoku who's in the New York Times. And so here's a teaching metaphor, I wound up getting from playing the Sudoku because like, between my two classes, right, I think I've mentioned on this podcast, I'm like, so burnt out, I'd go to my office, take my shoes off, curl up into chairs, or I put my feet on the desk and I do the Sudoku. And I don't know if I told this right here, but it's been so long, no one remembers what we talked about. Yeah. And the way it works like the easy Sudoku fine, I get that done in like three and a half minutes to five minutes. It just depends and but the harder ones take me a bit longer and often it's frustrating because I'll like, get one number, and then I'll work for it at times he writes so you see how it'd be like 10 minutes later, I've got two more numbers. And then 10 minutes later got one more never like For fuck sake. Like I'm gonna die before I get the Sudoku done. And then I get one more number and then all All the rest of the numbers come. Yeah, right. Yeah. Because like you just unlocked that one piece that resolves an ambiguity that was like the four could go in any one of these spots. And now it can only go one place. And now everything else can only go in one place. Right? And I was like, well, oh, shit. That's a metaphor for writing. Yes. Yeah. Right. So I did this whole lesson for my students about things where it's like, I used to use the metaphor of like, you get those plastic containers you're trying to open, like with a heavy plastic wrap on it, and you're like, you can't get it open. Right? Yeah, it was like you're seeing through it. You just keep shoving your thumb and shoving your thumb and like your thumb joints are starting to hurt if like me, you have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. And like, you push and you push and you push and like plastic is actually getting hot from you pushing on it so hard, and it's stretching and stretching, and then it snaps. And then the whole package is open. Right? And yeah, it just feels like oh, and you're covered in food. And you're covered in food. Yeah, generally, because you're hangry by the time that you're doing Yeah, so you're to open it anyways. Like, that's my whole situation, as we know. And so, yeah, with a Sudoku, I went and I showed some screen graphs to one of my classes. I was like, because it's got the time on it. I'm like, usually at five minutes, here's me at 20 minutes, here's me at 30 minutes. And they're like, oh, man, you suck at this. I'm like, yeah, go look at your minute. 30 to a buck and done. Right? I'm like writing is like that you are just moving the pieces around with what goes where? What goes where I don't have enough information to get this done. I'm not sure about this thing. And then you unlock one tiny piece. And then the rest of it all happens. Do not make the mistake. I told my students of thinking that once at all happen, it's because you did it wrong. When nothing was happening, right? Yeah, all of that was like laying the groundwork. Yeah, I need my tiny piece so that the end part could come out. In a rush. I'm like, you can't pace that you can't say it's going to take me 30 minutes to do the Sudoku, which means that I should be landing two numbers every minute. Like that's just not how it works.
And that's like, and that's like me with with, with writing with word vomiting, right? Where I don't, I can't stare at a blank screen. So a lot of this stuff takes place in my head. Right where I have the idea. I know what I want to say or like I've, I've sent out some abstract that I forgot about. And then I get an email saying like, hey, we'd love to read your essay. And I'm like, what else? Oh, it was due last week. Yeah, yeah. What? Wait, I always ask them. And I'm like, because of course my Google Drive is an absolute disaster. What was the abstract? Yeah. So So do you have a copy of the abstract that I sent you? Like, yes, here you go. And I'm like, oh, good luck. Thank you. That's what I was gonna say. But, but I'll be thinking about it right? In that same way of like, I'll have read stuff about or I'll see stuff on Twitter, I'll have a couple tabs open. And I'll read some abstracts. And but like, I won't actually open up that, that blank page until it's, I'm ready to write it. Right. And so what looks like word vomiting, right? Don't word vomit. Word vomiting is bad, you know, like two hours a day and all that kind of stuff. I was like, Well, I'm, I'm almost always thinking about it and working on it in my head somewhere in the back of like, the CPU is like just processing all of this stuff. And I'll get about 75% of the way there. Yeah. And then let's start writing.
I'm going to add to your metaphor there. So it's a little bit processing in the background, which is like something we understand, right, like things need time to settle. They need time to mature like a wine, you know, you bottle it, you don't drink your wine, right? You gotta wait for it to mature like the sourdough that everybody made all through the pandemic, but you have to let it out the time that it needs. Yeah. And so that's
like the Gouda.
Yeah, like the Gouda Americans. You know, the previous Chair of the FDA turned down his oat milk nonsense and said, and I love this. This is like the shittiest most accurate thing in the whole world. He said, The last time I checked almonds don't lactate. Which like, you can't come back from that. That's devastating. It's accurate. It's not milk. That's not what milk is. Dummies. Anyhow. Right. So but what you're also doing there is not just processing in the background, you're also like a chipmunk, running through the backyard shoving things into your face pouches. Right. And because like that's the kind of brain that ADHD people have. We have brains like often, and we have brains like chipmunks have cheeks. Right. So people don't know about chipmunks. I don't know how widespread they are. But like chipmunks have these like, they're like a pelican sort of right? That looks like a Flappy face part that they can just shove like the size of their head on the right side and also the size of the head on the left side so that now they look like they're like their heads three times the regular size because they've just been collecting stuff they've been gleaning if you will harvesting little bits and bobs of edible, something's off the ground until they get back to their den, where they like spit it out. And it's like, oh my god, a gourmet meal worth of detritus, right? So they've just kind of collected and that's sort of how my brain works. So when I say yes, somebody has to pull a handle, it means I'm gleaning stuff all the time. If I cared enough about something to put an abstract in, I was like, good right about ethos and I'm positionality Okay, and then I forget that I'm going to do that. But I'm already obsessed with that. So everywhere I go, I'm kind of like emailing York Times articles to myself or like making little observations after I listen to a podcast or like finding an academic book on something. So that when they're like, you're going to write this thing is like, oh, shit, right. But I find that my mouth is already full. Right? Yeah, of the things. And so that word vomit is I actually just, it's not like free associated process thinking often. It's just like that fact. Yeah, idea idea that, like you've been collecting, actually, without realizing it. Right. So I want to emphasize like a little bit that that business of like, shit takes time to process Yeah, in the background, like giving rise to like, classic Reddit forums like shower thoughts, right, which is just in their thinking, like, Wow, a pregnant person has two skeletons. Right. And that's just kind of like when your brain is bored is just going through what's already in there trying to figure stuff out. And another kind of like, that a process. It's a little bit like a chipmunk or like, it looks like you're fucking around. Yes. Oh, gosh. Yeah, it looks like you're just fucking around. But it's actually your gleaning. You're like walking around gathering bits of stuff. Like, what are you doing one around the backyard? Like grabbing stuff off the ground? What's that for? Like? I don't know, just like, feel like picking it up? Yeah, right. And then, like, Oh, haha,
oh, that's why I love Twitter so much. Mm hmm. No past tense. Was that that it was perfect for exactly that. Right cleaning. And, you know, if you if you've curated your timeline well enough, which I did a pretty good job doing, I think, obviously, because it did benefit me in a lot of ways. But like, that was what it was, it was gleaning. And what I what I always enjoyed about Twitter, for me, is that my timeline was so many disparate pieces, right? That like I could have people in ed tech people in digital humanities, and people in media studies, all tweeting and their tweets are on top of each other, where, you know, and so that brings them together in a way that a my brain really appreciated. But also in a way that may not have happened otherwise, you're I talk about that a lot how we were very disciplinary. And so it's hard to bring those disciplines together or units on campus, or whatever it is. And I was able to do exactly that on Twitter, which my brain loved, right, because it was like looking at all these cool, different ideas that are sort of related. And I can like, again, scroll through it and be gleaning now. It looks like I'm fucking around on Twitter. But really what I'm doing is, is again, like you said, being like a chipmunk and collecting all of this stuff, and getting all of these ideas, and just seeing and being able to just sort of sit with them. And, and again, on the this was the nice thing on Twitter was to be able to engage. Yep, as well. Right? Like, you can just like if one of them caught your attention, you'd be like, Oh, I'm gonna have a conversation about this right now.
Yes, that's right. Right. Because like when I want to have a conversation, I want to have it later. Yeah, right.
Right now and Twitter was perfect for that. Can I tell you, I do want to tell you, when you were talking, when you were talking about the putting out an abstract, this is probably like my imposter syndrome coming in. I didn't nightmare the other night about I was on some lists somewhere of somebody that you that I put out too many abstracts about stuff that I shouldn't have put out a draft for that I didn't know what I was talking about. And so people were warned against me that you shouldn't take, you shouldn't accept an abstract that I submit, because, like I just wasn't knowledgeable enough, clearly wasn't knowledgeable enough and like unthinkingly put in abstracts, and so should not ever be accepted to put an abstract. I don't even know why I had this nightmare, because it's like I've I've dialed way back on abstracts just because life has been like, and I'm like, I just don't have the energy for any of this. But yeah, it was just this weird ass nightmare where it was like, no, no, sorry. And somebody like revealed it to me and I wasn't supposed to know. But they're like, you're on this list. We're really sorry. Like, we're not going to take you
we're like shitty men in media list. That's what you're channeling. You're channeling like internet hashtag movements of like, this is the list of people don't work with them. Or like, yeah, also your like, couch guy. Right? You remember like, and the dating app? Like there was like Coach guy who didn't think he loved his girlfriend enough or like that one guy? Yes. Yes. Dating all the women like you're on that list. Now you're like, yeah, it's too much. You've done too much. So like you're channeling actually internet culture. In this nightmare. Yes. And I love also academia.
of course. Of course. It's like who are you to talk about that now? I mean, but that's Yeah, I think that's a classic actually. I'm so glad you brought that up. That's like the classic gaslighting we do to ourselves actually, about this. Because I was thinking really hard about this is that it looks like I'm very scattered like So do you want to know what kind of lessons I'm paying to take right now?
Lee? What kind?
What are you good? Thank you. I
mean, you're taking piano lessons. I
know I am taking piano. I'm also taking drawing lessons now from my kids art teacher. Yeah, it's really fun. And I'm learning so much. And you know what, like, not for nothing. But the kinds of people that you meet at, like, drawing class or adults are great people actually, because they're grown as humans who are trying to develop a hobby with an expert teacher. Those are nice people that you want to get to know like, y'all. Yeah, I'd never occurred to me, they'd be great place to make friends. But turns out it is. And Tom and I also just started taking tap dancing lessons. I have always wanted to tap dance. Honestly. I love I love tap dancing. You know, I'm a fan of classic Hollywood. 30s 40s 50s Hollywood, and particularly the dancing movies. Yeah, so my favorite movies after of course, bringing a baby, which is not a dancing movie are dancing movies. So yeah, so now Tom and I are taking tap dancing. And as I'm like, tap dancing, and it's like, friggin complicated. It's harder than it looks, obviously. And I'm thinking we're doing these weird time isn't like, Oh, I'm so glad I spent all of last year playing WC, right, because it's like, this is a transferable bit of knowledge. It's like weird polyrhythm in the off feats and stuff. I was like, Okay, I know how to do this and or like, do two feet different things, right? It's not 10 fingers doing different things. So like, All right, that's all right. But yeah, I'm taking all these lessons and learning about all the different ways that people can be taught to do specific kinds of skills. And I just look like I did my hobbies, arrow, but like, I spent three weeks in my drawing class doing this one drawing of a ribbon, because like, my kid who's like taking these lessons like, well, first, you're gonna draw a hand, then you're going to draw a ribbon, then you're going to draw face, right? Because this sort of stuff. Yeah. That you you need to learn. And sure enough, I drew a hand first. And that was about like shape and volume and negative space. And then you draw ribbon, which is about textures, you're not doing outlines and drawing, like you're not doing a hard line around things. You're trying to make it sort of photorealistic using pencils. And I learned a bunch of techniques in the ribbon, I posted it on Twitter, people were liking my ribbon, you can look it up if you want, but it's like a triangle sort of shape, because it's folded. And bits of the triangle look better than others. And so I was like, Oh, shit, that's a metaphor. So I was teaching with that the other day, and I put it up for my students about this is what learning looks like learning doesn't look like by the end of the term, it's a perfect ribbon, right? You see evidence of the places where you were less skilled. But those were the moments when your teacher came by and said, Ah, hold your pencil like this. No, watch me, no, hold this other tool like this watch, we're going to blend in circles don't blend like this. Or you could put some put a little bit of graphite on a sheet of paper over here and then pick it up with the blending tool. And then you can bring it to the paper that when you like what, right and then you can't go back and fix the bits of the ribbon that you drew that the teacher was like, Oh, I see what you don't know how to do, right? That the whole, like the gestalt of the ribbon, like, you can zoom in on parts or be like, Man, that's actually that's really good. But then other parts of the people are like, John aren't right. And I was like, Oh, that also becomes a metaphor for teaching and cognition. And so like it was a way for me to explain to my students as they're trying to write their participation reports, which I'm like, this is your learning journey, right? Yeah, I'm drawing. I'm drawing charts on the board about like, you don't start smart and stay smart the whole time. That's not what success looks like, success sometimes looks like you know that you know, nothing. And then you like learn in a kind of linear way as the course goes on. And that's one model. Or you maybe come in overconfident. And so the first three weeks, you feel dumber and dumber and dumber, as your confidence is eroded, and you discover how much you didn't know. And then you sort of proceed maybe exponentially because once you get it, you really get it on. But usually it looks more like a roller coaster that kind of goes up and down as you get challenged when you master one skill, and then you get challenged to move to the next one. And you suffer a kind of loss in function, right? And the graphs are like okay, for them. They're like, all right, but it's an abstraction, but I put the ribbon up, I made them all get up from their chairs, too, because I like to make them get up and walk around and like four giant TVs in the classroom. So they all went to the giant TVs and looked at my ribbon. And I'm like, What do you notice about the ribbon? And they're like, trying to say nice things and like parts of the ribbon are much better executed than others. Right? But that's okay. But it's okay. Like, that's what learning is. And like, can you tell which part I did last? And they picked the best part. I was like, yeah, like, why did you think I did that will last or like, oh, because it's the best part. I'm like, Alright, so how does learning work? Right? So it's like, I'm taking drawing lessons for two hours a week. And it's it's fucking around, right? I'm just doing it because I like it. But as I was sitting there writing, and being taught by an expert, not in my field, using teaching techniques that are not my techniques, and really thinking about my own learning as I'm doing it, it gave me something that I could bring back to the classroom. That is the best metaphor I've ever found for explaining to students how their own learning works in a way that they finally got it right. So it's not like I was having showered I'm where I was like processing ideas in the back of my head. I was doing something that was explicitly not work, right? My brain is like Gladstone drawing lasagnes sign up for 10 weeks of two hours a week drawing lessons with a professional artist because I don't do things halfway, right. So here I am, I get all these tools. And I'm doing all this drawing and stuff that I'm doing it just because I love it. And I suck at it. And I'm getting better. And while I'm there, Well, shit, I got smarter. Yeah, about something in a way that I brought back to my job, which is why people at work always say to me, like, Oh, that's a great metaphor. I never thought of it like that before. Yeah, oh, Amy, that's your gift, right? Like, my gift is my brain doesn't want to go in a straight line. My brain wants to take tap dancing lessons, right. And then my brain wants to, I don't know, do drawing lessons, or my brain wants to like fight with polyrhythm, or my brain wants to go for long walks, and then sit in the park and think about Starbucks, and why their menu is organized the way that it is, you know, and then it comes out later. Something for work. So I'm not processing, I'm just letting my brain go and do the things it wants to do. And I never trust myself that it's going to make me like, I want to do my leisure activities, just because I enjoy them. Yeah, and I do, I don't want to like, I don't want to like turn hustle culture on everything to be like, I'm going to be a professional art teacher, which is normally how that goes. Right? I love yoga so much. I was gonna be like, like yoga. Yeah, like, and now I'm teaching yoga six hours a week, right? Like, which is the thing that was happening there for a while, like, I don't want to do that. But I was like, you know, maybe my day job is being creative, right? My day job as a professor is having ideas that other people haven't had yet of reading all the things and then writing about them and teaching people and, and that may be when I take drawing lessons or play piano or do yoga, or read The New Yorker, because I can't sleep in the middle of the night, that that's actually part of what is my job, right is putting stuff into my head so that things can come out of my head. And I am trying to stop thinking of those activities as things that I'm doing instead of work. Like, particularly when I do them in the middle of the day. Like sometimes I get overwhelmed at work if I'm doing like a bunch of grading and I'm like going to chew my own hair, if only I could reach it at that level. And I'm just like, take a break. And I'll put like one of my My Little Pony figurines on the desk, and I'll take like an hour and try to draw it. Right. And as I'm drawing it, my brain calms down. And I get more energy, but also just like count the joy of trying to represent something visually, and like does that look like walking around? Sure it does. Yes. Oh, yeah. It does. That doesn't look like work. Right. But and it's not strictly speaking a billable hour kind of thing. But I can't I mean, I think we've discussed before, like, nobody can write for eight hours a day. That's ridiculous, right? So even if you're a professional writer, you don't write for eight hours a day. That's nothing that people will know. And
if you look at any of the famous writers like the you know, they like this is what my day looks like. Right? Most of their day is fucking around. Right? Yeah, that is most of their day. Yeah, you know, like, there there is there is, you know, get up. Enjoy your coffee in the morning. Right. Right. For right for two hours. And then it's sort of like, take a walk. Go library, my dog say with the dog stock. Yeah. Yeah. And and, you know, and these are highly productive, highly celebrated writers, right? Like, we don't Yeah, yeah. Obviously, those are the only writing routines we care about. That's right. I mean, really don't
know the unsuccessful routines of unsuccessful writers, because they never managed to write them down to tell us right, yeah.
Or we never get they probably did, but we didn't care enough to read them.
We didn't care. Yeah. Cuz we didn't know who they were like. And there's this idea. I think we get this from industrialization onward that we can make processes more efficient, right? Yes. That, you know, if you're a good writer for two hours a day with an with, you know, the right kind of app on your phone to help you with your planning, and a meal delivery service, you could be a good writer for six hours a day. Right? That if you are good at something that we only see, like, we think writing involves sitting down and writing or like maybe walking to the library and getting the books or like, maybe we should drive to the library, because then it would be faster, right? And we should maybe order the books ahead of time so that we don't even have to go through the stacks like we want to get more efficient things and what we tend to not see and this is culturally why this applies to neurotypical people as well is that we kind of don't recognize actually the work that those non activities bring you the work you know, because when I'm walking to the library, I like I went to the library the other day and I got you're gonna laugh at me. I got trustees book thick which I had not read yet, right I was like these with
an overwhelmed Did you did you read it?
I read well and for fuck sake, Lee, I cried and cried and cried in the beginning because she's got the same goddamn deform leg that I have. She wrote a whole thing about fixing her feet and her mom telling her fix her feet and I was like, well, she Shit. Me too. So, you know, readers, listeners of this podcast will know about my super massively over long 100 citation essay in the journal biography about neuro divergence was an 8000 word piece. And it used to be an 11,000 word piece and 2000 of those words were about my club foot, and my mom walking around behind me telling me to fix my feet. So here, I find this in trustees book, this whole like opening metaphor about black women working twice as hard to get half as far right and fixing your feet and the sort of cost to your hips and your knees of trying to pass for typical when your body is in some way different, right? I was like, Well, shit. And she's like, the voices inside my head was like, that was exactly what I wrote about anyhow, as I'm walking to the library. For this book, I am thinking about the ways and thinking about the ways that I want to incorporate these academic memoirs, or these para academic writings, by women who described themselves as outsiders because of the piece of academic persona I'm writing is career documentation suppresses some kinds of scholarship, and like, yeah, that's why so many women write these amazing. They look like personal narratives, but they're actually academic narratives that document their own careers in ways you're not support. And you know, something about that on the way to the library, right, and I'm incorporating this book, I want to read into something I'm already thinking about for work, which I would not have done if I was driving, right, I wouldn't have had the time, and it wouldn't have had the brain space. And if I just ordered the book, I would not have gone to the library and then also seen the shelf that it was on, and how it is placed relative to other books, and then what kind of genre the library understands that to be in. I also wouldn't have picked up eloquent rage by Brittany Cooper. Right?
So you hadn't done that one either.
I've done bits of it. When I'm sitting with that, too. And like God, damn, Britney Skiff has been at the end about like, thinking, you know, being marked as exceptional, and being good at stuff is a great way to become an asshole. And I was like, Yeah, I know, being a smart, I
listened. I listened to that as an audiobook. Oh, and she reads this, that is that if you can, if you have Libby and can get it through your library, and I got my library, you need to listen to it. Because it is amazing. She's like, Yeah, it's amazing to listen to it.
Yeah, no, she's great. She and I quoted at the same conference once and we like talked about your CAD software and stuff. So I know her a little bit. But it's like, I hadn't read the book. And it's like, just amazing. I mean, I wouldn't have had that experience. If I hadn't been seized by a whim on Sunday afternoon, when I was supposed to be doing something else to be like, No, I'm finally going to read these, like, I really want to read these because I think they're gonna be relevant. And I thought about what they might mean, for my work as I was walking, because it doesn't feel like work is invading my personal space. And because that's what I wanted to do was go get these books, right? I was like, Yeah, I guess I can, you know, work this for this. And then I see them on the shelf. And then I'm like, looking around him having different ideas than I would have had if I'd made the process more efficient, right. So, so much of contemporary work culture is about making things more efficient. I mean, that's what managers are mad about, about hybrid working, right, is that they can't walk around, you know, like I do with my iPhone timer in my class and say, your pencils not moving anymore. Right? Yeah, for free, right to keep moving your pencil, right? Because you're like, What if people are doing stuff? That's not work? Right. So we're always like, trying to look like we're doing work. And it I'm thinking increasingly about, that's a product of industrialization, that we didn't quite realize, you know, it's like Taylorism. Right. Yeah, colorism versus the Gilbreth. So, you know, Frederick Winslow Taylor is like, we call him like the father of efficiency and time motion studies. But what he actually did was like, the strongest, fastest guy in the rail yard, time him and then make everybody else meet that standard, right, it was just speed up, literally just speed up, right. Whereas like, the Gilberts would do stuff like, slow motion photography of how people moved when they were assembling, like small items in a factory and be like, Well, if we made a curved workspace for them, they'd have less shoulder strain, which actually was true, right? And so they increased productivity by making the work less onerous, rather than compelling, a kind of speed up and I feel everything. Everything about contemporary work culture, to the detriment of neurodivergent people in particular is about making things faster sense of efficient rather than less painful. Efficient, right? Yeah. And, and for me, what I had been calling fuck around time is actually the most efficient way of filling my brain up with stuff so that when I sit down and I have to produce something people like I can't believe how fast you got that done. Yeah, I have been working Yes, I have been working on it. Yeah, I guess like it was It wasn't way that I could be like on a worksheet and today I did 15 minutes of googling about mirror handwriting, which I will use, you know, in three years for a paper undergrad course on blah, blah, blah, because I don't know I was just doing it because I was interested. And then it just comes up somewhere and people like I can't believe you already know all that. I'm like, sorry. I just
Yeah, well, that's why I have so much trouble. So I have to do an invoice. Right? I got asked to do something and I have to they're like, Okay, this is how much you've got to break it down. And I'm like, Oh my God, I don't know how to break this down. Like, how long is it going to take you? I don't know. Actually, like when I sit down to actually do it probably an hour.
But yeah, but that's not how long it took. Yeah, but
that's not how long it took. I don't know how long it's gonna take me. Yeah. Right. Because like, the Yeah, we'd be terrible lawyers because billable hours just would be like, no, absolutely every hour or no hours at all.
Yeah, we're Archimedes in the tub. That's where we are like, see, look at Archimedes, right. He's trying to solve this problem of like, how do you measure volume, right, and you regularly shaped objects. It's like, sits in the tub, classically, spills the water out of the tub, and he's like, Oh, my God, I've displaced as much water as my own volume. Eureka, right? Yeah. But was he in the bath going? Like, I think I'm going to do an experiment with volume displacement. No, he was like, Man, I'm over it. I can't solve this goddamn problem. And I smell weird. I'm going to sit in the bath and stew in my own juices and be mad about stuff or sits down. Oh, holy shit. Look at that. I like to take baths. And I just solved a major scientific problem. Right? Like, we have this ability to look back and narrative eyes, something teleologically after the conclusion has been reached, you can look back and say like, oh, here were all the steps that led toward this. But you cannot prospectively do that. You can't you can't be like I am learning how to draw today. Right? And later, blah, blah, blah. Like one of my friends. Frankie Condon. She's writing a book that's sort of it's got some fictionalized elements in it. It's like written as like dramatic scenarios and stuff. And then she was like, looking at some of my drawings I've been making for journal entries. And she's like, What if you illustrated my book, and I was like, what? I'm like, I'm not good at this. And she's like you, but I love your sketchy style. Your like, illustration style is. Alright, so now we're like working together. And I'm, I think, doing illustrations for somebody's you know, weird. I love. I think you're, no, I'm not sure. Like, we're like, what does the character look like? And like doing some sketches, and I'm like, This is really fun. I'm like, we're gonna put that on my CV, right? That goes up.
Brian even asked me where half the stuff that I do goes on my CV, right, like, right.
But it excites me. Yeah, I would like to do this stuff. And it always winds up feeding back into something that I want to do. And it's, it's not that processing time of like, I'm gonna wash the dishes. And while I'm washing dishes, I'm sure like this problem I'm working on will solve itself. Sometimes it's like, I need to go and buy the dog some new toys, I need to do that right now. I cannot work on this paper anymore. I need to like get my car, I need to go to PetSmart. And I need to do the thing. And like, somehow you're driving and you hear something on the radio on CBC News? Oh, right. New research idea. Like that's, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about is when you let your brain off the leash. Right? Because our brains have such a hard time with the executive function part. Right, which I think most people don't understand is that often our brains are quite smart. Right? And they're very fast, but you can't make it go when it doesn't want to go like the Warner Brothers dancing frog, right? It will not Yeah, dance on command. Right? It goes on.
I missed those cartoons when he like tries to make the frog dance because oh my god. Yeah. Yeah. But it wouldn't do it. But it would do it
what he wanted it absolutely not. No, that's me and my brain. Thing and like, I'm like, watch and then my brain is like, sharp, right? It's like, oh, I didn't answer that email. So I guess I'm not getting a reimbursement this year. Again. And yeah, so it's me. Right. Alright. So we force our brains often, like there are things we have to do I have to prep my classes. I have to do my grading. I have to attend meetings. I have to like submit abstracts on time. Okay, great. So I'm like, okay, brain. I'm like Homer in his brain. I don't like you. You don't like me. But let's get through this together. And I'll go back to killing you with beer. Right? Like, I'll go back to killing you with internet memes. I was like, alright, yeah. So I discipline my brain to do the things that I have to do. Because that's part of being an employed grown up human with a position of responsibility. Okay, great. And so many of our listeners, I'm sure can relate to that. You make your brain do stuff. And when you stop making your brain juice and stuff, you're not not thinking anymore, right? You're just you're just letting it go. Letting it go. You're taking the puppy off the leash, right? So when you're training puppies that could be on the leash and you do activities for a very short period of time because the puppy can only control itself for so long. And it doesn't mean the puppy now needs to sleep for five hours. The puppy just needs to do something different other than listening, right? Yeah, the puppy can be full of energy and my brain can be full of energy. I just cannot grade one more paper right now. Right? I cannot like add any more thoughtfully worded questions to a PhD candidates like dissertation. candidacy exam? I just can't do that kind of like detail work anymore. Right now. I gotta do something different. I'm going to do calligraphy for 40 minutes.
Yeah. Well, I had I had this experience was sewing I actually so okay, I wrote about it. But I was doing this dress. And the sleeves were not like I just so usually when you when you cut sleeves, right, you cut two. Yeah, right one for each side. Well, yes, because most people have two arms. Yeah, not everybody know, but, you know, usually most dresses have two sleeves. Most dresses have two sleeves. That's exactly, or N shirts. You know, just like, pants have two pant legs. Right? And so I cut these, I cut these pieces. And I'm seeing there and I'm like, how does this actually turn into asleep? Like Miss read it? Oh, no, I actually needed to cut four of them, which was fine. Okay, so I got two more. Right now that I follow directions. So it together. Now the sleeves usually have notches on them to show like which is it the left sleeve or the right sleeve? Yep. Right. Yes, it
will put on the wrong shoulder.
I inevitably do that anyways, doesn't matter. I've how many times I have put the sleeves on the wrong arms. And I'm just like, Alright, you're
doing you're doing sleeves for somebody whose arms articulate towards the back, not
the front. Yeah, well, that I mean, maybe middle of their mind. But again, and I have, you know, the the trouble with 2d Pictures transferring into like, the 3d realm. And this particular one, they don't even have an illustration for this step, which they would think because they would think this is obvious. This is right. So between the two notches, right? And I'm looking at it because they're two pieces on top of each other, and the piece only has one notch. Yeah, you're like, I'm sorry, between? Yeah, and I'm like, where the and I'm getting angry here. Because I'm just like, I do not fucking understand where they saw you. And so finally I had to go and pick up the kids or drive this. I don't even remember what I had to do. And blistering rage. Yeah, blistering rage. So I'm like, listening to my hockey Podcast coming down, right and driving. And finally I realized, Oh, fuck. So the two pieces are together. You can't see. So they're sandwiched together. And there's a notch. And they're sewn together? Well, if I unfold it, right there now two
notches, notches, oh, boy.
But it took me getting out and moving and like just not thinking about it. Right? Because it wasn't thinking about it anymore. I was listening to a hockey podcast giggling along with like, the jokes that they were making and like thinking about okay, well, yeah. And I'd started thinking about the evening routine. Right now I'm getting the kids that I've gotta go do dinner. And then it's swim team practice. And then it's, you know, Cassidy's got got belay, and all that kind of stuff. So I was in that mode. And then like, with all of that other stuff going on all of a sudden, Well, goddamn fabric, and you've got to fucking notches. And I was like, Oh, my God.
Okay, so I learned about this, in my first drawing book that I got the drawing from the right side of the brain, by Betty Edwards, highly recommend that has a lot about cognition. And she says, I think I've mentioned on this podcast that the trick with drawing is is not mechanical, it's not your hand eye coordination. It's your brain hand coordination, which is to say that your brain looks at an object and sees it three dimensionally, which is to say it interprets two dimensional visual stimulus as a three dimensional object, right? So you know, a cube is a six sided Well, it has six, six sides square, right? And that all the sides are equal, when you look at a cube sitting on a desk, it actually the slides are not the same length. Yeah, and squares are not the same size, because you're looking at it in perspective, but your brain looks at it as like, Oh, that's a cube. I know, abstractly, what a cube is. So you can look at a cube. And when you try to draw it, you're drawing what your brain interprets a cube to be. And then it looks nothing like what you're actually looking at. So she's like, You need to stop interpreting, and you need to start looking right, tell your brain, your analytic brain, your brain that is like I know what that is, to shut up, go to the visual part of your brain that's like, this line is shorter than that line. That's the part of your brain you need to listen to. So when you get in the car, and you stop trying to think so hard about this problem, you're thinking about other things. You're thinking about your evening routine, you're listening to a podcast, you're laughing, it meant that your analytic brain was busy doing other shit. Yeah, and the visual part of your brain was like, oh, dummy unfolded. Yeah. Right. So like your two parts of your brain were at war with each other. They're right left brained or left brained tendency, right analytic tendency versus spatial tendency, right and, and so like, that's another thing with letting our brains off the leash is that sometimes we bring the wrong part of our brain to solve a problem or the stronger part of our brain overwhelms the less strong part of our brain when it's the less strong part of the brain that actually has the solution to the problem. This is why often it is so useful. Um, so many writers got there was a piece of the New York Times. Of course there was by Andrew McCarthy, the actor, the Brat Pack actor about really? Yeah, whatever problem you have walking can probably solve most of it. And he describes, like, his initial teenager orientation to walking as the slowest way to get from point A to point B. And that really made me laugh. I thought that was a great sentence, but he was like, goes to Europe in his 20s and discovers like the campesino. Right, you know, the lawn, the pilgrimage trail that people take, and he was like, and that was revelatory for me. Right. And so he's like this whole long piece about walking and what walking can do for you. And it's true, like most writers, like they'll describe having these long walking routines like Coleridge and Wordsworth that like Dickens and you know, and Lamont, I think it's a pretty strong walking routine, like a lot of writers are like, I just like need to note on Uncle work in my garden, right? You do something with your body that requires a certain minimal level of brain attention. And then your brain when you stop telling it what to do, because you're busy telling your hands what to do your brain gets shit done. By itself, right? Yeah. So so that is actually there you go. So that's one of my hobbies, their lead that has led me into a path of inquiry that now I can say, when you're listening to Hubbs podcast, that's why you solve your sewing problem, because your analytic brain was occupied laughing at hockey jokes. And your visual brain was like, Oh, I see the problem. Not I interpret the problem, right? Yes, no, I see the resolution is unfolding, right. And I think like, our brains are just so much more complicated than we think they are. I mean, even neurotypical people's brains are so much more complicated than we think that they are, we have different kinds of memories, we have explicit memories and implicit memories, like there's like weird stuff, I was listening to podcasts about this research where they always thought like, recall was about like, you read a list of names, right? And then they ask you later, if you can remember the list of names, I was always very good at this. Obviously note, right? Like you've ever like, you're in brownies, or Girl Guides into that game where they bring out a tray with objects on it, and everybody gets to stare at the tray for like, two minutes, they take the tray away, and then you have to write down as many of the objects as you can remember, and I'll tell you, none, right?
Maybe once the bright colored one,
the most brightly colored one, because I like the whole time. I'm like, remember the days that I don't even see that, right? Because my analytic brain kind of took over and my snapshot brain should have probably jumped in there. Or my association brain should have jumped in there. And yeah, so they did this study with like, memory impaired people to like people with like, short term amnesia, right? Where they're not able to make new memories. They'll show them a list of names, right? Or words like, can you remember these five minutes later? Like no, and they don't even remember that you showed them the list. But somebody did this test, where they were like, they would queue them with a bunch of words like about pencils, for example. And then they would say, like, Do you remember any of the words be like no, like, can you think of a word, the first word that comes to mind that starts with the letter P. And invariably, they'd say, a pencil, which meant some part of their brain read the list of words and remembered it. They're like, it was higher than chance, right? So they were primed with words that they did not remember explicitly. did not remember even having tried to learn. But when asked sideways, like Oh, can you think of a word that starts with the letter B pencil they come up with? Yeah, which meant they were primed. They didn't even know. Right? And I was like, oh, man, that's amazing. So how much stuff is in our brains that were so busy asking it the direct recall question that we never notice, actually, how much of that stuff that we're trying so hard to do has come out in other ways? Yeah. Oh, yeah. And I just wish we could, like we talked about, like, there's a book called Slow professor, and it's about how corporatization and speed up means, like, we're doing this thing, like counting the number of minutes you spend on every task, and you should do more tasks and fewer minutes, which is not how academic work works. And they're talking about slowing things down. And I don't actually think it's about slowing things down. I think it's about recognizing that, that doing the work is not simply the time that you spend producing individual words in a Word document that will be publishable, right, it's not even the time you spend at the library photocopying or highlighting or reading or taking notes, right, that we can count all of those things. And to slow down doesn't necessarily mean like a slow down, like, you know, like you're a kid trying to delay bedtime by brushing your teeth incredibly slowly. And yeah, like, it's not that kind of slow down. It's like, what they really mean, I think, is to shut down efficiency culture, which is to say, the walk to the library was actually just as important to my writing process, as getting the book from the library. And looking at the shelf was just as important as reading the book. But those are not things that we count because they're not amenable to counting. Right? Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense.
Yeah, no, no, that's exactly I mean, so that was I mean, part of my You know, I wrote a piece or created a piece, I don't even know how to describe it about what it's like to write, as somebody with ADHD. And part of that was part of that was trying to make visible the importance of side quests. Yep. Right. And what and what that does and how that helps my writing process. Although, for somebody who is neurotypical, it is probably jarring. Yeah. Right, like, and so. So I think, yeah.
Like, it's jarring. But then they go to workshops, they go to workshops, where they pay somebody handsomely to say, let's get some crayons and craft paper. Oh, yeah. Mo's your eyes and your shape. And they're like, I hate this. But then they're also like, hey, ADHD, people focus. Yeah. Right. Like, you kind of don't see that these creativity workshops that people often go to, are exactly that about undoing this, like perceived executive control forward momentum. billable minutes.
Yeah. Model. Right. Well, and I think in this case scares me. I'm spike cold coming, asserting itself. But and I think that there's so so I'll this week, um, before I got sick, I knew I needed some downtime. And so I actually already had booked three days off this nice, smart, and then, you know, and then I got sick. Yeah, and then they turned into sick days. But I so again, it's this idea of, you know, I knew, because I've been really productive, and I've got a really stressful thing coming up. You know, that's gonna get ramped up immediately after this pretty much. And so I was looking at my calendar and saying, I need some space. Right, I need some space to just sit and so and, and rest and not have meetings and not, you know, the deadlines are all still there. Right. I need to be able to take a step back in order to be able to meet those deadlines. Yeah. And again, it looks like fucking around. Yeah, right. And I had to take days off to do it, which is fine. Because I want to be able to say no to meetings. Right? And I am out of the office, please leave me alone. But I but I knew again, like I said, I've learned this, you know, that whole self acceptance thing? Well, I needed it. Right. I knew my brain was going to need it this time, because I was looking at the calendar going. I don't know how I'm gonna make it till the end of the semester. You know what I need? I need to take a few days off. Is there a time where I can take a few days off? Yes. If I don't take it now then I don't get to take it till May. And I don't think I'll make it till May. So yeah, let's do this now. And and again, it was it was exactly what I needed even though I did get sick and and so wasn't wasn't as productive as my in my fucking around as I'd hoped. Yeah, because I was in sickness, brain fog. But, but again, like it was just it was so good to just be able to sit and do some sewing. Right? Yeah, rest and have that part of my brain, you know, be engaged with the other part of my brain is resting where it's like, I'm not worried about deadlines right now. I don't you know, I can end you know, what if ideas come, then they come and that's great. But if not, then they'll all be primed and ready to go.
Yeah, she didn't have to book days off for that. God mean, because I think yeah, work. Yeah. Yeah. So like I'm thinking about, there's like a movement now, like people really liked being at home during the pandemic and not being pestered by constant drop ins and meetings and phone calls and stuff like insofar as they were able to manage that. And so people are rethinking, like, how, how much do we have to be on the slack? Constantly, right, like, you have to answer that right away. And, and so I know, like, there's different organizations that are doing stuff like no meetings Friday, right? Where like, it'd be a day a week that there's hope for no meetings, or they're like, they're, they're allowing people to put in their calendars like focus time, right. But the idea with with these things is that when you're in an office, among other people, and you're available to them, that it's distracting in the sense that you can't maintain executive function style focus, right? Yeah. So that when people book focus on like, block an hour, or like, you know, a three hour chunk on Tuesdays and Thursdays where they're not going to answer their email, they're not going to answer their phone because they have focus, work time. That's like, I need I need that and you need that to not be interrupted, but that's different from fuck around time, right? Because that is, that is the time where I'm putting my brain on the leash. And I'm going to do all the things that I can't do. When people keep pinging me on the Slack channel, and for neurodivergent people often it feels a bit like a mixed blessing to get this focus time because the idea is like all the stuff that you're too distracted to do otherwise, this is the three hour block in which you have to get it done, right, like, oh, you know, your phone's not ringing. So now you can like do laser focus, right, you can do that tunnel vision, kind of focus of massive executive function where you direct yourself, you tell your brain what to do. For this event, you
have to do this slide deck, we
have to do this slide deck right now, like, this is the time we have set aside for this. And like, this is a gift from my employer that I get to do this. And but like, that's not actually the kind of time that we exactly because a neurodivergent brain, you cannot tell your brain what it's going to focus on. When, right. And so sometimes you get this focus time and you just like you, but now all I want to do is the Sudoku. Yeah, right? I am squandering my time. So like, I had a writing deadline recently. And Tom said, okay, like, look, this is important. I'm gonna do the cooking and stuff. Like don't worry, just do what you have to do. And for me, like the first two days of that, like, 10 day period I graded because I was pre writing, dude. I mean, like, I sat down, I was like, yeah, no, I
totally get it. I get it. I didn't
want to. And I was like, still too tired. Because like I'd been overdoing it up until that it was like, my brain has to be like, little bit more rested, to start writing on this nail. But you know what I can do? I can grade this, because I don't want to cook supper. And I don't worry about anything. So I can just do a grading binge today, because like, I knew my brain was not in the space to start writing. Yeah, it was. And I had no more grading, like my brain was like, not in the space for grading. Because like, every day, I would try like, well, I'll take a little break, I'll do some grading now. But I'd be grading Oh, my brain would would already be like thinking of the next thing that I wanted to write. And like, I'm like, I know what it looks like. I'm squandering this time. And am I he's like, No, that's your process, your process is like, you're gonna stay in bed reading the New York Times till 10am. And then you're going to, like, write a little plan on an index card, and then you're gonna play the piano for half an hour. And then you're gonna, like, write for a bit, and then you're gonna get mad and go for a walk and talk to me about all your ideas. And like, it doesn't look like I'm using this focus time, right? Where I'm like, taking all of my thinking, that would like be orange juice, and just having the orange juice concentrate God, like it's like, super intense and super effective like that. And it's not it's like intense, but it needs a bigger space, right? So I always feel so crushed. And maybe some of our listeners do too. And people are like, Okay, we're gonna give you two hours of quiet, and you're gonna get this done. You're like, No, but my brain? No, I really am not. Right. It's like my brain wanted to earlier when you made me go to that training that I didn't want to go to, right. But that moment is gone. And they're like, Wow, so difficult. I'm like, It's not me. I'm fighting with my brain right now. You know, my brain wants to get three books out of the library about figure drawing, because I'm really thinking about what bodies in space look like, because I think that's going to be important for, for what I don't know yet. Right? Yeah, I don't know. But that's what I want to do. Like, I was tweeting last week, I was actually getting into the writing on this thing I was trying to finish and then all of a sudden, I had this other idea, or something or Sudan. Right? Right. And I was like, Oh, I just have to do that now. And he did it for two hours, fairly intensely, and produced 1000 words and a bunch of research. But this other thing that's not due for another month, and I was like, why is my brain like this? Just go
just go with it. Yeah, just go with it. Ya know, and I mean, I think that that's one of the most important lessons. And you can't always do this, obviously. But like, sometimes you just gotta go or at least your brain leads you. Right? And that's okay. Yeah, right. Like it is. It's totally okay, where it's like, you know what, I'm gonna so yeah, I get it, I get offended. Or, or even I need to sit here and unpick, because I screwed something up, or I need to modify something or I've bought a bunch of things that I like the pattern, but so the fabric, so I'm just gonna sit here and unpick. Yep. Right. Yep. And, you know, I have to be careful not to cut myself while I'm trying to unpick, and I have to be careful not to rip the fabric as I unpicking all they rip the threads out. So there's some focus that I have to have at this particular moment, but it is kind of tedious and, and so then that other part of my brain can be like, Alright, now I'm gonna process of minimal computing and edtech and how those two things intersect, and how you're going to, you know, why are you so anxious about writing this piece about DIY ed tech and digital learning? Like, let's, let's unpack this that you've been trying to avoid? If you unpick it? Let's let's pick all this together while you you know, do all this with the fabric?
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that's like so crucial to like, it'd be like, You know what, I'm not emotionally ready for this right now. Like, I'm trying to write some stuff people keep asking me now remember, I was like always saying, like, I only write stuff when people ask me, right. And so I went to four C's right in February, and my friend Frankie was like, Hey, can we put you on this panel about Jeff GPT? And I was like, okay, and then like, everybody shows up with papers and I was like, I was told this was a panel. Okay, so I made up an eight min Talk on the spot. Great. Yeah. And people laughed at my jokes we do. Right? It was like hundreds of people normally fine. But I love that that was like my version of, you know, new teacher workshop in 10 minutes. I'm like, Yeah, What room are we in? Right? Yeah, well
remember we in and what's the weight? What's the technology I'm teaching about?
Yeah. And I made a bunch of friends doing it. And then I also got invited to do a keynote at a teaching conference. The University of Alberta in May, and a writing journal just wrote to me is like, Can you do a 2000 word piece? On this topic? Right? For this spring issue? I was like, Okay, right. So like,
the this somebody recorded my talk, so I have a draft of something. Yeah, exactly. Well, like the
thing was, like, the reason like Frankie had asked me to do it is because I'm, I read the news all the time. And I was like, already thinking about this. And I was like, Oh, my God, all my, like old style training in collocation and keyword in context. And all these old school, like digital humanities, like, seriously, I was like, Oh, well, fuck a large language model is exactly I know exactly how that operates. Actually, I've been doing this like, for 25 years. And I already had a bunch of ideas. And like people knew because I'm tweeting about them, because I'm obsessed, and I'm avoiding doing other things. And I get invited to do this one thing, and then I do it. And then I get invited to do two more things, right, because I just went where my brain wanted me to go. And then yes, an opportunity presented itself. Yeah, right. Yeah. So I was like, I was on TV. A couple of weeks ago, after St. Patrick's Day tell you about like the Borg interview. I did. No, I don't think I did. So like St. Patrick's Day is kind of a big deal here. It's like Boston is like stupid, stupid, stupid people bus in from everyone's like, 20,000 people here this year. It was like rage. And so like, there's this new thing online. They're called boards. It's like a Yeah. Yeah. Blackout radio gallon. And what are you all about? Because I was in a period of insomnia. And I like, you know, I'm on the internet. That's my job. And reporter calls me he's like, Yeah, so we're doing a thing. Do you like no, nobody over 25 in this newsroom knows what's going on. Can you do this? And I was like, yeah, he's like, he do it in half an hour. I'm like, sure. Sure. Right. Yeah. I was like, walking around on the internet and learning about blackout rage gallons. And this reporter is like, you don't have Borg isn't like, yeah, it's a black outrage gallon. Okay. Like, come see me. I actually took a picture of one leftover on the street after St. Patrick's Day, because it was so funny that I saw one in the wild and it was labeled Heisenberg. Yeah, I know,
the whole thing is that they named them and yeah.
And like, the thing is, like, I do this interview, I'm like, so unprepared for like wearing like a Star Wars t shirt. And it's like, feel the dirt is my T shirt. And I had to turn it around backwards, right? So that it looks like just a plain black T shirt. I felt like my business cards are getting put over that in my office and stuff. And, and while I'm doing the interview, like, while I'm doing it, and he's like, you know, why is this like a Gen Zed thing? Because like in the 20 minutes before he came, I was like researching riot punch and jungle juice. So I know the entire history of binge drinking trends. Undergraduates, like I know, all of it took me 20 minutes. And so he comes in. He's like, why is this happening now? And I was like, Oh, I just had an idea. This is peak Gen Zed, because we're Gen Z if you're American, because it's adding a veneer of wellness and performance to what is just the same old binge drinking. It's like, yeah, this will keep you safe from getting raped, like hashtag rape culture, because you're drinking your own thing. But also, it's wellness because it's got extra lights in it. And we're not using Kool Aid, right? We're using like, you know, vitamin water and stuff. And like we're saying safe, and we're gonna be healthy. And I'm like, and also, it's this giant thing of drinking. Yeah, well, people used to hide their binge drinking, it's like, the thing with like, Jungle Juice and Riot punch was that it looked like Kool Aid. And you could put it in like a Kool Aid, like container or like a Gatorade container and drink in public, and no one would know you were drinking in public. But the point of the Borg is that people know you're drinking in public. And that's why you put a visual media friendly pun, or the title of it so that you can hold it up when you're getting your selfie taken and posting it to social media. And that was like, that is an article level Insight into today's drinking culture that is different from other drinking cultures in the social media era. And I had it while being recorded for a TV interview when I was supposed to be grading some papers, right? So that is Buck around. Yeah. Like you just don't know when the information is going to come out. And when it comes out. It's not just like something the kids are doing on the internet is stupid. It turns into a news interview, which turns into a research insight about selfies. And then I taught that in my selfies class, right.
And then you have another article that you may want to write, and I have
another article that I may want to write but that just came from completely directionless whim following like, like I'm dosing for water, you know, felt like one of these magical sticks in front of me, I'm closing my eyes. I'm walking around seeing where the stick is gonna point the magical location of the next idea, like that's kind of what it is. And I think none of our contemporary workflows for anybody, and this is like really crucial for knowledge workers is that we all kind of knew That dosing time, let's just maybe neurodivergent people need it more urgently. Yeah. And more visibly than other people. And it would benefit everyone, if we advocated for that.
Yeah, well, and this is that now we get into, we could, we won't, because I gotta go soon anyways. But we get into the whole idea of labor practice and the idea of tenure and the idea of teaching loads, and contingency and the luxury of having, right because as a, as a tenured professor, yeah, there is a certain amount of, there's this there is a certain amount of fucking around that is tolerated when you are a professor, right? Like there is, you know, a degree of that, that is kind of built into, you know, that, that maybe hours looks a little bit different than, like, maybe neurotypical professors, but certainly, there is a fucking round that is built into this process, right? Especially once you get tenure. As as staff, it is less, yeah, built it up, right, where I have to take three days off, right for my fuck around time. So that I can really, I really get some some intense fuckery that my brain needs to make the final push for the semester. But then yet you think about all of the ideas that won't be ideated? Because you're on a, you know, five, five teaching load at three different institutions.
You're on your committee treadmill, right, yeah,
you're on the productivity treadmill, because you have to pay the bills. Yeah. You know, or you are in a department, which is the which are becoming or an institution that doesn't value you fuck around time and time, and that you have to be in your office from eight to five. And, you know, you have
to have a place to Doku with your feet on the desk while you're there. Right.
Right. Yeah, exactly.
So it's a misunderstanding of what work is. Right. Yeah, that's, that's an employer driven thing. Like you would think that people who are paid salary, right, who are not hourly workers, right, already, the salary is is an indication of sometimes the hours are longer, sometimes the hours are shorter. It's except it's never that the hours are shorter, right. And it's never that the hours, the work that you do is compensated on a per year basis, right, there is a salary associated with that, because it is understood that it's not something you can measure strictly speaking against the clock, right? It's not an hourly wage, like there's a reason that that wage structure exists, right. But within that, it's sort of want to have it both ways, right, is that, in fact, it does need to be a certain number of hours, and the hours need to look a particular way, right, which is not what they actually do. And when we say like, there's a certain amount of fuck around time tolerated. Even among like salaried workers or workers with tenure, like, like I have, when we say tolerated, again, we're sort of saying, like that we do not consider that actually to be part of work. But it is what it is. And I was also reading another thing, that a disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners across all the scientific fields, where your musical instrument, or our creative artists, right, it's like, they are punching above their weight. They're like, you know, if you take a group of scientists, or you take the population as a whole, and you're like, a certain proportion of them are competent musicians, right? And then you like, take Nobel Prize winners in the hard sciences. And a much higher proportion of them are actually competent musicians, right? Like, it seems to be that having creative pursuits and meaningful hobbies in non scientific areas, it actually seems to be a predictor, you're more likely to be somebody who generates Nobel Prize winning work, if you also, you know, played the viola at the undergrad level, as it turns out, or you're a sculptor, which is really weird. And we have no way of accounting for that. Right? Because if we think that we tolerate Buck around time, or that these hobbies are great if you do them in your own time, we're not really accounting are the ways in which people's complex and beautiful brains require a certain variety of stimulus in order to be able to do the thing that they get paid for. Yeah, right. Yeah. And until we can imagine that as part of working, right, well, if we let people like I just saw another one of these gaslighting articles in New York Times it was like, as it turns out, doing like knitting in meetings is beneficial. Like there's like we've done functional MRIs. And it turns out, you know, when you activate the motor cortex on a stupid activity, like drawing squares, or like crocheting, people's focused attention actually improves like no shit. People been saying that for years, people who knit in meetings have or people who paint in meetings, I guess, like they've been saying that for years and everyone's like, yeah, you will Want us to think that because you just want to knit in this meeting. So now it takes people to like Chuck a functional MRI over somebody attending a meeting. Can you imagine being
like, how is this like, Okay, here's my intervening MIT. And,
and we're just gonna matter even know how that experiment works. Like I don't even know probably the people that devise that experiment are competent musicians, is all I'm gonna say about it, right? So, as it turns out, the like, oh, yeah, we can see like changes in the brain that show that focused attention is more available. And I'm truly playing Candy Crush during meetings cannot lead that self hypnosis, we both know that. I've just erased 2040 of bricks off my phone for the 100th time. I just like in moments of weakness, keep downloading it again. And I hypnotized myself for several weeks pass the 5 million mark and like, Amy, you have a problem. That's not fuck around time. That's self hypnosis. But anyhow, we both have to go probably yes. Like, look, this is awesome, right? Like we skipped like a month and a half of stuff. And then we're like, we're gonna have a two hour episode today is the thing that we're going to do. That's how we roll. Yes, that's how we roll. But I wish everybody to sit with their fuck around time. Yeah, like, just hit No, and enjoy it, enjoy it. And you are do it in the middle of the day. If you're a knowledge worker, take your background time in the middle the day and don't try to compensate by doing like extra focus work at night. Because those things that you are doing, when you cannot do the other things that you think you're supposed to be doing are actually going to pay off somewhere. And that's always been part of the process. And it's always going to be part of the process. And I wish for everyone that they can accept their needs to compulsively drug Garfield's or grumpy cats during meetings as being a way that they are in fact trading themselves to pay attention and not the reverse. And I would love to know if people could send us their hobbies I would love to Yeah.
All the things firstname.lastname@example.org
That's right. Let us know your hobbies. I am doing tap dancing, and piano lessons and drawing lessons. Currently last year I did curling lessons Lee so it was a lot and does swimming coaching. What do y'all do? I would love to hear it.
Alright, so all the things email@example.com There we go. That one was a really good one. And with that, we're gonna sign off. And I don't know when we'll be back.
Not making any promises at this point. It's intermittent reward. Experiment right here.
Yeah, exactly. But whenever we, whenever you hear us again, between now and then give yourself some fuck around time and have fun.
Give yourself some fuck around time and have fun. Happy Easter.