Teacher & Educator
Welcome to the ninth edition of Async Chats! This letter is all about candid conversations with people like yourself. If you’d like some more context see this letter. Otherwise, let’s get into this.
Marie is a teacher and educator on topics such as Notion and Workflow Design. She is located in Sunshine Coast, BC Canada. She is mostly a remote worker.
Why mostly remote?
I’ve been remote for over a decade now, it’s how I’ve always worked since being self employed. Working online with online courses means it doesn’t really matter where I work, as long as I have an internet connection!
What are your interests outside of work?
Gardening, design, cooking.
(I almost changed gears and went to chef’s school...)
What are some of your favorite digital or physical tools?
Glidegear teleprompter (for camera eye contact!)
Do you prefer to work/ communicate asynchronously or synchronously? Why?
I definitely need both!
I think synchronous is important for feeling connected, and can help with batch decision making.
We also do a standing team meeting each Monday where we review our upcoming responsibilities, do a personal check in, and make decisions quickly so we can be asynchronous for the rest of the week. We have a detailed agenda template that is filtered to show our current projects, as well as any tensions that were raised throughout the week. This meeting is our chance to discuss and run through as a team, and make those decisions quickly so we can move on.
There’s also an element of creativity that can be difficult to do asynchronously.
When I meet with my chief learning officer, we often generate a ton of ideas, make lots of decisions, and laugh a ton. I really cherish these kinds of meetings!
Otherwise, most day to day communication happens asynchronously, through Slack, Notion, and Marco Polo, so we’ve got a fair mix of both!
Questions of the week:
Based on this edition of The Gray Area.
What kind of neurodiversity do you deal with?
ADHD - was diagnosed only in the last 8 months!
How has it changed the way you see and interact with daily life and work?
Learning I have ADHD was life-changing. It was an incredibly bizarre and emotional experience, because it re-contextualized so much of my lived experience. It explained so much of what I had chalked up to “quirks” or family dysfunction.
At first I was incredibly skeptical, because surely I would have figured this out sooner!? But once I learned more about it and understood how it presents, it helped me understand the ways I had unknowingly coped throughout my life.
Knowing now a bit of the neuro-chemistry behind it, and how much dopamine plays a role in things, I can now approach things with a greater understanding, awareness, and self compassion.
I had really poor self esteem before I understood my diagnosis. It was incredibly difficult to feel simultaneously intelligent and driven, and yet also experience executive dysfunction, poor memory, impulsiveness, and cognitive issues.
Knowing there was a reason gave me permission to further tailor my approach to work around my needs.
Mostly, it was a mindset shift that allowed me to be more compassionate with myself in designing for the fluctuations in my energy and capacity.
Being really honest with my team about what I can do, and what support I need.
Designing my schedule around energy and not time.
Celebrating my weekly output, not my daily output.
Tracking patterns and symptoms, noticing what works and what doesn’t, and being honest about it with myself.
How do you prevent this from being a limiter?
I’m not sure that I do, but things that I know will always help:
Getting a good night’s sleep
Drinking lots of water
Going for a walk first thing in the morning
Moving my body and making time for exercise
Turning off notifications, and scheduling distraction time.
Has it helped you in any way?
My brand of ADHD comes with a healthy dose of hyperfocus, which means I can often pull off superhuman amounts of work in a very condensed time frame, though it can be incredibly difficult to regulate or pull away.
This certainly helps get projects done, especially if I’m on a tight timeline!
I try to embrace the surges when they happen, because they can be hard to predict, and I want to maximize my focus and flow when it happens!
Unfortunately though, there’s almost always a crash to follow. I know this now and try to adjust plans as needed.
Because my brain is often moving a million miles a minute, I can see patterns quickly, which makes me a great problem solver. I come up with ideas rapidly, and move fast when it comes to product development, testing ideas, and making decisions.
My impulsiveness can also lead to oversharing, which means I’m generally quite comfortable being quite vulnerable. This often surprises and sometimes shocks people, but it means that I can make people feel included, seen, and heard with my honesty, so I’m very personable online.
I think this has helped me stand out as a creator because I really struggle to follow the “rules” of online marketing, and I think people love knowing that you don’t have to follow the rules. They want to see what that looks like in action!
Despite all of the challenges ADHD has presented in my life in ways I didn’t realize, I do believe that it is a big part of why I am successful as an entrepreneur.
Risk-taking is natural for me, which obviously works well in entrepreneurship!
I suppose I’ve probably gravitated to finding environments where my quirks were able to become strengths or advantages.
I think of it a bit like having lemons, so you might as well make lemonade!
Do you have any tips for others dealing with a form of neurodiversity?
Be willing to throw traditional advice out the window.
Check out the various ADHD subreddits and online forums.
Read about it and learn about it; there are so many amazing resources out there!
Be gentle with yourself. Find what works for you and your unique needs. Get curious about yourself! Journal, observe your behaviour, take note of your symptoms, and ask for support where you can.
Seek a good therapist who can help you work with your symptoms. For some, medication might be a good option.
I believe we’re moving more and more toward destigmatization, but we also have a long way to go!
• Taking Charge of Adult ADHD by Russell Barkley PhD
What is something few people know about you?
I once fought in a pillow fight league as Marie Slamtoinette.
I played 11 years of Gaelic football, and got to travel to many cities in Canada and the US to play in tournaments!
Anything new or important you’d like to mention to the readers?
Most of my time, energy, and attention goes into my course, Notion Mastery.
We’re also working on a Notion at Work training to help larger teams adopt Notion quickly!
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Know someone that would be a great fit – comment on this letter or reach out to me on Twitter