Hi, I’m Erika Rowland (a.k.a. erikareads). Hi, I’m Erika. I’m an Ops-shaped Software Engineer, Toolmaker, and Resilience Engineering fan. I like Elixir and Gleam, Reading, and Design. She/Her. Constellation Webring Published on

Hacking your brain with elaborate coping mechanisms - No Boilerplate

A video by No Boilerplate about using tools and techniques to manage his neurodivergence. These are some of my notes from managing mine.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUZ9VATeF_4

I continually over-estimate how well I think I’ll remember information. It seems to easy, so obvious in the moment, but months later, it’s gone.

Active Externalism: Take advantage of external systems immediately, not when things go wrong.

It took me a long time to trust an external calendar. My brain wanted to minimize dependencies, including things like calendars. And yet, once I started using a calendar, it became easy to keep on top of plans, stay in touch with friends, and make important appointments.

Getting things done never clicked for me, but he makes a note about associating context and location with tasks.

I’ve learned that setup and teardown steps are important to notice and document. Understanding the setup steps required to begin a task allows me to enumerate and handle them as the roadblocks that they are to my brain. Teardown steps are important for things that need to happen after a task: washing dishes after eating food. It’s easy for my brain to skip the cleanup step and leave dirty dishes strewn and un-ready for the next meal.

It’s important to ask for clarification if things aren’t clear. Even if it makes me feel foolish. And, insist on asking for all the context to be included in received messages. “Do the thing” Which thing? When do I need to do it? Are there circumstances where it makes sense to not do it? When does it need to be done by? These details are crucial for my brain.

The research on doing the largest task first is mixed. Better to find a way to make large tasks into small tasks, perhaps by documenting all of the concrete steps needed to complete them.

Routines, chains of tasks completed in the same order, are effective yet fragile. I’ve found that documenting these routines is a great way to recover after a missed day or two.

I’m going to try using his idea of avoiding infinite feeds in favor of filters and RSS feeds. Quality over quantity.

Timers are great. The pomodoro default timing is too long for me, but I’m going to try it again with shorter timers.

Do new things manually for a while, then organize patterns and techniques from the manual process, then mechanize anything that can be.

This is a good technique for any process. Since often you’ll notice variations that might be difficult to handle if you mechanize too early.

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