Ep 38 Productivity


Ep  38   Productivity

Because we don't read out our synapses studies have shown that we do not make habits everything we do has to be a conscious effort because uh the the mtors uh we don't respond to mtors so we don't do the synaptic pruning so we don't weed out our synapses so uh our brains are endlessly hyper connecting we are constantly making new connections.

We will make connections around connections we will do all kinds of stuff and every action we make is somewhat deliberate including breathing we have bad habits with breathing which is why so many of us have not obstructive sleep apnea because we forget to breathe cause we can't even make a habit to breathe.

Episode 38 Productivity is autistic welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast each episode we dive deep into autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world's most famous and successful autistics in history before we get started a quick disclaimer on how we use the word autistic.

The purpose of the show is not to diagnose the people or characters we discuss as autistic while some may have announced being autistic what we're really sharing here is our observation of what is representative of autistic culture it can sometimes be difficult for autistic people to celebrate our natural tendencies and traits due to the perception.

Of autism as a disorder that needs to be fixed a long history of damaging medical interventions to get autistics to fit in with mainstream culture and protective masking skills many of us have developed to try to stay safe whether you are autistic or just love someone who is your hosts Doctor Angela Lloria the linguistic Autistic.

And licensed Psychological Practitioner Matt Lowry welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language values traditions norms and identity of Autistica well hey Matt hey Angela how are you good are you feeling productive am I productive.

Oh my that that is a loaded question you know I thought about the title of this episode productivity is autistic and I was like some days some days productivity is autistic but we are going to talk about what productivity looks like in autistic culture and I will say we are just coming off of a summer hiatus.

Which was incredibly productive for me even though we were not recording episodes because taking that break helped me think about new episodes I wanted to make help me connect with our listeners and our community and it helped me to keep making this podcast super fun to create and I think like part of productivity being autistic for me and autistic culture is like.

Not just doing stuff because it's on the schedule and building in lots of breaks and building in lots of space so that like you actually enjoy what you're doing and can notice and have the time to notice if you are not enjoying what you're doing so I thought productivity would be the perfect.

Back to school episode I I think that's good for parents for kids for everyone yeah so but what really triggered this was I have joined a whole bunch of autistic groups just to get some ideas for episodes and a woman named Jessica Roach in the autism late diagnosis self identification.

Support and education group which I will link to in the show notes that sounds like a good group yeah it's a great group it's a great group and she posted a very hot uh a hot post that got me going this was your post she said has anyone read Atomic Habits.

I just heard a podcast interview with the author and it sounded like it could be useful but I'd love to hear a review through uh Neurodivergent Lens before I seek any time into it and man were there votes I created what did you say yes well there weren't votes there were just comments but I did a whole content analysis of the comments.

I created a spreadsheet I divided the content the the comments into categories of positive negative and neutral obviously I did Matt I know you're not surprised I do have a pie chart on this and I just love your first instinct is.

Let's go excel on this yeah exactly I'll be so 40 43% of the comments were negative 29% were positive and 28% were neutral suggesting another book or connecting or things like that so uh I've got my full spreadsheet of 168 comments.

Analyzed and uh I decided we would start by talking about this very popular and I will call controversial book called Atomic Habits uh hold on I'm gonna give you the subtitle tiny changes remarkable results an easy and proven way to build good habits and Bake Break bad ones by James Clear.

That is your full title that is an extensive title as you know I am a publisher so I do love a book um and this book is really an outlier so on average most books sell fewer than 250 copies total 2 5 0.

This book has sold 15 million copies oh wow it is a New York Times bestseller this guy uh his main credential seems to be that he's a self help blogger so no no training here but lots of pseudoscience if you're into that sort of thing I will tell you.

Most authors make on average $1 a book so I will say he was very very productive here because this is a 15 million dollar book probably after his agent is paid and the publisher is paid so uh apparently pseudoscience is in my friends people love this stuff.

Uh basically the book is uh uh uh uh uh I'm gonna call it a dog training manual for humans oh fun uh he it's it's operant conditioning we got a little Pavlov's dog action here.

Which is great you know if you're a dog it is fantastic for dogs yes the whole book is based on this four step process he explains there's a cue there's a craving.

A response and a reward and so if you can give rewards for good cravings you will then of course build good habits I'm sure you see where this is going oh God so I'm gonna make you read this is this is just save you guys so you don't have to read the book uh.

This is the whole book boiled down into a quote that Matt is going to read for you here we go please forgive me for saying what will pass through my lips the more you repeat a behavior the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behavior in fact the word identity was once originally derived from the Latin words as since us.

Which means being an identity which means repeatedly your identity is literally your repeated beingness your habits shape your identity and your identity shapes your habits identity is the north star of the habit change that was almost a sentence habits matter because they help you become the person you wish to be.

Quite literally you become your habits this is the song that never ends it just goes out have you ever seen a snake eating its tail oh God you you are so true I mean oh my God this this is such a reductionist view of humanity and cognition.

And what are the credentials of the person who wrote this book he is a blogger actually what I will tell you is I think he naturally is somebody who loves habits and that seems to be his uh essentialist take on this is like here's the deal if you want a good habit.

Let's say you wanna drink more water think of yourself as being a person who drinks a lot of water then drink a lot of water and you will be a person who drinks a lot of water and you will have a water drinking habit which seems to be how he does it and you can do it too my friend I want to make sure that our audio engineer includes.

Audible groan yeah audible groan insert audible groans oh my God yeah so good habits when you drink the water you give yourself a reward that's positive reinforcement you just keep in your pockets some kibbles and they.

They good I ate it and then your brain will remember oh I get a kibble when I drink the water and then bad I guess you punish yourself and then that decreases the bad habits but he's focused on the fun stuff he says um you wanna make it obvious you wanna make it attractive.

You wanna make it easy and you wanna make it satisfying so the habits that he picks are things he already wants to do so for instance he loves brushing his teeth loves it so he will put things next to his toothbrush like let's say some medicine he needs to take and then he teaches us the skill of habit stacking.

I already love brushing my teeth that's obvious it's attractive to me I will make it easy to remember to take my pills so that will be easy and then it will be satisfying cause I will reward myself with I don't know a little kibble or something.

I will pat myself on the back and do a social media post saying how awesome I am and I have gone 387 days without forgetting to take my medicine because I have habits stacked it with my teeth brushing so just do that Matt I can't imagine what a wild night he must have with his teeth brushing.

I mean that's wow yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah he also says if you are ever struggling like do you have any habits that you kind of struggle with something like maybe exercise you wish you did more I I my gut definitely could use more exercise okay.

Great I have a solution this is gonna change your life write this down get a pen should I brush my teeth while exercising well you can you can stack the exercising with your teeth brushing so that's nice but what he says is.

All you have to do is change in your mind from I have to exercise like oh man I have to exercise too wait for it I get to exercise hey I get to exercise after I brush my teeth this man must be fun at parties yeah.

Yeah because you your identity is a habit and the habits your identity cause you now know the Latin root of that word and so I think it's um I think this is also called self gas lighting but basically you just tell yourself I love exercising I am a person who exercises.

You make it attractive and easy and satisfying and then you give yourself a reward after you exercise and after you do this for enough days by the way there is no science behind this it is all been wildly debunked but he says once you've done it for 66 days you will then just be a person who exercises after they brush their teeth I I I really.

Really want a shirt in our new Tea Public store to say I love brushing my teeth yeah because I want a mug with that uh yeah cause yeah yeah that's you can put your toothbrush so no this is a great you're already learning you put your toothbrush into the I Love Brushing My Teeth mug okay.

That's gonna make it attractive if we pick the right font like a nice comic sand sort of thing yeah yeah that's that's yeah your mug with your favorite font your toothbrush will be attractive it'll be right there next to the sink.

It'll be easy and then you can award yourself by listening to an episode of the Autistic Culture podcast with Clean Teeth no left with clean teeth yeah so here we go if you want to do something then you have to be that thing and the way you can be that thing is by doing it.

So if you would like to add a new habit start doing it and then keep doing it no matter what and you will be someone who does it I I am going to say that I am going to be rich so I will go out and spend millions of dollars this afternoon and therefore self actuate that spending the money makes me rich because yes excellent.

What a great habit spending money yeah to make you rich yeah cause you know as long as we're going full pseudoscience I could fly yeah yeah yeah yeah so this is Applied Behavioral Analysis there's another uh.

Three letter acronym we love around here um which is a B a yeah it's a that's Swedish pop group without one of the b's yeah exactly um and there are a couple of by products of this sort of systematic behaviorism which by the way does not work and it especially doesn't work for autistic people.

No but uh over and over again the people who recommend and like atomic habits when you ask them if they created any new habits their answer is consistently no I just like thinking it would be that easy I think they enjoy the anecdotes but um there's a there's a couple things that happen one you begin to have this imposter syndrome.

It's this internalized ableism that's created cause all you had to do was make it attractive put your toothbrush in your cute little cup that says I love toothbrushing why aren't you doing it so that is you know internalized ableism it's all of the things that are going to create mental health issues.

But also for some people it creates perfectionism where there's a fear of failure or punishment like I didn't somebody else did 387 days of consecutively brushing their teeth I miss today and so my value therefore is associated.

With how good I am at fulfilling these habits in this neurotypical way and imposter syndrome and perfectionism are two of the things that are really dangerous to autistic people that send us into meltdowns burnouts and by the way make it really fucking hard to do any of these habits especially when you frame it as.

It's really easy because you say well if it's so easy why can't I do it well clearly you're a failure you know it's and maybe have you thought about have you thought about just thinking.

I get to do it God oh my God did you try that you should try that oh that's so offensive works for me so I listen to this oh first of all I'm obsessed with the podcast.

This American Life it was a radio show I was obsessed when it was a radio show it's podcast you should all listen to it it's great and there was this episode I'm gonna link it in the show notes about quitting smoking it's called something.

I can't remember but I can't quit you I can't quit you is the name of the episode and in this episode they are talking about another applied behavioral analysis um book which is a very famous book it's called The Easy Way to Quit Smoking and there's a bunch of these books.

The easy way to lose weight the easy way the guy's name is Alan Carr the British guy he's died now but his company is run by somebody else who's interviewed on this podcast was it lung cancer or a car accident yeah right I do think it was lung cancer.

He just like didn't that's a shame soon enough yeah yeah yeah and so the idea in this book is you don't really want to smoke and you think you wanna smoke but you don't really wanna smoke any oh I've left this out.

But this is key he's a hypnotist and so you can read this book and you'll be hypnotizing yourself or and the book is you know whatever 15 20 bucks or you could go to like a 300 dollar seminar.

And they will hypnotize you and they tell you like through this whole thing keep smoking as you're reading the book keep smoking when you finish the book or when you finish this session that's your last cigarette.

And it's gonna be the easy way to quit cause you won't you won't wanna do it again you just you're not gonna want to because you're gonna become a person who doesn't smoke very similar philosophy to James Clear and um so James clear.

I'm gonna give you another one of his quotes he likes to talk about smoking a lot in his book as well here's what he says about smoking I'm gonna need to brush my teeth after this passes through my lips what you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers.

You do not crave smoking a cigarette you crave the feeling of relief it provides you're not motivated by Brett you're not motivated by brushing your teeth but rather by the feeling of a clean mouth see what I did there wow I I thought I was beating a dead horse with a brush teeth and teeth brushing but no no he's really into that.

He's really yeah this is gonna be a running gag today all right well we're committed so that's it that this is this is it and so on this podcast they have this guy oh I should say the host for this episode or for this story.

Had been trying to quit smoking cause he had like I think it was like a pre lung cancer diagnosis it was like you gotta quit dude you're gonna die so he gets out in cars the easy way and he does not quit he does not magically.

Just become someone who gets to not smoke um he still wants to smoke it's like literally and he's not smoking he does quit but he's fucking miserable and he's miserable for months and months he's trying to understand why and thinks Alan Carr like James Clear.

Had no fucking credentials whatsoever no awareness of physiological dependency or anything right so he's like maybe I'll talk to an actual doctor so he talks to this woman Anna Lemke she runs the Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Stanford so like an actual scientist she wrote a book called Dopamine Nation and um.

What she Learned in the study is that nicotine increases dopamine levels by 150% wow which is 50% more than sex wow right and so what this study that an Olympic did says is that you create this elaborate and they like you know measured it studied it did actual science around it instead of just an opinion that you should just.

Not smoke because you crave the state it delivers that's an excellent methodology I approve go on yes so she said what happens is you by smoking every time you smoke you've created an elaborate neurological circuit around smoking and months or even years after you stop smoking.

The neurological circuit is perfectly healthy it's firing away and whenever there's a stressor it's like hey if you have a cigarette you'll feel better and she said for many people this circuit will keep working.

You have just changed your brain the Miss Olympic dopamine pathway yes yeah that's the one look at that science here we are science and so if you just think I don't need 150% more dopamine it turns out it doesn't actually change that pathway yeah so there is an actual.

Scientific reason why just not smoking didn't solve this podcasters problems this is what Anna Lemke said to him this should be much better yes so we used to include we used to include nicotine replacement therapy just to help people quit but more and more we're now using them in the maintenance phase.

Where people are just using them for years to decades and again the thinking it the thinking there is that wow the ideal is that with sustained abstinence your brain would heal in your return to whatever your pre smoking baseline was but in reality what we see is that some people don't get to that place and that they may need some form of nicotine to feel.

And function okay going forward indefinitely right even if they get atomic habits by James Clear yeah yeah cause for some reason just happy thoughts are not enough to rewire your brain right right.

We love hearing from our listeners so head over to this episode on Substack and leave us your comment it's autistic culture all one word dot substack dot com that's autistic culture.substack.com so here's the problem that we run into and I I've got lots of good autistic productivity to share with you.

But I wanna explain why even though 29% of people in the late diagnosed autistics group like this book why I think it's so uh dangerous and harmful in in 4 autistic people and why it has no place in autistic culture in my opinion because if you are telling yourself hey.

I could just build a habit by doing it repeatedly I'm gonna do it for 60 days and I'm gonna magically do it and then it fails yeah you are going to feel very crappy about yourself oh very and it has a trickle down effect and it will decrease your productive your productivity that's one thing.

It is not gonna help you make more have make more or better habits and I know for me this um I knew how to do all these habits I was actually when I was masking so after I was diagnosed I was like okay here are my weaknesses here are my shortcomings as a person with autism.

That I need to make up for so I'm gonna make up for them by reading every single self help book every single productivity hack and I'm gonna do a really really good job with these and I think it came from the research angle yeah of course right I went all in I'm like.

I am gonna master all these neurotypical skills they're gonna be harder for me but look it's it's hard for people in wheelchairs to learn how to walk again and some people do it I'm gonna be one of those people that learns it and every time I would feel any sort of uh like guilt or shame.

I would be like let's put the rewards in place let's put the punishments in place I actually used to teach this to my clients like rewards and punishments and let's build a schedule and I was in a position where I could hire people to just like follow me around and make sure I was doing.

All my good habits and then through mostly Covid but some other things that were going on at the time I dropped into autistic burnout yeah and I didn't really know it's autistic burnout I just thought it was burnout but it's okay I wasn't that worried.

It I slept for a week everyone kept calling it the pause this is March of 2020 I'm like I'll sleep then I'll feel better after a week and then after a week I was like let me put my let me put my systems in place let me put my rewards in place.

Let me make it attractive and easy and I was not doing these habits anymore yeah so I used to post every day on social media and I used to make Facebook lives and I would be like you just have to do it reward yourself after and I like went to the store and I bought lint chocolate and I was like.

You can have a lint chocolate once you make your Facebook live and then I did not make my Facebook live and then day after day after day after month passed and I was not doing and I was not showering I was not brushing my teeth I was not changing my clothes I was not doing anything.

And I thought well I have to get better rewards I have to get stronger punishments I have to make it more attractive I have to make it easier and none of this was working Matt no kidding yeah so I guess I wondered from your uh.

From more autistic centered therapy I did I was going to a therapist at a time at the time and she was the one who was sort of telling I'm she's great therapist and she was like okay what are you gonna do.

By the time we meet less next week let's make a list of goals how are you gonna reward yourself so obviously not autistic centered therapy didn't think I needed that but what do you think it why do you think these productivity.

Tools don't work why can't we just beat ourselves into submission as autistic people because that's not how our brains work because okay so so right now the the current research says that.

All of the TISM is due to our responses to mtor m t o r mammalian target of rappomycin and in most people in neurotypical people these mtors cause a thing called autofage where your neurons.

Uh there there's a chemical that's emitted in your brain that naturally dissolves synapses that aren't being used and that way you can change pathways through what we call extinction where if you burn out a pathway and you say well if I smoke it I smoke it.

I smoke that I won't smoke anymore because I've burned it out or if you you know are able to condition yourself that you you are going to change these pathways but again even that doesn't work with neurotypicals because of the mesolimpic.

Dopamine pathway because mesolimpic dopamine pathway is essentially the Grand Canyon of your brain which was eroded over years and years and years and years of dopamine passing through this and it's a structural change.

And you can't change that because that's a whole other thing but but because we don't read out our synapses studies have shown that we do not make habits everything we do has to be a conscious effort because uh the the mtors.

Uh we don't respond to mtors so we don't do the synaptic pruning so we don't weed out our synapses so uh our brains are endlessly hyper connecting we are constantly making new connections we will make.

Connectionsaround connections we will do all kinds of stuff and every action we make is somewhat deliberate including breathing we have bad habits with breathing which is why so many of us have a non obstructive sleep apnea.

Because we forget to breathe cause we can't even make a habit to breathe so when you say yeah yeah I really need to quit smoking or quit drinking or whatever there's there are so many people so many autistic people in the world that have.

Dependency issues because we live in a world full of chaos and if you need that extra nicotine to get through the day if you need to numb yourself with weed or numb yourself with alcohol or numb yourself in something in order to get through all this chaos.

It's gonna be very very difficult to stop because you don't have any way to mitigate all that chaos so one of the things that we're working on right now I've got some friends who are very very interested in this topic and are studying it from an autistic.

Perspective and trying to work on autistic substance abuse centered treatment but again that's years and years away and hopefully we can start to implement some of the stuff at Arcadia of our new autistic LED.

Autism center because we're planning on doing a whole bunch of research but we'll talk about that later on but uh autistic LED health center autistic yes yes because it's gonna be all of these services OT PT SLP.

Nurse practitioner all these services for people LED by autistic people so because it's different for us and then yes when you're reading something and I mean atomic habits these lessons are just in the air you'll pick it up in TV shows obviously New York Times best selling books your drunk uncle at Christmas is gonna be like hey.

Why don't you just set a timer and tell yourself you're gonna exercise every day at 5:00am and they when they don't work for us this is part of our whole wrong planet thing yeah where we're like I must be on the wrong planet like that didn't work for me what's wrong with me am I broken.

No you're not broken you're autistic and these tools don't work and even if you look at like the original behavioralism like Pavlov's dog they get the reward and then they draw they get they hear the bell they get the reward and then they drool and then they could just hear the bell and they drool.

That was all uh automatic yeah they were automatically drooling we don't automatically do things like that yeah yeah Skinner made a lot of work with pigeons but pigeons are not sapient right pigeons are are do not do not have the complexity of thought that humans or dolphins or.

And a very exceptional woodchuck has yeah so yeah there's there's a reason that these things don't work for us but autistics have spiky profiles when it comes to productivity and so especially if we are in a monotropic phase if we are for instance making pie charts of people's comments in autistic websites about James Clear books.

We can be incredibly productive more more productive than neurotypicals in a very short amount of time we can get stuff done and get it done well and at a deeper level that most people can't and then we get a lot of credit from neurotypical they'll be like oh my god I love how productive you are I'm going to give you more and more work and uh.

This fits very nicely in America into our Puritan uh work ethic the bootstraps the bootstraps the productivity gospel the idea that your value is tied to your productivity and so when we're being super productive in our special interest we feel good.

And when we are in a place where we can't I don't know remember to brush our teeth or take our medicine or go to the gym or drink water then we feel like oh we are worth less we are less valuable as humans if if you ever get a chance Dan Harmon if you're listening.

I know you love podcasts please reach out to us I would love to talk to you but there there was a documentary Harmon Town about Dan Harmon the creator of community the creator of Rick and Morty the the co show runner of Strange Planet.

Now also very autistic um but the documentary showed his his burnout after being fired from community where he just wanted to tour the country and do his podcast and repeatedly there is these issues with where he has these meetings with network executives.

Of saying yeah get that script to us get that script to us get that script to us but he cannot do that because that's just not how he is able to work and talking about our community he would uh work and work and work.

And then not deliver until like the day of shooting right because that's how his brain works that's how we do it and and it's a fantastic it's and this is why uh again I he's definitely one of us he talks in the documentary about it we're gonna be talking about Spencer Crittenden.

When we do our Dungeons and Dragons episode coming up but uh there's there's so much there about his substance abuse dependency and his autistic inertia and the the the massive self loathing he has for not being able to do things on a neurotypical schedule.

Right because when he's able to do the work it's amazing work when he's not able to do the work he needs to take a bubble bath and that exactly and that is that is what I wanna talk about because in Autistica in our magical land that we live in.

A land where autistic culture is the dominant culture there are ways that we accomplish as much or more than people on the neurotypical planet neurotypicalis uh but it does not require this sort of schedule and I wanted to get advice and and we wanna hear more from you guys this season so uh.

Give us your productivity ideas and methods that work for you but I took to Twitter which I guess I will call X but it's hard for me but okay I took to Twitter I'm not calling it X the least copyrighted ever.

I see through the I can't so we're gonna call it Twitter so I went to Twitter and I looked up actually autistic hashtag post that mentioned productivity so he's like let me find what I.

I have my list I'm gonna share it with you I wanna hear your thoughts on it but I was like let me look on Twitter for this and obviously Twitter is a land a vast land of tech bros.

And everything I found about autistic productivity was this creepy wild Tangent stuff oh yes oh God Alex Alex yeah you wanna tell this story oh Alex Saint John is uh was a a the.

The head of the gaming company Wild Tangent and he he made this famous presentation about how his methods for becoming so successful and his his methodology included.

Essentially enslaving autistic people and uh he put this presentation online because he was very proud of it uh after lots of intense feedback he later took it down but if you want.

You can still find it on the way back archive because the internet never forgets the presentation is called Recruiting Giants by Alex Saint John and some of it includes a slide that says the young the old.

And the useless he says that nothing beats youth for speed and innovation higher for passion persistence and IQ work them quote unquote too hard it's good for them and the only way they'll get seasoned.

Get them as interns while early in college if possible they're not interested in bad habits they haven't Learned Wade slave mentality yet and they don't need to be untapped five kids to one.

Old mentor engineers about right and it says quote be on the lookout for the holy grail the undiscovered ashburgers engineer usually found on open source forums because they have no social skills they generally.

Marry the first girl they date they can't make eye contact the resume and educational background is a mess because they have no social skills they work like machines don't engage in politics don't develop attitudes.

And never change jobs yeah exploit those motherfuckers in their productivity yeah yeah and that's the and there's there's if you get a chance read the whole thing I've downloaded it because again apartment to our interests.

It's on the way back archive there's stuff about how you need to target because again this is very sexist target the girlfriend of the autistic person because the girlfriend is always interested in money and you can force the autistic person to do anything because the girlfriend is a money gruber so yeah it's it's all remarkably pathologizing.

Remarkably horrifying and you definitely should check it out and this is what is perceived as autistic productivity when we are kind of in the autism speaks world of autistic people need to be fixed the good things autistic people do is they're super productive the bad things are.

You know sometimes they aren't let's fix it by giving them a copy of Atomic Habits I guess yeah cause that's gonna work in autistic the way that we see it is that productivity comes from monotropism and when you hit on it when you're in the flow.

Like enjoy it it's amazing create as much in your life as you can that will uh make that conducive to happening so you might have certain challenges or other issues you're dealing with or marginalized identities that you um cope with that make that harder but the more you can be in a state of flow.

And enjoy your special interest and lean into them especially when they're rich and ripe and bubbling do that because it is nurturing and healing not because you might lose your girlfriend or get fired yeah we love sharing stories of autistic culture and if you are seeing yourself in any of these stories and you're wondering if maybe you're one of us or maybe you're already diagnosed or self diagnosed.

And you wanna know if that can help you live your life better and be more authentically autistic check out his website at Matt Lowry lpp com that's Matt m a t t Lowry L o W R y and then that LPP it stands for Licensed Psychological Practitioner so head on over to Matt Lowry LPP.

Com and learn more about working with my buddy Matt so so this is about the thing about the the the flow state because when we're in the flow state and if if our flow state is related to our jobs our employers really really love us but then when we hear it burn out we need to recover.

Our employers want us to maintain that non stop work 9 all the time but we can't maintain warp 9 because you know the warp core will explode and kill everybody right right and that's that's not something that the Allistics understand they they want constant productivity all the time and and but it's not just constant product it's a pretty low banal state.

Yeah of productivity yeah yeah and this is this is a big thing about working from home because they say well people just pretend to work from home like what do you think we're doing in the office right right yeah right right we're yes trying to survive the day most days yeah so yeah.

When I think when an allistic assumes they they see us in a super productive day the day we turned in the the manuscript that we wrote in whatever 24 hours for an episode of community or whatever they think it's possible to always do that yeah but it's not just a switch you can flip and if you can flip it like by using atomic habits and rewards or cocaine.

Your cocaine yep great great great suggestion there it will lead to burn out or worse yeah and I think we get confused cause of all those rewards all the dopamine hits oh my God this is amazing this is amazing yeah it's it's very difficult to turn down that appreciation.

And then when it's not there you just can't crank it out it's like where did it go why can't I do it right now yeah and that that's where the internalized ableism hits and that makes the burnout all the worse because you blame yourself for not being able to do that thing that you could do yesterday.

But can't do today right and it's real you can't do it you're not making that up um is this where autistic inertia comes in oh god yes yeah that's so so that's the thing you know inertia is a body at rest stays in rest a body in motion stays in motion.

And it takes us a great deal of energy to get going because we're like trains it takes a lot of energy for us to go from a rest state into a state of movement and then once we it takes a very long time for us to slow down or switch tasks and then once we burn out it takes so much energy to get moving again.

Right and this is why we need so much recovery time and so much self care and building a life where we don't hit burnout as often because I would like to say live a life where we don't hit burnout at all but I haven't met an autistic person who's never experienced burnout well capitalism though yeah exactly.

Is that possible I mean obviously we're not experts here but make introductions if you know someone who is I wonder in like an an an indigenous culture if it is less likely for autistics to hit burnout because they aren't expected to produce with this Puritan work ethic.

Obviously that whole productivity gospel ties into white supremacy it ties into capitalism and it ties into the pathologization of autistic people and this is one of the things that is fascinating because the the western culture burnout productivity.

All that kind of stuff the burnout is what leads to adults getting diagnosis because they don't have the energy to mask anymore so the people the autistic people in other cultures who are able to effectively cope may not look as autistic because of masking so this this is a very.

Very interesting subject and where we need to approach this from a cultural perspective instead of a mental illness perspective because we need to look at these underlying traits like monotropism and autistic inertia.

And all these other things that make us who we are when we're not distressed when we're not burned out to figure out what the greater picture of autism is as a whole from a societal standpoint yeah what is it in its natural state yes that that's the question I always have.

So obviously there is a lot of privilege to productivity as an autistic person cause not everybody has these luxuries but to the extent that you can use some of these tools as opposed to the tools from Atomic Habits please don't use them they won't work.

It's not great um but like no behaviorism no cocaine don't do either of them either neither works but if it works for you you know whatever you do you boo but for me one of the things that LED to creating the.

Circumstances for being in a flow state more often is having a schedule that supports me staying emotionally regulated as much as possible now for me that means working from home I know everybody doesn't have that luxury but if you can move towards that even do that some of the time.

And also I space out any sort of meetings I'm very careful about scheduling meetings and I have a no no guilt midday naps midday sleeping on the couch even though I'm working from home um I work when I'm working.

But I rest a lot a lot more than before I think yeah sometimes I'm just like zoning out staring at my phone sometimes I'm just not talking or not having to be smart or on yeah but I rest a whole lot more.

And if I I had a meeting that was late last night and I just started to feel myself it it maybe it feels a little like claustrophobia I feel like buzzy my tongue gets numb my ears ring I'm like I gotta get out of this and yeah.

I get the buzzy feeling myself and it's very interesting and it feels buzzy yeah I'm like I gotta go I gotta go this isn't right and it was something we were on so this would have tripped me up in the past so we were I've talked about this on this podcast.

I ended up joining this board I told them 10 times you don't want me on your damn board I'm autistic but um but anyway I joined this board they've been incredibly accommodating like I speak up for my needs.

And everyone's super and then like now our board president is like I just got diagnosed as ADHD everyone's like coming out as neurodivergent it's great everyone's like owning it it's awesome.

And um we were on a deadline for a vote and the vote had to happen and I had to be there and I have been doing a VIP day with an author in Australia so my hours have been kind of upside down we're working.

On a super cool book but I'm working on it like late at night and my sleep is off and I knew I was on deadline and I started getting that emotionally disregulated feeling and I was like this is a volunteer board.

For my apartment building what is gonna happen if I don't vote on this nonsensical matter that doesn't this is not my health this is not my child this is not my partner reducing non essential tasks.

Yeah and I was like hey I know this is gonna sound weird um but I actually have uh I I like have to stop talking I'm like my body is telling me I am done talking for today and so I'm gonna put down the phone and you can just register.

My vote as abstained and if we have to revote later or whatever or if you need to remove me from the board so you can vote do what you gotta do I'm hanging up this phone yeah and I like.

I wasn't Moody I wasn't like bitchy about it I was like I can tell I'm I'm getting signals that there will be greater consequences for all of us.

If I don't put the phone down yeah yeah cause you have to manage your energy you have to manage your spoons you have to manage your hit points you have to manage your.

Spell slots whichever metaphor you want in this you have to take care of yourself because otherwise again that's the quick way to burn out right and I was just like it just most things don't matter.

Like most things don't matter a lot of things you can get out of yeah and so I was just like oh whatever I'll deal with the consequences and then the next day this was I think.

8 or 9 at night and I just like went to bed I was like I'm done daying I I'm done and the next day I was moderately productive not my most productive day.

Like didn't turn out of you know script for a TV show but I was able to function and otherwise I would have lost a whole another day to vote on an issue about where to put a bulletin board in my apartment building yeah it's not worth losing a day because.

Where the sun don't shine is not one of the options they'll appreciate right right like our show here's how you can help when you tell someone about this show it helps make the world a friendlier place for autistic people and when you rate or review us in your podcast player.

It helps people find us it really matters and if you're PDA I totally understand you cannot not do this and it will still work out so um so that is uh that's one of my atomic habits for autistic people is create a schedule that supports emotional regulation understand how autistic inertia works.

And if you're in a down you're in a down if you're in and up lean the hell into it if you've got a new special interest it's like having a new relationship read everything you'll be able to read 15 times more books than you will if you're in a down.

But if you're there go for it and then four me for the times when I'm really struggling especially with executive functioning I have a lot of visual aids reminders and mostly my partner who just like brings me things like water and tells me to put the phone down and go to the bathroom um but you need that yeah.

So I have support for those things cause I know I'm not gonna naturally do them because I did it 66 days in a row and there was some fake study that showed that was supposed to make me just be somebody who loves doing those things yeah yeah it yeah it oh all the pseudoscience yes hoarding energy.

So in artistic culture we hoard energy when you've got it use it use it for what matters the prioritization has become really important for me um so figure out what you wanna do when you have that energy and when you don't have the energy if you are someone who can push through.

Which I was just know the long term consequences are pushing through are not gonna be worth it in my opinion you're borrowing energy from the future to get through today and sooner or later you will go energy bankrupt you will go bankrupt so um I loved uh this was a post that I read on.

Twitter when I was looking for secrets autism secrets for productivity and this one is really captures perfectly for me actually I can have you read it Matt this is this is my productivity system somebody else wrote this tweet but here you go got up at 5:00am.

Did half my morning routine worked on some projects for an hour or so then continued my routine language studies and I am now crashing in bed at 8:00am with my face mask my routines don't look like most people's but I get stuff done right there you go.

Yeah and you gotta do what you gotta do um I I have been known to return emails at 2 or 3 in the morning when I can't sleep and people are inevitably why are you awake at this certain time because this is when I do stuff I crashed after work and now I'm awake yeah this is what yes and I often will sleep from like 6 to ten PM yeah.

And then I'll work from 10 to 2 and then I'll sleep from 2 to 6 and like multi basic sleep yes it was a whole thing at one point in history I believe it was yeah we've just again you know the colonialist mindset is is something else right so let's not expect autistic levels of hyper focus.

Productivity from Allistics they are not capable of it and I don't think we should expect uh I don't know atomic habits from autistic people or being able to just have it stack and do all these little things perfectly all the time in the way the Allistics teach us that.

We are from different cultures we have different experiences we have different brains and in autistic culture there are some things about productivity that are consistent that you can grab and take some inspiration from look at some I mean you've heard many of our episodes of.

Um you know when people are creating in an autistic space and what that looks like turning their career or turning their special interest into a career those things that work for you take if there's something from Atomic Habits you love take that too you know there's no rules here.

But don't back to yourself to perform by allistic standards um cause that's just gonna lead to harm and self harm that's my 2 cents I agree totally well said yeah so that is what productivity is autistic looks like to me Matt no pressure on it being a product.

On a productive answer but tell us about your week what is the best thing about being autistic that you have experienced recently we need a good story oh man that the summer has been busy one of the greatest things is that I'm working with my friends to develop this like new platform for teaching autistic skills.

And we're we're going to have people who you know donate videos and donate time and it's it's gonna be this massive repository where people can share experience like how to get through you know productivity and how to maintain yourself at work how to maintain energy regulation.

Learning about introception learning about proproception learning about um autistic sexuality learning about all these topics that you won't find elsewhere because you need autistic people to learn from so we're we're recruiting so many autistic creators.

So many autistic entertainers so many autistic people to make enjoyable creative content very much inspired by like Sesame Street because like the Mind's Mind Sesame Street so autistic.

Yes but uh we we wanna make this giant repository to help people learn how to be more effectively autistic and I think it's gonna be a great great project and I'm very very excited for I love that.

And what it made me think of uh so many of the letters we get from you guys are people who have kids or partners that are autistic and you are not and I think just even listening to this episode on productivity and realizing oh.

I've been expecting my daughter to do this or I've been expecting my husband to do it this way like I keep suggesting to him why don't you just think of yourself as a non smoker or whatever it is that hasn't been working understanding productive.

We're still productive it looks different and so for all of the topics you guys are gonna cover in those courses even if you're not autistic watching those courses and just understanding this essentialist approach that we take to how to do everything.

How we do whatever sex whatever the thing is is the way everyone should do it leaves a lot of people out there's much more diversity and a lot of those ideas just don't work they just don't translate so um even if none of the.

None of the lessons work for for you to make you more productive or whatever the class is on maybe you will learn a way to more generously perceive the people in your life that are autistic neurodiversity that oh yes indeed so here's to neurodiversity here's to you guys.

Uh head over to this episode on Substack to leave us your productivity tips we will share them in a future episode if you loved Atomic Habits it's okay I still love you 29% of you did I think you're wrong but you can show your.

Brushing my teeth now yes meanwhile Matt and I are gonna go make some toothbrush mugs with comics and fonts we'll have that available in our Tea Public Store soon stay tuned bye everybody bye.

Thanks for listening to the Autistic Culture podcast if you like this show you can help other people find it by taking a few minutes to rate and review on Spotify or Apple Podcasts you can find out more about writing your book with me at difference press.com that's difference d I F F E R E N.

C e press p R e s s dot com or getting a psychological evaluation or consult with me at w w w dot Matt Lowry L p p.com that's m a t t Matt Lowry L o W R y L P P as in licensed Psychological practitioner.com.

We hope you enjoyed today's episode and remember no one ever changed the world by being like everyone else special thanks to our Content Manager River Robbins and Aaron Stoner our producer for making us look and sound good

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2 thoughts on “Ep 38 Productivity

  1. Wow! I luxuriate in how you broke this down b/c the book rubbed me the shocking plan. My brother who is a domestic abuser, bully & addict realizing it was as soon as the bees knees. πŸ™„So truly I mediate you might perchance perchance also salvage the premise of why he liked it plus he hasn’t modified in his abusive programs in direction of participants. It’s so simply to hear for americans all perceive & luxuriate in the background knowledge of neuroscience & psychology. πŸ™Œ

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