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Episode 28: Alisdair Gurling Episode 28

Episode 28: Alisdair Gurling

· 41:59

Welcome to episode #28 We’re thrilled to be joined by Alisdair Gurling today.

Alisdair is a PhD candidate at Monash University’s Emerging Technologies Research Lab where he investigates personalized assistive technology to help neurodivergent students. Outside his research, Alisdair works as a learning designer for Nextia designing assistive technology for people with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other conditions. A man of many talents, he also does freelance web design.

Welcome to the show Alisdair!

  1. JN: Can you tell us about your experience with neurodiversity? When did you realize that you weren’t neurotypical? What challenges did you face? What is it like now?
    1. Feels lucky
      1. To be diagnosed at this time
        1. In the past it would have been tougher
      2. In-depth discovery
      3. Family was proactive
        1. Siblings had learning difficulties.
        2. How to best adapt the differences between neurotypical and neurodivergent.
          1. Was the only kid 
            1. with a laptop.
            2. One of the first kids in the UK to be able to speak their exam (speech to text)
            3. Good timing.
  2. JC: What "work" projects are you concentrating on?
    1. Research into strategies for personalizing assistive technology for neurodivergent people 
      1. Extending consciousness into technology: singularity
      2. Digital prosthetics
      3. Alternate learning strategies
        1. brute forcing
          1. Spend 4hrs reading
        2. Leapfrog the problem
          1. Speech-to-text instead of handwriting
          2. Listen to audiobooks instead of reading
            1. Speechify
            2. Joey uses @Voice
          3. Emphasizing: Literate vs literary
            1. Learning design
  3. JN: How about the rest of the time? What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
    1. Reading
      1. Initially struggled to read
      2. Being able to read (at 8-10) was startling
      3. Mainly listens to audiobooks
        1. Wide variety
          1. Philosophy
      4. Public speaking
        1. Good for advocating for himself.
  4. JC: What does your morning routine look like and how has it evolved over time?
    1. No tech that interfaces with the outside world
    2. Go to Yoga studio (body doubling) - 1hr
      1. Nice and calming
      2. ClassPass
      3. Encourages trying it
        1. Find a studio that fits the vibe.
  5. JN: What do you do to optimize productivity during your working hours?
    1. Body double with colleagues
    2. Tries a bunch of different strategies
      1. But make sure it’s worth the jump (e.g. the learning curve).
    3. Leapfrogging
      1. Notion - locks in thoughts.
      2. Speech-to-text (otter).
        1. Allows
          1. Searchability (later)
          2. Presence (in the moment)
        2. Purpose-built AI notetaking devices (Not used yet)
      3. Text-to-speech.
    4. Understand what’s pulling you out of your work
      1. Services that sync your music with your heart rate - https://endel.io/
      2. And solve each problem until you get well-focused.
      3. Brain FM
  7. JC: What is one habit you'd like to remove from your life (either a bad habit or one that takes up too much time)?
    1. Consuming so much news
      1. Following news in three countries (UK, US, AU).
      2. Often negative, problems without solutions.
    2. Future Crunch
  8. JN: How do you switch off at night?
    1. Morning routine + evening routine are tightly linked - one big block
    2. Mix it up
    3. After dinner
      1. Goes for a walk
        1. Helps to unpack ideas.
        2. Seals the day
          1. No more external input
          2. Just introspection
  9. JC: What resources (books, philosophies, apps, academic theories, sensory toys) do you find most helpful for productivity and habit formation?
    1. Mediterranean diet
    2. Speechify
    3. Endol - procedural music
    4. Internal vs external locus of control (internal is better)
      1. Don’t use ADHD diagnosis as a limiting belief
    5. Use novelty seeking wisely
    6. Spectrum vs binary
    7. Mixture of Purpose is best for motivation
      1. Skill/mastery
      2. Curiosity
      3. Community
      4. Obligation
  10. JN: Where can people connect with you or find your work?
    1. https://www.alisdairgurling.com/
  11. JC: Do you have any final words or asks for our audience?
    1. Avoid absolutes - sit in the nuance

Joey’s creativity course


Listen to Focus and Chill - productivity tactics for AuDHDers and other neurodivergent folks using one of many popular podcasting apps or directories.

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