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Episode 32: Evie Kennedy Episode 32

Episode 32: Evie Kennedy

· 42:25

Welcome to episode #32 Our guest today is Evie Kennedy today. 

Evie Kennedy is a Service Designer who works to drive equity and accessibility in health, disability and hardship public services. Evie is completing her Master’s degree in Health Policy with a focus on public mental health and health equity. Late diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Combined ADHD, Evie is also an Olympic Weightlifting coach and an advocate for both the physical and mental health and wellbeing of neurodivergent people. She is passionate about exercising for your brain, trauma-informed coaching and creating safe, inclusive sporting communities.

Welcome to the show Evie!


  1. JN: Can you tell us about your experience with neurodiversity? When did you realise that you weren’t neurotypical? What challenges did you face? What is it like now?
    1. Always had feeling of “a little bit different”
      1. Hyper verbal
      2. Hyper literate
    2. Got diagnosed when
      1. Easy to mask during school
      2. Entering workforce
        1. A lot of things out of your control
          1. E.g. bright office light
        2. Tried to manage things with being really productive
          1. Girl boss books
          2. When this didn’t solve things, the next step was to get a diagnosis.
            1. Walked in to the psych with a power point presentation
            2. And a spreadsheet
          3. Had to see multiple psychs
          4. It was a surprise that she was diagnosed with Autism
            1. So many questions
              1. How does it present in a woman?
              2. Does this explain why it takes so long to recover from social situations?
      3. Thought she was anxious
      4. Transitioning to university
    3. Journal of behavioural observations of other people
    4. Younger brother diagnosed with adhd - reference point for ADHD - couldn’t possibly be her
    5. Autistic burnout in last year
    6. Post diagnosis
      1. Being kinder to herself
      2. Realising sensory overload
        1. Prevents meltdowns
        2. Knowing how to recharge
        3. Being ok to schedule quiet time
          1. Stigma around being a woman that doesn’t wanting to be social
      3. Tough presenting the way she does
        1. Because people think someone with adhd and autism presents a certain way.
  2. JC: What "work" projects are you concentrating on?
    1. Service Designer for NSW government in Fines/Hardship space. Focused on designing for safety
      1. Current project: pathway for people who are experiencing financial abuse
        1. Working with Domestic violence experts and police
      2. Intersection between service design and policy
    2. Other job: Olympic weightlifting coach
      1. Snatch/clean and jerk
      2. Competing for 6 years
      3. Doesn’t feel like work - physical stuff is fun
      4. Passionate about making sport more accessible
      5. Weightlifting perfect for autistic people:
        1. Solo
        2. Don’t have to touch anyone
        3. Clear progression
        4. Barbells noise = stim
        5. Active meditation
    3. Study: Masters in Health Policy
  3. JN: How about the rest of the time? What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
    1. I think we’ve covered this - can move on to morn
  4. JC: What does your morning routine look like and how has it evolved over time?
    1. Office routine:
      1. Wake up with existential dread
      2. Overstimulated on train
      3. Get home and meltdown
      4. ^ not always that bad but that’s what it felt like
    2. Wake up:
      1. ADHD brain fog
      2. Low dopamine morning (instead of doomscrolling)
      3. Protein shake
      4. Feed dog + bird
        1. Anchoring to have an obligation to help something else
      5. Four shots of coffee
        1. Early morning big mug of coffee (different mugs for different times of day)
      6. Samefood breakfast
      7. Start work at 8am (90 minutes of deep work before first meeting at 9.30)
      8. Outfit already organised the night before (capsule wardrobe)
        1. Used to have months worth of clothing 
  6. JN: What do you do to optimise productivity during your working hours?
    1. Arbitrary rules
      1. Timeboxing
        1. “You have 2 hours to do this, and then you have to stop …”
        2. Noise cancelling earphones
        3. Music
    2. Break tasks into smaller goals
    3. Early starts
  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. Masking: takes too much mental energy “Am I making enough eye contact?”
    2. Rumination
  8. JN: How do you switch off at night?
    1. Favourite routine
      1. 1 hour before bed
        1. No ceiling lights
          1. Lava lamp
        2. Plays Stardew valley
          1. Helps her sleep fine.
        3. “No more talking” time - 2hrs before bed
  9. JC: What resources (books, philosophies, apps, sensory toys) do you find most helpful for productivity and habit formation?
    1. Fidget toys (squishy is best)
      1. Alternative to biting inside of cheek or scratching nail cuticles
    2. Books:
      1. Chloe Hayden - Heartbreak High autistic actor
        1. Don’t hide special interests
    3. Noise cancelling headphones
  10. JN: Where can people connect with you or find your work?
    1. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/evie-kennedy/ 
    2. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eviekennedy__/
  11. JC: Do you have any final words or asks for our audience?
    1. We all deserve to feel comfortable to feel safe and seen
    2. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than
    3. World needs people who give a shit rather than people trying to conform - neurodivergent people have a special place to play in creating change for that reason


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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