Working with me: what my neurodivergent brain means for our work together

If we’re working together, chances are you already know that I’m neurodivergent. I talk about it often, both with my clients and in my online presence. It’s important for both of us that you know what that means for our work together, so I’ve put together this quick little guide to give you a rundown of:

  • The strengths my brain brings to a project
  • My communication style
  • Your communication style
  • How to get the most out of our work together
  • Some boundaries I put in place with all of my clients

My particular combination is autism + ADHD.

I’m autistic and ADHD. Here’s what that means for our work together.

I focus on both big picture and little details (all of the time)

  • my brain automatically plans multiple steps ahead on any given project
  • I don’t really do “isolated” work. Everything is about how all of the dots connect together. Am I writing your website copy? Cool, tell me how you use social media (I promise, it genuinely is relevant)
  • because copy and design are so intertwined, I will always include content design and formatting suggestions in copy documents
  • my pattern recognition skills are top-tier. I can usually figure out why your shit isn’t working (even if it’s not in my specific area of content and SEO)
  • I am hard-wired to notice inconsistency
  • this means I will correct typos in briefing documents, root through your website and make sure all of your headings are in the same case, etc.

Please know it’s never a judgement, simply me wanting to make everything perfect because that helps me focus

My communication style

We are going to communicate almost exclusively through calls and emails. So it’s important that you know what to expect.

  • when I get excited about stuff, I speak very quickly and can go off track
  • you are welcome to politely interrupt me and ask me to get back on track
  • my emails are long, contain all of the information in one go, and are very clearly structured
  • I look somewhere between bored as fuck and really angry when I’m concentrating. If this happens on a call, it’s usually because I’m taking notes or nosying around your website
  • if you hear clicking on a call, I have a fidget toy in my hands. It helps me focus

And yes, I can focus on both at the same time.

Your communication style

This is what I need from you for us to work together effectively.

  • I will take what you say at face value. Being tentative or only implying what you need from me means you may not get what you need from me
  • I need you to mean what you say and say what you mean
  • You will get the best out of me if your communication is clear, direct, and (ideally) well formatted

Non-negotiables and boundaries

This is the most important part of us working together.

  • you will never get my phone number
  • if it’s not written in the contract, it is not included in the project agreement
  • I’m always happy to add more things in and will quote for these separately
  • if you aren’t willing to sign a contract, we can’t work together
  • calls are pre-booked and pre-agreed by all parties. I do not “jump on a quick call”
  • I will always have my camera on at the start of a meeting so you can see I am in fact a real person but may not be able to keep it on as it requires a high level of masking
  • if you micromanage me, I will mentally withdraw from our project. The work will still get done but it will be far from my best. This is not out of pettiness, it is because micromanagement causes me a very high level of stress and makes it difficult for me to engage with the work
  • I never share live documents with people. Sometimes I’ll work on something steadily for 4 days, sometimes I’ll get the whole thing done in 4 hours of hyperfocus
  • (this is also why I charge per output/project not per hour)

If you have any Qs about any of this, I’m always happy to answer them.

*Please note that this is my specific experience with ADHD and autism. Every neurodivergent person’s experience is unique. Please do not assume others will have the same accommodations, boundaries, or requirements as me.

Wanna learn more about working with neurodivergent folks?

If you want to learn more about working with neurodivergent folks, either in a freelance capacity or our own employees, I have some recommendations for you.

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