Asperger's

The “Why” Of The List Doesn’t Matter

Different things work for different people. For so long I’ve been overwhelmed with choice when trying to do or learn something. There’s always other things, other tools, other processes. As a result, I’ve been a chronic procrastinator.

My brain always looks to the “why” of things. If I can’t figure that out, my instinct is to dismiss it. I can’t just accept something I don’t understand.

As part of my Asperger’s revelation I’ve been looking at what others do and don’t do; what helps or hinders them.

One of these things is to-do lists. I’ve never gotten on with them in the past. I’ve always thought they were just an additional layer that surely adds to the task list. Over the last few days I’ve given them more time, and they seem to be making me productive.

My understanding of “why” comes down to the fact that I have millions of thoughts, all randomly trying to pull me in different directions. This constant distraction is problematic. It’s additionally problematic when I’m never starting anything because I know it’s quite involved and I will be distracted. It is inevitable.

With a to-do list app on my phone I can release that idea by acknowledging it, adding it as a note, then carrying on. I know I have a small number of items on the list that I can chip away at wherever I am.

Where I used to let the choice of tools and processes paralyse me, I have now broken the “process” down and solved it.

  • ToDo App (to easily add, edit and manage items)
  • Simple Notepad (almost everything I do is text based, so this is any easy, multiple text file manager)
  • WordPress (every post so far has been written on the app)

So far, this process has allowed me to tweak some of the blog, as well as writing three blog posts in a few days. It’s very likely that all of that would be left undone otherwise.

My whole outlook has been challenged since the Asperger’s revelation. That now includes the concept that if something seems to help and I don’t understand why, I now try to just go with it, on the logic that I’ll figure out why eventually.

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Asperger's

My “Coming Out” Post

As an intensely private person I never thought I’d be blogging about this subject, but here I am. Around a month ago I came to a revelation. I have Asperger’s Syndrome. This has left me reeling to say the least. It’s like discovering I’ve not been alone all my life. So many events in my life suddenly make sense.

So far I’m self diagnosed. I have started the process to be professionally diagnosed. I already know the results.

I’ve always said that to truly deal with any problem (for want of a better word) you have to first see it for what it is; not what you’d prefer it to be.

I don’t see this as a bad thing. I can do some things better than many. I simply have to manage my environment to minimise the things that will push me into the zone. I know myself better now than most people will ever know themselves.

I now know that the work environment I am in is incompatible with me. I work in a busy call centre. The background ambience lays seige on my brain. Fast moving and agile are not usually terms associated with large companies, Sky are both. The pace of change constantly drains me.

As an employer, I’d recommend them to people who thrive in that type of environment.

I now know that I need a quieter, small company environment. I need a job that plays to my considerable strengths. I am hyper focussed on subjects. I can think many layers deep to see solutions that most people wouldn’t. I love to learn. I learn for fun. I need somewhere I can build knowledge and experience.

The challenge now is to find a compatible job to move to, while avoiding or minimising unemployment. As a result of this revelation my standards have slipped. I hold myself to high standards. I want to treat people right. I am on holiday this week. If I can get my head right, this will hopefully be doable. I’ll know more when I go back. If I can’t do it, the right thing to do will be to resign.

The way things are going, I’m heading for the sack. I’ve simply not been performing up to standard. Sky are excellent in terms of improving their people. In my case it’s the environment being incompatible with me. That’s not going to magically change. Sky have been good to me. They gave me a second life. I’m not going to dishonour that by clinging on if I can’t do the job.

In addition to it being a matter of integrity, if my brain is constantly under seige I have little chance of finding another job. Stepping back to step forward may be the best option.

This blog is therapy in part. Stay tuned.

Duolingo

The Bugcast Does Duolingo

For those who have dabbled but never really grasped Duolingo this post is a guide.

What Is Duolingo?

It’s a free app and site used to learn languages. You do need to join. It uses a blend of verbal and written, multiple choice questions. It’s a framework that you add on the language courses you want to learn. You can have as many as you like, and switch back and forth between them.

Each set of 10 questions counts towards your daily goal. This can be set to 10, 20, 30 or 50. As long as you hit your daily goal between midnight and midnight, your streak is maintained. You can do so much more, but at midnight your daily target is wiped back to 0. You can spread that daily goal over multiple languages or just one. It’s up to you.

Clubs

Duolingo has a free club feature. Each club is focused around a single language. It’s limited to 15 members, and 1 admin. I’ve created a German club. These are private clubs. The codes are not published anywhere. Let me know in Telegram, and I’ll get you the code.

There are no rules to the club’s as such. If there comes a time where there are more people than slots, we’d need to create something along the lines of “last place 3 weeks in a row and you’re out”.

Whoever creates the club is it’s only Admin. If that Admin leaves the club, the Admin role gets passed automatically to the next person who joined.

How To Create A Club

  1. Click on the shield icon on the bottom row
  2. Click “Create A Club”
  3. Name: I opted for “Bugcast Does Germany”
  4. Description: I left this bank
  5. Public: toggle this off
  6. Select any one of the pre-set badges
  7. Create

How To Join A Club

  1. Click on the shield icon
  2. Click “I have a club code”
  3. Enter the code

You can only be a member of one club per language module. When that language is selected, the shield icon is your club stuff. It shows updates, the leader-board etc. It is a closed club, in that you can communicate with others but only the handful of pre-set words or emojis.

How To Leave A Club

  1. Click on the shield icon
  2. At the top, click on “Members”
  3. At the bottom, click “Leave Club”

Why Would You Leave A Club?

I am learning multiple languages. My native tongue is English. I’ve learned Spanish and French. I am currently very advanced in German. These clubs are for people who actively seek to learn that language. Right now, my focus is German. After that I’ll want to keep my hand in with French, German and Spanish. Time will tell as to whether these justify taking a slot in the club or not. If not, I’ll bow out, leaving the slot open for someone more worthy as I concentrate on other languages. I plan to return to Portuguese, Italian and Dutch over time.

My Set Up

I took a lot of trial and error to find this combination. It takes a few minutes to set up, but the results are well worth it. I use Android.

  1. Go to the Play Store and install GBoard
  2. In Settings, go to “Languages & Input”
  3. In “Languages”, add whatever language you’re learning. I have British English (the default), French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch.
  4. In “Spell Checker”, ensure it’s on, and set to use system languages.
  5. In “Virtual Keyboard”, click on “GBoard”
  6. In “Languages” make sure “use system languages” is enabled. Scroll down and you should see the additional languages are enabled.
  7. In “Preferences”, ensure that “Show language switch key” is enabled.

I also remember disabling the default keyboard but I can’t remember how. It was probably in the Virtual Keyboard part of the Preferences. I use GBoard for everything where I have the virtual keyboard. It is customisable, feel free to play with the themes etc. Now look at the SPACE BAR. The little globe icon to the side toggles through each language you have installed. The first two letters on the Space Bar show what language is currently on. There’s also a little keyboard icon on the bottom right. That brings up the menu to switch languages too.

The beauty of this set up, is that the spell checker is language contextual. On the surface the keyboards only look like they’re laid out differently. Hold down one of the keys to see the variants ie accents and acutes.

While the courses are lenient on many of the accents, all you get is a “pay attention to the accents” etc, German isn’t like that. When you need the oomlaat ie “GroB” there is NO other way than to enter that from a proper German input. Hold the S down and it’s the default option above it. It has a “sch” sound when spoken, so that’s why it’s on the S.