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ADHD & Technology: Brain Hacks and Upgrades

ADHD & Technology: Brain Hacks and Upgrades

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Mike Cavaliere discusses techniques and strategies for both managing distraction and memory challenges, as well as regular maintenance for our brain for optimal performance. He also talks about methods that can actually improve one's brain.

Mike Cavaliere discusses techniques and strategies for both managing distraction and memory challenges, as well as regular maintenance for our brain for optimal performance. He also talks about methods that can actually improve one's brain.

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ADHD & Technology: Brain Hacks and Upgrades

  1. 1. ADHD & Technology by Mike Cavaliere http://adhdtechies.com Brain Hacks & Upgrades
  2. 2. Who are you? Questions for the audience
  3. 3. My Story
  4. 4. Your Brain Can Improve. …in a variety of ways. …a lot.
  5. 5. Brain-Change Stories
  6. 6. Brain-Change Stories Extreme learning disabilities gone Crippling stroke recovery Blindness cured Parkinson’s
  7. 7. Normal guy acquires superhuman memory
  8. 8. Some Background and terminology.
  9. 9. “ADHD” === “ADD” Different terms, same condition
  10. 10. Real vs Perceived ADHD “ADHD is imaginary.” “ADHD is created by our society/technology.” “Everyone has ADHD nowadays.”
  11. 11. ADHD is a Real Condition Not everyone really has it. The brains of ADHD people are different.
  12. 12. Hacks vs. Upgrades
  13. 13. • A band-aid • A workaround • An indirect or temporary solution • a physical hardware change • a stable software improvement “Hack” “Upgrade”
  14. 14. • Quick results • Cheap • E.g., meds, workspace changes, software tools • Con: dependencies • Con: limited effectiveness • Con: effects not automatic • Long-term / permanent(?) results • Potential effect is large • Automatic • E.g., neurofeedback, Brain Gym, hard-core meditation • Con: time consuming • Con: sometimes costly • Con: requires discipline “Brain Hack” “Brain Upgrade”
  15. 15. How to Approach Brain Improvement
  16. 16. Your Brain is a Startup. experiment, measure, repeat.
  17. 17. Treat everything as experiment Measure before & after Observe gradual changes Your Brain is a Startup.
  18. 18. Macro Measurements Intelligence tests Functional abilities tests (audio, visual, etc) High-level self-observation
  19. 19. Micro Measurements Periodic self-rating Apps?
  20. 20. Some Brain Hacks
  21. 21. Hacking Attention by reducing distraction
  22. 22. Types of Distraction Visual Auditory Social Digital Internal
  23. 23. Visual Distraction Motion Disorganization / workspace design description
  24. 24. Visual Distraction Organize desktop Face away from movement Visual barrier hacks
  25. 25. Auditory Distraction Noisy environments Coworkers talking Music w/vocals description
  26. 26. Auditory Distraction Noise-cancelling headphones No vocals Binaural beats noisli.com hacks
  27. 27. Social Distraction Coworkers Family / pets (when working from home) Phone calls description
  28. 28. Social Distraction Do not disturb mode Set expectations Headphones rule “No distractions” time blocks Remote work days hacks
  29. 29. Digital Distraction Push notifs, desktop notifs App sound effects Social media, hacker news, etc description
  30. 30. Digital Distraction Do not disturb Social media-blocking apps When in doubt, close all apps hacks
  31. 31. Internal Distraction Daydreaming Worrying Sensations (itching, vibration, etc) description
  32. 32. Internal Distraction No hacks :-/ Mindfulness works wonders
  33. 33. Hacking Memory
  34. 34. Let the Cloud do the Remembering Make everything digital & automatic
  35. 35. Files Code Everything Else
  36. 36. Organization is Key Have a system (Folder structure / Tagging conventions) Know the tool (Advanced search / Keyboard shortcuts) Review & refactor
  37. 37. Hacking Learning and skill building
  38. 38. Spaced Repetition
  39. 39. Mental Practice
  40. 40. Cardio! …and full-body movement
  41. 41. My Brain Upgrades Experiments & results
  42. 42. Vipassana Meditation • 10 days of silence • Immersive practice • Impulse control • Mindfulness • 100% free! http://dhamma.org
  43. 43. Brain Gym • Nervous system re-training
 (primitive reflexes) • Anxiety reduction • Better control of eyes / body • Communication ability • Less ticklish, less prone to startling
  44. 44. Interactive Metronome • Handheld sensor w/timing correction • Improved sense of time • Improved quantity estimation
  45. 45. Brain Games • Memory & focus improvements • Best when combined with exercise, other methods
  46. 46. Neurofeedback • Brain-wave headset • Movie stops when you don’t focus • Concentrate to start it again
  47. 47. Integrated Listening (ILS) • Mozart & bone-conduction headphones • Improved visual learning ability (significantly) • Coordination improvements • Increased flow (focus) states
  48. 48. Foundations for brain development
  49. 49. Foundations Sleep Nutrition Exercise *Mental state
  50. 50. Sleep 101 • Light / Sound • Movement • Alcohol / Caffeine • Technology • Sunlight (in daytime) • Exercise (in daytime) • White noise 
 (at bedtime, for some) Decrease (at bedtime): Increase:
  51. 51. Nutrition 101 Less sugar / artificial ingredients More colorful vegetables High protein, low carb Elimination diets
  52. 52. Exercise 101 Cardio + full-body movement 30-45min / day is ideal 10 min/day is better than 2 hours/week
  53. 53. Mental State 101 Stress kills Toxic personalities too
  54. 54. Happiness Fundamentals Relationships Personal development Kindness Purpose *Play http://thehappymovie.com
  55. 55. Happiness Fundamentals Fun is good for your brain!
  56. 56. Thanks for listening! ADHDTechies.com Mike Cavaliere mike@mikecavaliere.com

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