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Five things I wish people knew about ADHD

Guest blog by Guy Walsh - what he wishes people knew about ADHD

As someone who found out he had ADHD aged 41, I’ve spent my life trying to live as a neurotypical and wondering why the advice given by society has never worked for me.

Because of this, people with ADHD often feel like they are failing. I guarantee that if you find it frustrating working with a person with ADHD, they are finding it three times more frustrating!

With that in mind, here are five things I wish were more understood about people with ADHD. One note: every person with ADHD is different. These may not apply to everyone with ADHD. As with any individual, make sure you talk to them about their personal needs and never make assumptions. 

We need to know why

If you ask us to do something, you’ll need to explain why. We’re not being obstructive; it helps us understand the bigger picture. We have an insatiable need for understanding, and by giving us this information, you will also allow us to work out alternative routes to the goal – which may well help you improve your processes.

Our working methods are not the same as yours

We don’t work in a linear fashion. A motivated neurotypical person, given a task and a deadline, will work steadily on the task until the deadline approaches.

People with ADHD can often seem to be procrastinating. Truth be told, sometimes we are. But more likely is that we’re using this time to work out a path to the goal in our heads.

This can manifest in the form of the person seemingly “not working”—spending time away from our desks, browsing on our phones, and making infinite cups of tea. As crazy as it may seem to a neurotypical person, this is part of our process. Most of us don’t understand why (oh, the irony!), but as long as this process isn’t interrupted, I promise you that we will get it done!

We may also need very specific working conditions. Some will need silence and space, others will prefer to have background noise and people around them. Providing the correct working environment will optimise our ability to work productively.

We need a deadline

In part because of our working methods, we always need a deadline. I finished writing one of my stand-up shows literally 20 minutes before I took to the stage to perform. This is standard for me.

A task without a hard deadline will never be completed. A soft deadline (“just get it to me when you’re ready”) isn’t a deadline. It’s optional.

This isn’t a conscious thought for us; it just happens. We find it as frustrating as you. Give us a deadline and some accountability, and you’ll get a finished product.

We’re not being lazy

People with ADHD are motivated by four factors: interest, challenge, novelty and urgency. If the task you’ve given us isn’t interesting or novel to us, then even if it’s challenging, the only motivating factor is urgency – hence the need for a deadline.

We’re generally not motivated by money or targets. I’m someone with a strong sense of responsibility towards others, and this can be either a motivating factor (if I’m interested in what I’m doing and/or the end goal) or a cause of stress and anxiety if I’m not.

Either way, we’re not being lazy—we suffer from something called executive dysfunction, which means that our brains will not allow us to do something if we’re not motivated by at least one of the four factors.

We can solve problems before you’ve even noticed them

Our biggest strength is that we can see into the future. We have this seemingly psychic ability to foresee bumps in road maps and to predict problems well before they occur. Rather than dismissing our concerns as negativity, a better idea is to talk these concerns through with us to a) make sure that we have a full understanding of the project in hand and b) help us come up with workarounds for these issues.

Guy Walsh is a neurodivergent multipotentialite and an empathetic distributor and is available to speak at events. Find out more at

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What are your big marketing topics?

Does the phrase ‘content marketing strategy’ bring you out in a cold sweat? Yeah, me too and I write the content! It’s easy to overcomplicate things, but marketing only needs to tell people who you are, what you do and how that helps them. In practice it can be a bit more complex than that. So let’s make it easier. Thinking about your marketing foundations as the big topics helps you work out what you want to say.

Here are my building blocks for your big marketing topics

Why do your big marketing topics matter?

When I first started writing for a living my marketing had lots of useful tips and information about different types of marketing, but very little about how my services helped my clients. Working out what your big topics are helps you focus on what you do and how you help your customers. When your offer it clear your customers know what they’re going to get, so it makes it much easier for people to say “yes, I need that” and contact you to get started.

What products and services do you offer?

Your marketing can talk about different facets of the services and products you offer. For example, I might write about blogging, article writing, email marketing or website content. They’re all services I offer and my marketing can help people understand how they work.

You might have various products with different benefits. Identifying what they are or what groups they fall into helps you work out all the different subject areas you can talk about in your marketing.

Who are you?

I know you know who you are, but what do you stand for? What are your values? Think about the knowledge you’ve picked up along the way, the experience you’ve gained or how your story might resonate with your customers.

Sharing your stories can be a fantastic form of content in itself. However, you can talk about your values and share your experience in many different ways so getting clear on the fundamentals can make your writing better.

What do you want to offer?

You might look at your list of products or services and realise that while you could offer all of them, some of them leave you cold. Getting everything down on paper can help you create content but it also lets you review your business and what you want to offer. You might decide to offer a service if people ask but not include it in your marketing.

If it won’t light you up to offer the service or talk about the product, leave it out of your marketing.

What do your customers want?

Giving your customers what they want doesn’t mean offering services or selling products that you don’t want to. However, it is worth considering what they want or need that you can provide. For example, they might be overwhelmed because they’ve got too much to do and not enough time. They might have a problem that you can solve. Some of the benefits you offer could be tangible while others will be emotional. Think about who your customers are and how you help them.

I don’t do marketing strategy, but once you have a plan I can write the words that help you bring it to life. Book a call here and let’s have a chat about how that could work.