AI vs. Marshy

AI versus Marshy #37: ADHD edition

Published 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hello! Welcome to the 37th edition of AI versus Marshy.

This is the newsletter that absorbs the growing deluge of AI news and tools, and synthesises it into a neat and focused summary.

One of the consistent bits of feedback I get from our readers is that they’re always learning something new - success!

This newsletter is quite playful as well, and in the spirit of play we’re going in a more hyper-focused mode this week - because we’re focusing on ADHD.

I’ll cover:

  • A quick primer on what is and why I’m exploring it today
  • Software and tools out there that help with ADHD
  • A 30-day investigation

So let’s make like a stray rocket and blast into this 🚀


A quick primer on ADHD

I’m not even going to breakdown what the acronym spells out because it’s really misleading.

People with ADHD experience some or all of the following:

  • Executive dysfunction
  • Time blindness
  • Hyperfocus
  • Easily distracted
  • More sensitive to sights/sounds/smells
  • Need much more stimulation
  • heaps more

A shortcut for explaining it to a neurotypical person is:

  • Think about how you receive bits of information over the course of your day
  • Boss wants this, a social feed on the way to work, what am I having for lunch today, loved one’s birthday this weekend, Greg has a new puppy etc.
  • And you know how your brain automatically sorts what is important and what isn’t important

Yes, that’s called living every day life Marshy.

Not for someone with ADHD - everything is the same level of interesting, so you’ve got to find other ways to determine what’s important.

Because your brain just doesn’t have that function.

The good news you are programmed to take in a lot of information (at speed), the bad news is if you have no way to channel that you’re going to burn out, get frustrated, have tantrums, etc.

The book ADHD 2.0 calls it a Ferarri brain with bicycle brakes.

But… this newsletter is about AI right?

An idea that won’t go away is the idea of some sort of goal machine that keeps knowledge workers with ADHD on task so they can achieve more.

This idea won’t go away because I am one such worker.

I also understand tech and how it works, and know that hypothetically theres’ better ways to build a solution for this goal than what already exists.

Software to date has been very task list-focused and kind of crumby.

AI can be used better in solving for this, and it’s something I want to investigate, so I had a look at what’s out there…

AI tools and ADHD

Let’s get ChatGPT out of the way first.

It’s helpful for finding the answers to things and you can ask in your own words.

As regular readers of this newsletter will know - it’s referenced a lot and with good reason - it’s a powerful tool.

It doesn’t really solve the fact that you’ve got to jump out of the window and start doing things though, so let’s leave it there.

Check it out.

Chunking down tasks is a nightmare for people with ADHD. A task like “write proposal for client” could become a 8-day exercise in procrastinating as you struggle to picture/think how to move it forward with a small and actionable step.

(I ah, swear that’s not me experiencing this right now - it’s just a random example)

So I can key in - write proposal for client and voila:

It breaks down the task into smaller to-dos.

But if I get stuck I can click on one and get even more detail:

The tool is free, written by an engineer building something much bigger, and also do time estimation (another thing people with ADHD struggle with).

Find out more about it here.

This is a tool that sits with you on your phone and tracks your engagement over time. Available on Android and will prevent you from drifting over time with a combination of AI-asssited interruptions, prompts, and goal tracking.

I like the concept - and really hate the page’s design - it’s clearly done by someone who has never designed a clear and compelling message and has let AI (and personal taste) do it all.

A 30-day challenge

In startup world, they talk about problem discovery and investigating it first - before jumping into solutions.

So I’ve been interviewing other knowledge workers about their challenges with ADHD and working and getting to learn so many weird and wonderful things.

I think there’s a better way to do this so started investigating this week and will see where I land in a month’s time.

I’ve got some interesting assumptions and ideas I want to test, for example - Hume AI tracks your emotional engagement over time, and was mentioned in an earlier newsletter.

Could it be used for tracking your work?

I’ll keep you posted on how things go!

I’m thinking this could either pick up steam or the 30-day format could be a good way to testing things with AI to see if things of value can be created.

Remember - person and machine is far better than just machine.
We’ve got this! 💪


P.S. Have fun with the format? Want to see more directed AI challenges? Happy to do done ONE free 30-day challenge down to someone if they have a good challenge they're trying to solve. Throw down the gauntlet, email me, and let's dance 🕺

AI vs. Marshy

by Luke "Marshy" Marshall

Growth marketer meets biggest technological advancement in our lives. Learn about AI in a way that doesn't overwhelm. Add a splash of strap yourself in and be prepared.

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