Using visual aids

How visual aids make work “work” for me

Visual aids free up valuable computing space in my brain. They keep the mental work on the outside. They stop me from running things through over and over. And over.

Before my diagnosis, I felt like certain things weren’t “for me”… Fidget toys, weighted blankets, visual timetables, all sorts of things.

Finding out I am autistic was like receiving permission to do all sorts of things I hadn’t even realised I needed.

Now, things look different. They feel different. And I am somewhat in control of my anxiety levels for the first time in my life. I’m going to share exactly how I use visual aids, and how this helps me at work. These will be split into two categories:

1.  Visual aids that help manage my overall energy levels: these help me get to a lower “baseline” level of anxiety, so I am more able to cope with work obligations in general, which makes everything more sustainable

2.  Visual aids that help me complete work: specifically targeted at helping me feel in control of my workload and clear about what tasks I need to do

1.  Visual aids that help manage my overall energy levels

Day of the week. I write the day of the week on a whiteboard each morning. It helps orientate me. When I don’t have this, I tend to spend a lot of time working out what day it is and what is coming up.

Visual schedule so I know when I need to add in some rest. Also on a whiteboard, I write out my main activities for that day. These are on colour-coded magnetic whiteboard strips. Anything social is on a strip with a yellow border. When I see a very “yellow” day ahead of me, I think about whether I have the energy to do it all. If not, I might delay or cancel something. And regardless I will schedule some extra rest during the day or soon after.