Sharon Pope: Building Tiny Habits with ADHD

Episode 12

September 20, 2022

This is episode 12, and today I'm talking with Sharon Pope. Sharon is the co-founder and CEO of Shelpful, the instant accountability service that pairs you with a real human buddy to help you build good habits. She's also a certified habit coach and was previously a startup advisor at Y Combinator. Today, we talk about how she started a company to solve her own problem and how that contributed to her own ADHD diagnosis story.

Show Notes


Sharon Pope


Llama Life

Links and show notes:


Sharon Pope: I kind of just thought I sucked. Like I think I just thought I sucked at life and was bad at doing things like making dentist appointments and paying a bill and making a to-do list, and drinking water, and taking care of myself, exercising. Like I just kind of thought I sucked at life.

Jesse: Hey, my name is Jesse J. Anderson, host of the ADHD Nerds podcast. The show where we talk about living with ADHD, and have some fun along the way.

This is episode 12, and today I'm talking with Sharon Pope. Sharon is the co-founder and CEO of Shelpful, the instant accountability service that pairs you with a real human buddy to help you build good habits. She's also a certified habit coach and was previously a startup advisor at Y Combinator.

Today, we talk about how she started a company to solve her own problem and how that contributed to her own ADHD diagnosis story.

But first I'd like to thank our sponsor, Llama Life. Say goodbye to never-ending lists and hello to daily bliss. Llama Life is a perfect tool for managing [00:01:00] time boxed working sessions. You can whiz through your monstrous to do list, finish your work on time, and get the things done that you said you would do. To get your free trial, go to that's L L A M A and get started today. And you can save 20% by using the coupon code JESSELLAMA20. That's J E S S E L L A M A 2 0. Now let's get to the show.

Jesse J. Anderson: Sharon. It is great to have you here today.

Sharon Pope: Thank you, Jesse.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah. So, uh, I'd love to start the show hearing about your history with ADHD. Like how'd you find out that you had it? What was it like growing up with ADHD. All of those things.

Sharon Pope: Yeah, so I have, uh, one of those late in life stories. So, um, I guess kind of starting from my early childhood, I, I have a brother who was diagnosed with ADD I guess was called at the time. Cuz he was kind of that hyperactive kid in class. And so he had that and I, so I was aware of the, I was aware of this condition. But I, um, kind of grew up being, I was fairly good in school and I would kind of do well on tests, but [00:02:00] I, homework was always hard for me.

Um, my friend joked, like she would do my homework for me and she she'd cheat off me on the test kind of situation. Not that we actually did, but you know what I mean? Like we kind that was the dynamic that plagued me through schooling. I think college was easier for me because it was more test focused and less homework focused.

So I could kind of, I could cram and get it done, but there were multiple times. So in college, um, and after college where I would go to a doctor and say, I feel like I can't start things. I feel like there's blocks that are stopping me from doing things. My brother had ADD, do you think I have this? Like I was genuinely asking that question.

And it was just, it was just always a no. It was, um, you know, it's anxiety or they would really follow up with, well, you're getting, sounds like you're doing okay in school. You wouldn't be, if you had this. Um, sounds like you're doing well at work, you wouldn't be if you had this. And, and I think that I was just, you know, creating systems that helped me cope with it. But the, the fact is, is, you know, in college, I survived. In work, I really [00:03:00] thrived, cause I went into an industry where it was very compatible with ADHD. I worked at a PR agency, so it's basically like balls are flying at you and you're catching 'em and hitting 'em. You don't really have to start things as much. You just are reacting.

Jesse J. Anderson: That chaos. I think we, we thrive in that chaos a lot of the time.

Sharon Pope: Absolutely. And I think that It was kind of my superpower. It was what allowed me to be successful. Um, but of course the same, it was the same reason why doctors argued that I didn't have ADD, ADHD.

And so I kind of just thought I sucked. Like I think I just thought I sucked at life and was bad at doing things like making dentist appointments and paying a bill and making a to-do list, and drinking water, and taking care of myself, exercising. Like I just kind of thought I sucked at life.

Um, that was just how I kind of branded myself to me. And, you know, fast forward a lot of years, sadly. Still, you know, did great at work. And, had just had, had my second kid and went back from maternity leave and just had this moment of like, staring at myself in the mirror at night, [00:04:00] judging myself for once again, not getting anything done for me.

Yet working, you know, 14 hours and, you know, got everything done for the kids.

And I, so I actually decided to start a company like I, my solution. And I, you actually said something recently on one of your other episodes, which I've said almost the exact quote where I say, I'd rather start a company than pay my dentist bill. I think you said something similar.

And I, I, really just felt like there wasn't enough support. I felt like I needed, I needed someone else to give a crap if I stepped outside that day. Um, and so I started this company, called Shelpful. Rhymes with helpful has an S in front. That was my midnight domain buy.

It was like $30. And my first name, Sharon, shh, helpful. There you go.

And started with my, my, I wrote my friend. I like, I kind of pulled her. She, she pushed me off the cliff and I pulled her with me kind of thing. So we just started it and just thinking, oh, would somebody else have this, these problems?

Would [00:05:00] somebody else sign up for this? And we had to switch to a wait list over night, after launching it on a few Facebook groups. And we had people sign up and they were messaging me saying, this is perfect for me because I have ADHD.

And I was like, hmm. And we got multiple messages of this kind of little company that we're trying to just get one paying customer. And, you know, somewhat flooded within this group is, are folks with ADHD. And I was like, hmm, I'm solving my own problem. My problem is their problem. I probably should take another look at this.

So it was kind of a, so I started a company to solve my own problem. And then my own customers told me I have ADHD.

Jesse J. Anderson: I feel like I hear that story a lot. I've seen there's there's been like studies that show like people that are entrepreneurs, the, the percentage of them that have ADHD is higher than the general population, which makes a lot of sense to me. I think a lot of people with ADHD, run into those struggles in life.

And then eventually like the solution is like, well, I'm just gonna create my own thing [00:06:00] because it doesn't exist out there. And I, yeah, I, I have the creativity to come up with my own solution because I've had to do it my whole life. Because the other things aren't working for me. So I have to make these other ways, that do work with my brain.

And then, yeah, I feel like I've heard that same story a lot where people start something to solve their own problem and then, low and behold. Weird, all my customers seem to have ADHD. Maybe this is worth looking into.

Sharon Pope: Yeah, it was, it was very interesting. I've heard the same and I actually I've worked in startups my whole career. Um, and so I know a lot of entrepreneurs and, I'm not saying that they all have ADHD, but I think that some of the qualities, which I certainly wouldn't paint with that broad brushstroke, but I think that those qualities certainly are true.

And I think also just, I've worked in startups and I think it's been a fit for me because it is such a, it's fast paced, whatever's interesting is what you're working on. You're you're following the growth, right. You're following the, what what's shiny really at a startup. Um, and so it was compatible for me as [00:07:00] well.

Even though I hadn't yet started my own company, I was, I've always worked for founders.

Jesse J. Anderson: So when you kind of had that, you know, final, like again, revelation of like, oh, this really sounds like this is me. Did you go and get an official diagnosis? Like what did that look like?

Sharon Pope: I did.

So I, got in touch with my primary care and kind of, I think I just had my big advocate pants on because I was so sure, like at this point, I, I just, it, like, I had this kind of Hollywood flashback moment of not only all the moments in my life that were ADHD. And I just was saying, I sucked at life. But also the moments that a, a medical provider looked me in the eyes and made me feel crazy for saying that I thought I had this thing. But I was like, I was too good to have it, which I'm using air quotes, which did not, did not gel with how I felt.

And so, yeah, I was, I li I, I do like my current doctor. And so I did feel like she would listen to me. And so, but I was, I kind of had I had a list ready, right. Like I, I had done, I kind of did the fun [00:08:00] ADHD rabbit hole thing, which I've always been very good at, but this time it was on the topic of ADHD.

And I had my like long list of things that, you know, this is something that I deal with. This is something that happens with me. So that it wasn't, I wasn't gonna get brushed off again. Um, and she didn't even try to. So she kind of gave me, she gave me a little quiz. And then referred me out to, to a provider to get a diagnosis, which I did.

Jesse J. Anderson: Right, right. That's so, uh, that's, that's great that you finally got it. And it's so frustrating hearing your history of like, you actually went and like were specifically saying, and your brother had it, it just seems, it's so frustrating that, and I've heard that story time and time again. Where people, especially women get like, oh no, it's just anxiety or it's just depression or it's some other thing.

I hear that story all the time.

Sharon Pope: I, I definitely have now as well. Um, my story is not the only one. And it, it is, it does overindex in women. Um, you hear this story all the time, not just with ADHD, but women in healthcare often [00:09:00] aren't believed. Um, and so it definitely that kind of came crushing down on me as well. That I, as you know, a professional college graduate, like say what you will about anything.

There was no reason why they shouldn't have taking the time to consider what I was asking them.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah. And like you, like you said, when you finally got your diagnosis, it sounded like your doctor, you didn't need it, but I feel like that's what I, I try to prep people for it. Like you need to go in there and don't take no for an answer. Like if you really strongly believe you have ADHD, like you need to prepare to like, almost make your case because yeah.

It's so, so many doctors are just gonna kinda dismiss it outta hand and like one thing I always tell people, try because with ADHD, we have, you know, memory deficits. And like in the moment they might, a doctor might ask to hear what are some examples from childhood that match up for ADHD? And you might not be able to think in the moment, like, I've, I've like you freeze up.

Like, I can't, I can't even remember being a kid anymore. Now that you've asked me when I'm on the spot. So I always try to prep people. Write things down, [00:10:00] like get a notebook to bring, and one of the things write down is examples from childhood that you think sound like ADHD. Things that line up with the symptoms so that you can kind of make your case.

Cuz there's some doctors they'll just hear like, oh, you can't think of a story from your childhood? Done. Like I'm not gonna diagnose you, like you're out.

Sharon Pope: Yeah. I you're, you're, that's very good advice to give that advice. And I also, I think if someone's feeling conflicted and not, I guess I'll say two things to other things about that. the reason to get a diagnosis isn't to get medication or anything. It honestly is for me, has been kind of a journey of forgiveness.

And self discovery. And so I would say the first step to that is making that list that Jesse just said to make, because going through the, my past, you know, and reading online about symptoms of ADHD and going through my own memory of these occurrences, I was hard on myself. Like I just kind of thought that I wasn't good at adult stuff.

And it wasn't a good feeling and so being able to just kind of make that list. Not only gives you fodder [00:11:00] to speak with a medical professional and give them examples, but also kind of allows you to release that a little bit and hopefully know for yourself that there's there's stuff going on in your brain, that is really great.

And actually probably deserves credit for some of the success you've had, but also that, you know, some of the reasons why stuff was hard sometimes.

Jesse J. Anderson: Right. Yeah. And like on that list, we, I, I did an episode, a solo episode. I think it was episode 10 where I talked about, I actually went through my notebook that I brought to, so all the symptoms that I had kinda written down. And yeah, like you said, I, so when I got diagnosed, I, I did eventually try medication, but it wasn't until almost a year later, I was just like, I need to understand that this is real because it seems to explain so many of the struggles I've had, that I've never been able to explain.

And so for me, like the number one reason for getting my diagnosis was just like that validation of what I felt like I knew something was wrong and kind of like what you said, like, I felt like I sucked at life. But that almost didn't jive with, [00:12:00] like, I knew that I was smart. I knew that my brain like worked a certain way and was good.

Like, I was good at tests, kinda like you said, and I was terrible at homework and I knew that there was, there had to be some reason for that. Other than me just having, you know, poor willpower or something like that. So getting that diagnosis was, uh, so validating, even though I didn't, like I said, I didn't take any action on medication for a while.

It was just like, knowing that this is a real thing and I have it.

Sharon Pope: Yeah. And it isn't, it. It does not have the effect of, oh, now I have an excuse for the stuff that I do. It actually just, it decreased the cycles in which I was just judging myself. Like the time that I spent judging myself was kind of almost removed and I could more productively deal with my crap. Like I could, you know, I knew, okay.

I struggled to get exercise in the morning. I struggle to get outta bed, but I know that exercise will help my ADHD. So for some reason that made it easier for me to justify, you know, it helped, it helped my mind kind of, make sense of, the things I already knew, which was when I got exercise, I [00:13:00] did better.

I felt better. I was better, even 10 minutes. Um, and then it was like, oh, it's bec well, I'm sure it's probably true for everyone, but especially for people with ADHD, getting 10 minutes of exercise every morning is like, is like taking a pill in many ways. And so I think that it kind of allowed me to adjust lifestyle things in a little ways and also just decrease the cycles of, of judgment, self whatever, criticism, all of that.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, that self blame, that shame that just sort of like, I think most people, you grow up with ADHD and you don't know where to put the blame. And so eventually everyone else is putting it on you. So eventually you just sort of like are taking all that blame and that shame, and it just sort of builds up. Which is why, like, I feel like getting diagnosed, I was 30, 35 or 36 when I got diagnosed.

And it was like this, you know, still ongoing process of like, kind of restoring my self esteem because it had just been torn down so much, growing up and just acc, kind of accepting the blame that I gue I guess I'm just lazy, I guess I'm just, you know, stupid or [00:14:00] whatever those negative labels were.

Um, so you were talking about, uh, to transition, you were talking about kinda like exercise in the morning, and I think there's a lot of. A lot of things like that that are kind of these habits that we want to start, that we know will make our life better. And a lot of times they're really difficult. Uh, we talked just before we started recording, um, about the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.

And I read that book and I loved it. And then I found that it didn't actually change anything. Like I read it and like every chapter I was like, oh, this is such great content. This, these ideas sound really good. I love what I, I love the promise that this book is kind of selling. And then the reality at the end of it was like, I didn't actually, I have no new habits, like nothing changed my life.

And yeah. I wonder, uh, kind of what your experience with being a habit coach and what yeah. The promises of habit books and all of that.

Sharon Pope: Yeah, and I mean, I've had that experience too. I, I like the book Atomic Habits a lot but I think I've had the experience of just reading any book and having a plan to, to do the thing and not doing it. So we, [00:15:00] I, I mentioned that I started a company called Shelpful and the main service with Shelpful is like accountability buddies.

So you sign up, we pair you with an accountability buddy who we hire them, kinda like an Uber driver. So we match you with somebody who's, just seeps empathy. They're amazing people who really, really care if you get your things done and they hold you accountable to whatever habits, routines, tasks that are on your list.

So we started this, that was the company that I mentioned. We kind of built overnight and started. And, as we had people come through and started helping them, we noticed that a lot of people kind of come. I wanna do these 20 things and kind of are trying to make this big change. And intuitively I knew that starting small was probably the way to go, but also that I, I had a lot of geeking out to do about habits, to learn, to be able to support our members who were, you know, who were getting a lot of help by just somebody checking in with them and reminding them to do stuff.

But I wanted to help kind of build a kind of more education and, um, and systems for [00:16:00] people to be able to learn and then put things into practice with their Shelper. We call our accountability buddies, Shelpers. You mentioned atomic habits, there's another book called Tiny Habits, very similar concept.

Um, and it's written by Dr. BJ Fogg, who's probably one of the most prominent behavioral scientists, um, in the world. He runs the behavioral lab at Stanford and, his research is heavily cited in Atomic Habits. And his, his premise, I just, I just drank it up, and so I was super excited to become a certified coach with him and his sister who runs their training program.

And it essentially goes like this. Number one, stop judging yourself for not achieving big things. And number two, take those big aspirations and make them make them super, super tiny. Um, like hilariously, embarrassingly tiny. And then give yourself credit for the work you're doing. So basically if you had a goal and. Actually Jesse, what is a habit that you're trying to, to work on?

Not to turn it on you.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, let me, let me think for a second. [00:17:00] Um, I mean, exercise is one. Exercise is a habit that I, I have done for a while and then I fall off and then once I fall off, it's gone forever. Um, and then I'll go six months and never exercise again and forget that it was even a thing I was trying to do.

Sharon Pope: Or even existed. Yeah. Um, first of all, me too big time, my entire life I've struggled with, I know, I like how I feel afterward. I just can't make myself do it. And I always could justify something else being the bigger priority. Like I gotta get to work, gotta respond to this email.

Um, so let me tell, so this, this is actually how Tiny Habits was transformative, personally, for me. Was being able to kind of shift my thinking from this felt like all or nothing mentality, right. I want a 45 minute workout every morning. Right. Was how I was thinking, going into it. And so, but what, what I was struggling with was getting out of bed before my kids woke up. Like that was a very difficult thing for me.

And if I didn't get outta bed before they woke up that I was on their schedule and I was basically, the workout was, was a dream that just passed me by. So I'll tell you my tiny habit that I, that I worked on, [00:18:00] so it goes like this. After I hear my alarm, I will put one foot on the floor. And that's the whole habit.

And that is what, so I have one foot on the floor. So then you kind of walking through with me, I've done my whole habit. I can feel good about it. I could put my foot back in the bed if I feel like I had COVID recently, my foot went right back in the bed. Did not work out. But my foot's out, and so I have a decision to make and it's uncomfortable.

And so it, it got me a little bit more out of my sleep, which is what I was battling with. Cuz I couldn't get that morning workout if I couldn't get outta bed. And so I started getting outta bed and I was working out consistently, um, and still have been for at least 10 minutes every morning. So sometimes gets interrupted.

Sometimes I work out more. Sometimes I work out less, but if I put my foot on the floor, I can feel good about myself.

And that's kind of the, the theme of this method, um, is that you take something that might not even be the habit itself, but it's, we call it a starter step, like a, a step toward the habit. So if you have a goal to walk, maybe at lunch, maybe your [00:19:00] habit is after I put my lunch dish away, I'll put on one shoe.

Jesse J. Anderson: Right, right.

Sharon Pope: So like, this is the, kind of tiny habits method that like, we, we have a workshop for us. We try to get our members to come through that so we can kind of give them that framework. because it honestly, like we're talking about how an ADHD diagnosis is very freeing in that you kind of get, can give yourself forgiveness.

I would say the same thing about when you take the habit goals you have and make them smaller, then you can celebrate more wins and you actually are helping your brain build neuro pathways to make that habit actually happen because you feel good. When you're shaming yourself, you feel bad. We know that positive reinforcement works.

Cuz we tell kids, yay, you put the blocks away. Or we tell the dog good job doing potty in the right place and give them a treat. We know that it works for others, but we don't do it for ourselves. So that, that has been transformative for me personally.

And for a lot of people that have come through Shelpful and then the positive support that they get from another person caring about the small wins [00:20:00] in life.

Like my husband loves me, but when I tell him I drank three whole big bottles of water that day, he's not gonna like throw me party, but my Shelper will. And so I think that there's something about just having a hype person on the little things in life to make you prioritize them.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah. That, uh, that reminds me of, so this was years ago, was it? Yeah, it was before I knew that I had ADHD. But I have like a, a best friend. That's how I got diagnosed. He got diagnosed. And then that is how I, I found out about it.

Sharon Pope: I'm like you

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah.

Cause we've been, we've been friends since like sixth grade.

So we, because we understood each other and turns out, oh, ADHD, probably a big reason for that. But, uh, years ago, before we knew about ADHD, he, he and I both knew that we struggled to do do the dishes. And we knew that that affected our marriage, that our wife didn't like, like it, when we weren't doing the dishes.

But we also knew that kinda, like you said, like my wife, isn't gonna throw a party when I do the dishes. Cuz she's like, you haven't done it for three weeks.

Why would I celebrate that you finally did it[00:21:00] one time.

Sharon Pope: Congratulations on being a functioning human.

Jesse J. Anderson: Right. Yeah, exactly. But, but in my head I knew that like, If she did, I would do it way more.

Like I knew that that that feedback would help me. And so we basically just like, started doing that for each other. So when I did the dishes. Yeah, my friend and I. So I would text my friend and be like, I just did the dishes. You'd be like, yeah, you're amazing, and we kinda like became, uh, I guess kind of like your company, the Shelpers, like we became that for each other.

Just like celebrating each other every time we did the dishes. And I mean, it, it never got to the point for us where it was a habit, but I probably did it 10 times more than I would have otherwise, just knowing that there was that little bit of positive, uh, reinforcement from my buddy.

Sharon Pope: I love that story, by the way, I just, what a great friend. Um, and I think that not, not everyone feels comfortable asking their friends for things like that. Like, I have some friends in my life, but I, I, it would be hard for me to ask them to like cheer on my dishes.

And so that's, I think that's, that was, the reason for this, because my friend who I [00:22:00] started this company with Lydia, she is an amazing friend of me.

We talked every day, she was there for me for everything that was hard, but honestly, I wouldn't have even asked her to do that for me. Cause you know, got stuff going on. And so I think that that was, or, and she probably would've if I asked her, I think that that should be said, but I think that we, we as, as humans hesitate.

We hesitate to ask for things for ourselves, even like those, especially little things like that. Um, so I think that, I love that your friend did that for you. And, and I think that support helps and it, but it's not the whole story. And that reading the habit book, isn't the whole story, right?

It's hard. It's hard to form new habits and it's something that I'm still working on. And like, there are some habits, like I mentioned, the foot on the floor. That I've been really successful with, and there are others that I was less successful with and I'm, I'm still kind of trying to introduce them and, and have it be kind of a regular practice that I'm doing is bringing new habits in.

And the cool thing is once you start and, and nail it on one, you feel good and you kind of wanna add another one and [00:23:00] especially because they're small, they're easy to add.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah. That's what I, I love the whole foot on the floor habit, because like, like you said, it's ridiculously easy. It's like just a foot on the floor. Like I can do that any day. No problem. But because it's so tiny, like it enables, there's like the, the Jerry Seinfeld method, which is the idea of like, he, he talks about like his ability to consistently write jokes, is he just says, every day I write a joke and then I put a check on the calendar. And my method is just never not to do that.

Like every single day I will put another check mark on the calendar and write at least one joke. And that's the sort of thing that before that's always got me frustrated because I like try to. And then I get three days in and then I'm like, oh, I don't wanna do that thing. Putting, putting the foot on the floor is like nothing.

So I love that idea of making it consistent.


Sharon Pope: think if, if you were an aspiring comedian, I would, I would be asking you, like, I would start asking you kind of, what time of day are you more creative, and try to, I [00:24:00] try to get to. So if you told me that you were most creative when you walked into your home office in the morning. Like I would, I would try to find an anchor. Like, so I mentioned that after my alarm, that's my only anchor in the morning, cuz I'm dead asleep before.

But for other, for other things like we're basically trying to, and they talk about this in Atomic Habits as well, trying to find existing habits, things that we already do every day and attach things to it, like, walking through a door. And you're not thinking anything of it, but if I could get you, so one other habit of mine, um, I have a little timer that's on my desk.

And I have a habit. We were talking before the podcast about struggling to keep offices clean. So I, I have a habit that I've been working on that with. And I, after I walk into my office, I turn my timer on for five minutes and that's the whole habit.

My intention is that I will clean my office for five minutes.

Sometimes I turn it and I clean for one minute and then I see Slack pop up and run over to it. Sometimes I end up cleaning for like 10 minutes, if I'm on a roll. Um, but the timer's the habit, and I can feel good having done that.

Jesse J. Anderson: [00:25:00] Awesome. I think that's a great spot to transition, to, uh, talk about shiny objects, And I noticed you showed, uh, on the video, you showed me a timer. And I think that might be a great a, I've seen that one before.

So why don't you tell me about that shiny object?

Sharon Pope: It is a hexagon shaped timer that is orange-ish red. I got on Amazon And it basically it's, you could just turn to a different side of the hexagon. Oh, Jesse has the same one.

And it has different increments, five minutes, 1530. And so I actually use the five minute, one more than anything, but I'll use the 60 minute one.

Sometimes if I'm trying to kind of get into the zone and work on something, I really don't wanna work on like legal documents or something. And so it's really helpful to me because it basically just makes it feel like something isn't gonna last forever.

Jesse J. Anderson: Right, right. Yeah. I, I have timers running all the time. I love timers. I think it's so, it's so helpful to have something that I can glance at and see that, oh, this much time has passed. And it almost like injects that little bit of urgency, even though there's not a real deadline, just like knowing that that timer's [00:26:00] going down, it kind of helps me.

Yeah, get more stuff done or kind of stay focused I'll glance down and see the timer and be like, oh, that's right, I'm supposed to be doing this right now. Um, yeah. And the, the one thing that's great about the timer that you showed is it's so easy to hit a timer because so it's a hexagon shape, like you said.

And each one of the sides of the hexagon is like a time increment. So if you wanna set a five minute timer, all you do is set it on that side of the timer and it just starts going five minutes.

So kinda related on that for my shiny object. I, when I do timers, a lot of times I'll do music with them. Like I just sort of crank, I have a couple of different albums that I crank for my focus music. And one that I particularly love is the Arrival, uh, score from the movie Arrival. It's kind of a weird soundtrack.

Like it's maybe not everybody's jam, but because of that, it really like stands out to me and it's almost become a trigger for my brain when I put that on, that's like, I need to really focus on whatever it is I'm doing.

And so that's been kind of my go to like sit down and focus right now, Jesse. [00:27:00] This is, uh, the big thing to focus on.

Sharon Pope: That's amazing. And I think if you take nothing away from this episode is that we are simple creatures. Where like rewards help us and music helps us. I think that's really good.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. So I kind of forced you to do that. Uh, shiny object. Did you have another thing you wanted to share?

Sharon Pope: Well, I love, I genuinely love this, so I'm happy with that. Um, I, I just, I think the thing I was gonna spit out is, but they're, they're kind of boring, maybe. Is I love, um, Airtable It's like an Excel software, um, or like spreadsheet software and Zapier. Which are, these are two, basically they're automation engines for me, where I can have things.

I like, I think, I think part of something that is a little bit ADHD, maybe just me as well, is that anything that feels like it could be faster frustrates me to no end. Um, but I mean, I think that is at ADHD. Like how people listen to podcasts on 1.5. And for me, if I, if I, if there's ever anything that I'm gonna do again, I wanna somehow automate it.

Um, and so those are tools that allow me to [00:28:00] automate small things in my life and it makes me happy.

Jesse J. Anderson: Yeah, I do think that is kind of like an ADHD common thing of like always wanting to be more efficient with things. So, yeah, I love Zapier when I can make things automated. It just like, uh, it connects with all sorts of different apps and you can make it do like, oh, you got an email from this. So then that causes this other thing to trigger in a different product and the way they all can connect.

Uh, that's great. I haven't used Airtable. I know it's sort of similar to Notion. I've used Notion a lot, but I think Airtable's kind of halfway between Notion and Excel. Is that about right?

Sharon Pope: Oh, yeah, I think that's well, I've, I've used. Um, I think Airtable tries to be a little bit more like a database. So, whereas Notion I think is like, it works really well for like engineers, like it and knowledge workers like it. Airtable, like Airtable and Zapier are like peanut butter and jelly because they have like everything, everything can be a field that does something like it can all, every field can have action happen to it.

So it kind of feels like a spreadsheet that's [00:29:00] alive. Um, and it feels like you kind of a software engineer came and, you know, waved a magic wand over your spreadsheet, cuz like it, it looks simple and it, it does the job of being a spreadsheet, but it, it can do stuff like it can, it can take action, it can change automatically.

It can do all this stuff.

Jesse J. Anderson: Awesome. I love that. That is a, uh, super nerdy sort of pick, which I really love.

Sharon Pope: I, I've always said Airtable's my boyfriend.

Jesse J. Anderson: Awesome. Well, thank you. Uh, so much for being here. This has been great.

Sharon Pope: Thank you so much for having me.

Jesse: That's our show, thank you so much for listening. I especially want to thank our VIP patrons, Charise Carlson, Dan Ott, Jessica Cherry DePaul, Luce Carter, Richard Stevens, and Todd Barnett. Your support helps me do this show and the other work I do, so thank you so much. If you want to support the show, you can go to that's J E S S E J. And you can always support the show for free, by leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or the podcast player of your choice. Full show notes and transcript are available at