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Lauren Cournoyer shares productivity tips for the neurodivergent

A woman smiling at the camera

Meet Lauren, a former preschool teacher, and current executive assistant who is passionate about supporting childcare and education-based businesses. Lauren spends much of her work day ensuring that her clients don’t have to worry about their business admins and operations, which allows them to spend more time working on their business rather than working for their business. In this spotlight, Lauren discusses being a neurodivergent person, her favorite tricks for staying productive, what inspires her, and more.

What’s your profession? 

I’m an executive assistant and business manager. While I work with all types of small businesses, I specialize in working with childcare and education based businesses. I firmly believe that program directors have enough to worry about. Their admins and operations shouldn’t be on that list.

Describe a typical work day for you.

Since most schools and programs are already out for the summer, I’m working with some of my year-round clients on projects and day-to-day tasks. My main year-round client is an insurance agent, so you’ll usually find me responding to emails, following up with clients, calling job applicants, and planning social media content. 

What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?

The biggest challenge I face at my job is having to resist the urge to learn everything. I LOVE learning new things, but I have to hold myself back so I can learn just what I need to do my job and serve my clients to the best of my ability. That’s not to say that I don’t want to expand my services eventually, but my clients don’t need me to know EVERYTHING. 

Do you have a morning routine?

I have ADHD, and sometimes that makes it difficult to stick to routines and habits, so I try to make my routines as flexible as possible. I have a bunch of options to make sure that I’m taking care of myself holistically every day. I’ve created a “menu” of sorts, and I have lists under the categories of body, mind, and spirit so I can choose what I want every morning.

What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?

It takes me a while to get focused, so I like using a modified Pomodoro technique, where I make my working sessions longer and my breaks shorter. I also need to make sure my senses are engaged when I’m working, so I always have something with me that is a specific flavor, texture, scent, etc. that I only use for work, so my brain will associate them with being focused. I always have a specific scent of lotion, a specific fidget tool, cinnamon gum, and either earplugs (if it’s too loud) or headphones (if I need music) in my bag.

What do you listen to during the day?

Depends on the day and my mood! If it’s gloomy out and I can’t focus, it’s some instrumental rock from Joe Satriani. If it’s a nice day out and I’m full of energy, it’s usually my Jazz/Standards playlist. 

How do you benefit from using a coworking space?

I love using a coworking space because it’s a Goldilocks type situation. Home is not enough, coffee shops can be over stimulating, but Groundwork is always “just right!” 

What’s in your digital toolbox?

I swear by Google Workspace for pretty much everything. I love Airtable for creating databases, and Clickup for managing tasks. I also really like an app called Tiimo, which is a time management app specifically for neurodivergent folks like me.  

A little girl with an open book in her lap. She is reading Harry Potter
Lauren’s daughter, Arya, reading Harry Potter

What inspires you?

As a mom and former preschool teacher, kids are a huge source of inspiration to me. They’re pretty much willing to try anything, and they don’t care what anyone thinks about them. They’re persistent and creative, and not afraid to ask questions. I’m always telling my daughter that some adults need to go back to kindergarten because they forgot how to think like kids.