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Hyperfocus

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

Author- Chris Bailey


  • Understanding the meaning of the book Hyperfocus is a book where the author conveys ways and strategizes on maintaining your focus by filtering out distractions and focusing on the task at hand by making use of the attentional space so that you achieve more by working less and using your attention in the right manner. The author not only talks about the benefits of focusing on a particular task but also how mind-wandering can be more productive. The book is divided into two parts- Hyperfocus and Scatterfocus. In hyperfocus he talks about how focusing on a particular task can make you productive so that you work less and achieve more by giving your 100% attention to the task. In scatterfocus, he highlights the benefits of mind-wandering and how it can be productive so that you don't feel guilty about it whenever your mind is off the track.


  • Hyperfocus Focus is what we really want every time so that we could do things mindfully. Hyperfocus is about how you can work less and achieve more by focusing on the thing which you are doing and not hovering on other thoughts. Attention is finite and is the most valuable ingredient you have to live a good life. So just consume the right and worthy thing. When we invest our limited attention intelligently and deliberately we focus more deeply and think more clearly. To hyperfocus, you need to turn off the autopilot mode. Autopilot mode is like doing the tasks without any intention. These tasks can include habits that don't require more focus or attention. Working on autopilot means we are more prone to falling prey to the unnecessary and distracting ones on which we often spend time on necessary and purposeful work only when it's on a deadline. So to focus on a particular task it should occupy our attentional space completely.


  • Attentional space

Attentional space is the amount of mental capacity we have available to focus on and process things at the moment. Our attentional space is what we are aware of. Attentional space allows us to hold, manipulate and connect information simultaneously. When we choose what we should pay attention to that information occupies our short-term memory so that we could remember and can work on it. The content of the attentional space is constantly changing when you notice it you will understand that our minds keep on changing the subjects. Our mind is like a scratch pad the thing which you think gets wiped off the next moment. Try to be selective with your tasks or what you permit into your attentional space. When you cram too many things into the attentional space the attentional space gets overloaded and that's why you forget the tasks which you had to do. Like going into a room and forgetting why you came there. This thing occurs because you cram too much in your attentional space. When we fill our attentional space up to the brim every time this leads to remembering fewer things and it affects our memory. When you focus on one task to another you get a rush of dopamine as you change tasks. But that leads to attention residue which means it becomes more difficult to put something in your attentional space as the residue of the previous tasks remains in your attentional space. So to avoid this take breaks between the tasks so that there will be no residue of the previous tasks.

  • How to get into hyperfocus mode

    1. choose a productive or meaningful object of attention.

    2. eliminate as many internal and external distractions as you can.

    3. focus on that chosen object of attention

    4. continually draw your focus to that one object of attention.

  • Distractions

Distractions and interruptions just deviate us from our actual intention. It takes an average of 29 minutes to resume a task after we are distracted. We can control how to respond to them when distractions rises. Whenever the news feed or any particular website distracts you just block them. Keep your phone and pc on do not disturb mode. When we are working alone we can focus more often with a deep session. Creating a distraction-free mode enables us to eliminate almost every possible distraction in advance so you can hyperfocus on your most important task. By removing every object of attention that's potentially more stimulating than what you do, you give your brain no choice but to work on that task. Eliminate the distractions which are in your control like messages and emails by disconnecting them from the internet. Disable the notifications for all apps. Use your phone and other devices with proper intentions. Whenever you get your phone out of your pocket there should be an intention for it. Your phone is the most stimulating and novel object of attention. We get tempted by it whenever the task at hand becomes more intimidating. Have a proper intention to use your devices.

  • Scatterfocus

Scatterfocus means mind wandering and taking your attention inwards. We enter this mode whenever we leave attentional space free around. The benefits of scatterfocus are it fosters creativity, it allows us to plan for the future and set the intentions and also it lets us recharged after focusing truly on a single task. We turn to scatterfocus because it makes us feel more pleasurable as our mind wanders. When our mind wanders it goes to the three main places the present, past, and the future. Our mind wanders only 12% in the past while it is 28% in the present and 44% in the future while in the remaining time the mind is empty or dull.


  • How to make mind-wandering productive? Scatterfocus or mind-wandering is good when we do it with proper intention so that we have a reason to wander. It is good when we are trying to find a solution to problems and trying to explore some new creative ideas especially if you are involved with some creative work. So whenever you find something useful in the scatterfocus mode note it down so that you might connect the dots afterward. Scatter your attention in a richer environment. Being mindful of and controlling the environment is one of the most productive things you can do. A rich environment is one where you are constantly encountering new people, ideas, and insights. Expose your mind to new ideas so that you can connect the dots later. the more valuable the dots we collect the more we have to connect. When we learn something new you transfer dots from your external environment to your memory so you can link them and make use of them later. Scatterfocus episodes become more productive as we link valuable ideas especially as we become more responsive to new insight triggers by exposing ourselves to new dots. Our hyperfocus sessions become more effective as we use the attentional space properly and avoid mistakes and seek opportunities. So that's how scatterfocus supports hyperfocus.


  • Conclusion Hyperfocus helps us to remember more and scatterfocus lets us recharge more. The more we invest in our happiness the more productive we become in hyperfocus mode and more creative we become in scatterfocus mode. Unhappy people are less productive. So there should be a proper balance of scatterfocus and hyperfocus to become more productive and happy. This book is great and it can change your thoughts about working effectively and achieving more also it can change your views about mind wandering as an unproductive thing. So that's why it's a must-read.

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