Hyperfocus is an ultimate book on productivity and help us to focus better. The crux of the book is that we live most of our life in heedlessness or “auto-pilot” mode and we need to be mindful of our attention. Rarely do we stop and examine our thoughts and tasks in our day-to-day lives. In today’s world of attention economy, we have different social media and gaming apps which use novel methods to capture a scarce commodity called “Human attention”.
What I really like about the book is that it presents two distinct and important ideas.
There are plenty of distractions that keep us from doing purposeful and productive works. Our mind seeks novel distractions instead of finishing that important task which we need to finish by EOD.
So how do we “Hyperfocus” in a world of constant notifications and distractions?
- Firstly, acknowledge that our brain’s attention storage is limited and treat it as a scarce resource.
- The more complex the task, the more attention has to be paid.
- Avoid multi-tasking. Every time we multitask the area that can be used for focused attention becomes smaller.
- Eliminate distractions beforehand like switching off your mobile phone or disable notifications before you work on something important. This will help you to focus better on the task at hand.
- Pick the most consequential tasks for setting priorities for the day
- Don’t keep more than three things on the active list at any point in time. Keep your daily task list as simple as possible.
- Be mindful of your attention. Check every two hours whether you are in auto-pilot mode? Is your attention wandering? Are you working on a productive and meaningful task?
Scatterfocus is the opposite of Hyperfocus. Instead of focusing on a particular task, we let our mind wander and be unmindful. Is the book suggesting two contradictory ideas? Actually, no. Scatterfocus helps recharge our mind after prolonged period of work or hyperfoucs, generate new ideas and foster creativity.
Modes of scatterfocus:
- Capture mode: Take a notebook to capture & write down all the tasks and jobs that you have on your mind.
- Problem focus mode: Single out a problem that you are working on, write down all possible solutions in your pocket book and try going to sleep on the problem.
- Habitual mode: Take a habitual or repetitive task and perform it every now and then. You will be surprised to see how creative thoughts emerges from it.
Other tips and tricks:
- Emails: Check your emails no more than 3 times a day. If your job requires you to check emails often, then keep a time slot to check your emails. Try to articulate your response in 5 or less sentences.
- Meetings: Don’t attend meetings without an agenda. Try to question all recurring meetings if it,s really required. Try keep minimal audience for any meeting.
- Apps and Notifications: Keep all the social media and gaming apps in a different device. This might appear cumbersome on the surface but it will help you monitor your attention better , eliminate distractions and be mindful.
- Recharging: Take regular 10-15 mins break for every 60-90 mins like taking a walk or running near your work place, non-work related reading, going to the gym, listening to a podcast or audio-book, or having a conversation with friends.
Overall, this was an interesting read on how to focus and I hope these notes were beneficial to you. Do you have any interesting tips on how to focus better? If so, please do share.