Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction

Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction

Canada's productivity expert returns with a totally fresh angle on how to do more with less. Throughout his experiments and research, Chris Bailey came across many little-known insights into how we focus (a key element of productivity), including the surprising idea that focus isn't so much a state of heightened awareness (as we'd assume), but a balance between two frames of m...

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Title:Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction
Author:Chris Bailey
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Edition Language:English

Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction Reviews

  • James Beach

    Can't get over how practical this book is. I had a vague sense of how distracted I am all the time - but Chris made me painfully aware of just how much attention I'm wasting every day. And then outlined exactly how I can better manage my attention. Everyone needs to read this book!

  • Izzy Myers

    My life will forever be split into "before Hyperfocus" and "after Hyperfocus". And I'm optimistic that the "after Hyperfocus" part will be infinitely more focused and creative than the “before” part was, thanks to this book. I felt like on every page, the author was speaking directly to me. All of the examples were incredibly relatable, and all of the solutions Bailey presented seemed intuitive and something I not only could do, but absolutely needed and wanted to do. I can already feel myself b

    My life will forever be split into "before Hyperfocus" and "after Hyperfocus". And I'm optimistic that the "after Hyperfocus" part will be infinitely more focused and creative than the “before” part was, thanks to this book. I felt like on every page, the author was speaking directly to me. All of the examples were incredibly relatable, and all of the solutions Bailey presented seemed intuitive and something I not only could do, but absolutely needed and wanted to do. I can already feel myself becoming more aware of what I’m dedicating my attention to. And I’m so much less averse to giving my attention a bit of a break (who knew I could go for a walk without music!? And that I would enjoy it!). Do yourself a favour, and give this book a read. You will not regret it.

  • Mehrsa

    I like to read one of these books every now and again. This one helped me have a few really productive days and if I can remember the insights, hopefully I can have a few more until it's time to read another one of these. The basics are clear: you have to purposefully turn off distractions--emails, notifications of all kids, social media, etc. You have to sleep and you have to give yourself some time to just make connections in your free time instead of fighting boredom. The book was short and h

    I like to read one of these books every now and again. This one helped me have a few really productive days and if I can remember the insights, hopefully I can have a few more until it's time to read another one of these. The basics are clear: you have to purposefully turn off distractions--emails, notifications of all kids, social media, etc. You have to sleep and you have to give yourself some time to just make connections in your free time instead of fighting boredom. The book was short and helpful, but mostly it's the same kind of productivity advice.

  • Sarah

    This was an enjoyable read with easy-to-implement strategies for setting yourself up for success on getting things done. I've started scheduling hyperfocus sessions into my week and prioritized items on my to-do list and feel much more on top of my workload! Here are my main takeaways:

    1) Be aware of potential distractions – your brain is designed to pay attention to novel stimuli.

    - Make a list of your distractions. Eliminate them to the best of your ability. (Remove notificatio

    This was an enjoyable read with easy-to-implement strategies for setting yourself up for success on getting things done. I've started scheduling hyperfocus sessions into my week and prioritized items on my to-do list and feel much more on top of my workload! Here are my main takeaways:

    1) Be aware of potential distractions – your brain is designed to pay attention to novel stimuli.

    - Make a list of your distractions. Eliminate them to the best of your ability. (Remove notifications on your phone, clean up your surroundings, etc.)

    - Try to work in spaces where you can control the distractions around you.

    - Keeping distractions 20 seconds away (a walk to the next room) can be enough to prevent you from accessing them.

    - Silence is best, but soft music that sounds familiar and is relatively simple is next best thing.

    2) Consider the purpose of beverages.

    - Caffeine provides a focus boost

    - Alcohol lowers inhibitions, providing a creativity boost

    3) Be mindful of your attention

    - When you catch your mind wandering, take a brain break and do something mindless

    - There are three measures of attention quality: 1) How much time we spend working with intention. 2) How long we can focus on one task. 3) How quickly we notice our thoughts have wandered.

    - Mind wandering increases when stressed, bored, in a chaotic environment, distracted by personal concerns, questioning if we're working on the most productive or meaningful task, or we have unused attentional space

    - Boredom = transitioning from a state of high stimulation to a lower one. As such, becoming accustomed to less stimulation can reduce that feeling of boredom.

    4) Set goals for yourself, both daily and weekly

    - You're being productive, as long as you're accomplishing a goal (whether it's watching season 1 of GOT or filing your taxes)

    - Reward yourself after accomplishing your goals

    5) Get things out of your head and onto paper

    - Write to-dos and ideas down on paper asap so you can focus on whatever task you're working on

    6) Hyperfocus is useful for accomplishing specific tasks

    - Always set an intention

    - Eliminate distractions

    - Set a predetermined amount of time to focus (be realistic, start small)

    - Schedule it into your week

    - We're most vulnerable to distractions at the start of hyperfocus, when we resist it most.

    7) Scatter focus is for synthesizing, brainstorming

    - Intentionally let your mind wander

    - Try this during habitual, enjoyable activities (going for a walk, washing dishes, etc.)

    - Use it to replenish your mental energy

    - A time to allow your brain to connect the dots of all the stimuli you've taken in

    8) Ideas for changing habits to intentionally consume more valuable information

    - Consume things you care about

    - Eliminate some trash (not necessarily all)

    - Choose a few valuable things to add

    - Notice what you consume on autopilot mode

    - Veg out intentionally

    - Reevaluate what you're consuming as you're consuming it

    - Consume challenging information outside of your expertise to encourage disparate dot connections

  • Rebecca

    I thought this was a really good guide to achieving focus and improving concentration. Some of the tips I has recently started doing before I read this book so it was nice to see that I was in agreement with this book. I definitely found some interesting tidbits in there and it's a book I could see myself returning to for advice in the future.

  • David Manley

    Manage your sources of distraction. Meditate. Be deliberate in how you use your mental energy. Etc. Some good tips in there actually but nothing earth shattering. Maybe I'll report back after I've seen the results.

  • Daniel Rodic

    This book introduces two important concepts of “Hyperfocus” (focusing on one thing with no distractions) and “Scatterfocus” (deliberately letting your mind roam free)

    Focus matters because in todays world the competition for your attention is fierce.

    Focus allows you to utilize your most valuable currency — your attention — in the ways you see fit, oppose to letting external forces dictate where you spend it.

    Simple tactics to focus better include:

    * Put your phone (an

    This book introduces two important concepts of “Hyperfocus” (focusing on one thing with no distractions) and “Scatterfocus” (deliberately letting your mind roam free)

    Focus matters because in todays world the competition for your attention is fierce.

    Focus allows you to utilize your most valuable currency — your attention — in the ways you see fit, oppose to letting external forces dictate where you spend it.

    Simple tactics to focus better include:

    * Put your phone (and anything else) that could compete for your attention out of reach or in a different room

    * Choose an environment where there are few things that could be competing with your attention (this is why planes and trains are often easier to work on as the alternatives you have are much less stimulating)

    * Make a distraction list every time something comes up that shifts your focus away from your desired task

    * Question if where you are about to spend your attention is the right place. Just because something “pitches” for your attention, doesn’t mean you need to consume it. You are what you pay attention to.

    * Coffee helps! It provides a focus boost.

    * [For reading] Grab a pen or highlighter and actually write in the book that you’re reading to actively consume the information

    * Notice when your focus wavers. If it does, take a break doing a mindless task to recharge your attention.

    There are four types of tasks:

    * Necessary work - unattractive yet productive (we only do these when we have a deadline - e.g. filing expenses)

    * Unnecessary work - unattractive and unproductive (typically we use these tasks to procrastinate)

    * Distracting work - attractive and unproductive tasks (e.g. netflix, Instagram)

    * Purposeful work - attractive and productive (these are the things you were put on the earth to do, they come to you much easier than to others)

    Most information is organized in units no greater than 7 as anything more than that we find trouble storing in our brains

    When we store more than 7, it ends up being broken into smaller groupings

    Memorizing a credit card number is memorizing 4 segments of 4 numbers for example

    Our attention space holds everything that you’re aware of in this current moment

    If you are truly focused on, reading a book for example, you would have no capacity for anything else in your attention space

    Mindfulness is noticing what your mind is full of.

    “All thoughts want to be taken seriously but few warrant it.”

    Simply noticing what is occupying our attentional space has been shown to make us more productive.

    Habits require very little attentional space to perform. So you often can pair multiple habits together, or one habit with a simple task, but rarely can you pair a habit with a complex task - that task requires all the attention space you have to offer and you must do it solo.

    Productivity is doing the right thing in each moment.

    On average we work no more than 40 seconds before being distracted.

    WHAT IS HYPERFOCUS?

    One task that fills your entire attention space.

    This is a task that’s probably at a comfortable level of difficulty (Atomic Habits says the optimal level is +4% the difficulty level that is within your current skill set)

    It’s hard but not impossible.

    It makes us completely immersed in our work and happier as a result of that.

    HOW TO ENTER HYPERFOCUS?

    1. Choose a meaningful object of attention

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

    3. Focus on that chosen object of attention

    4. Continue to bring your attention back to that object of attention

    #1 - setting the intention, is the most important thing to start with

    #3 - set a defined period of time that is reasonable so you have a clear start and end

    #4 - draw your attention when your mind wanders

    Other tactics

    * Everyday pick three things to focus on

    * Order items which are most consequential and do them first. Consider not only immediate consequences but second and third order consequences

    * Set an hourly awareness chime and when it goes off ask yourself

    * Was your mind wandering when the chime went off?

    * Are you working on autopilot or something you intended to focus on

    * Are you immersed in a productive task? If so how long have you been focusing on it?

    * What is the most consequential thing you could be working on right now? Are you working on it?

    * How full is your attentional space? Is it overflowing or do you have attention to spare?

    * Are there distractions preventing you from hyper focusing on your work?

    When setting an intention ensure it has when and where you’ll do it.

    “Go to the gym” becomes “Schedule and go to the gym on my lunch break”

    TACTICS ON HOW TO HYPERFOCUS?

    * How long do you want to hyper focus for? Pick a time frame that’s easy (e.g. 15 minutes)

    * Anticipate what may distract you and block time to hyper focus

    * Set a timer for your start and end time

    The tasks that you’re least excited to do are the ones that typically require the most hyperfocus on

    WHAT IS SCATTERFOCUS?

    Its your brains most creative mode. You activate it by deliberately letting your mind wander.

    It helps you become more self-aware, process ideas and reflect on the meaning of your experiences

    There are three styles of scatterfocus

    1. Capture mode: Letting your mind roam freely and capturing whatever comes up

    2. Problem-crunching mode: Holding a problem loosely in mind and letting your thoughts wander around it

    3. Habitual mode: engaging in a simple task and capturing the ideas that arise (this is the most powerful mode)

    Capture Mode = Sit with a blank notebook and see what comes up and write it down

    Problem-Crunching mode = Hold a problem in your mind, when your mind wanders notice the distraction and pull your thoughts back to solving the problem

    Habitual Mode = This is the most fun, and therefore expands your attentional space

    Positive thinking doesn’t make you more happy - research shows its counter productive

    Positive thinking lets us feel successful in the moment but at the price of not actually making a plan to be successful later

    Focus on the system, not the end result.

  • Pitchayapa Apithamsoontorn

    Simple basic productivity tips that you could find on the internet. Ugh. Glad i bought this in kindle so I dont need to see this book lying around my room to remind me of being stupid enough to buy this book.

  • Dylan Groves

    he describes his process as ordering 10-15 books on a topic and reading a lot of academic articles, and that is exactly how the book comes across.

  • Michael Perera-Collins

    If you've read any book about being more successful in your career or packing more work into your day, you've already read this book. The gist: focus on one goal, and learn to do that one thing very, very well.

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