I am almost finished reading an awesome book called Hyper-Focus by Chris Bailey.
Some of what I read I knew already. Keep reading and I will share some cutting edge pointers.
The stats he refers to are incredible. One study was done in situ – meaning live studies on real workers.
(In situ studies are rare. It took them 6 years to get permission, Why? Potential disruptions to the live workers).
They attached monitors to the workers to regulate heart rate for stress. Monitors were added to their computers. This was to see how often people switch from app to app, task to task.
Wanna know how often? Ready for this? Every 40 seconds. The average worker switches every 40 seconds from task to task, app to app.
That is stunning. How does any real, concentrated work ever get done?
Here is another stat. Let us say that you are in a hyper-focused state. You get interrupted. It takes an average of 22 minutes to get back to where you were before the distracting interruption.
You may be wondering what exactly is hyper-focus?
First, you will be working on a project that is challenging. Yet not too complex. It cannot be done habitually.
You will enter a state of flow. An hour whizzes by like 15 minutes. You forget to eat. No distractions (or few) are entering your space. That includes your workspace, your mind, your emotions.
At the end of a session of hyper-focus you feel energized, not tired.
The kicker – you get a LOT done and done well!
Here are my top 3 tips so far…
Number 1 – Buy an App to Stop Distractions from Bombarding You
Your smartphone is not a phone. Consider it is a very annoying computer in your pocket. Annoying because it is harping notifications all day long.
New email. Ding. New text. Ding. New WhatsApp. Ding. New call. Ring-ring-ring.
Ok, you may have turned off notifications and that is one step forward for sure.
I just bought an app/service called Freedom. Good name.
It is designed to stop the addictive pull to check emails, answer the phone, check WhatsApp or social media threads.
There are a few programs like this out there (Cold Turkey, Rescue Time). So far, I like Freedom the best.
What the app does is set up a distraction free environment. It blocks all sites and apps across all your devices (phone, tablet, computer). Or you choose which apps you want blocked.
Then you set the time. I use 90 minutes to enter into a highly productive hyper-space block. You could start with any block, say 30 minutes.
You can block groups of sites. One is news sites. Try to bring up BBC News – blocked. Shopping sites can be blocked. No getting into Amazon when in hyper-focus time.
Outlook can be blocked. Multiple phone apps can be blocked.
Think of it. For 90 minutes – no emails, no texts, no messages. No unconscious checking the news, or Facebook.
Number 2 – Set Intentions
One tip Chris talks about in the book is the Rule of 3.
Focus on only 3 top items/intentions for each day. (The mind cannot hold much more than that!)
(I have practiced this and it works)!
Set your intention(s) for the hyper-focus block you set. This would be something important that forwards your business, life, or work.
As your mind wanders (and it will), keep pulling it back to your stated intention.
Chris talks a lot about Attentional Space. Doing complex, new tasks, or problem solving requires a huge load of brain power.
You cannot multi-task in a hyper-focus state.
By the way, you can multi-task – when it does not require concentration and what you are doing is habitual.
Consider most people can walk, chew gum, and carry on a meaningful conversation at the same time.
Number 3 – Take a Fast from Social Media
Facebook is designed to keep you in a loop. An unproductive, endless loop – feeding you news and ads based on your comments and views.
It craves your attention. And what do you get from it?
Come on, be honest? New, meaningful relationships? Improved, deeper relationships with your Facebook friends? More clients for your business?
Facebook and Twitter – all of these types of software – are black holes. And you are not in control. You may even be addicted.
Take a cleansing, purging bath from social media for 30 days. Too much? Try only using them 30 minutes a day max.
Give it a go.
This book is chock-a-block full of great tips and studies.
By the way, the second one-half of the book is dedicated to scatter focus.
No one can hyper focus ALL the time. You get the most done in Hyper Focus. But you are most creative when in Scatter Focus time.
Here is a link to Amazon for the book: