— October 17, 2018
Running a business requires a ton of work. You’ll likely put in long hours and manage what seems like a never-ending to-do list even if it grants you some amazing results. If you don’t want to get stuck working 24/7, because that can literally happen even if you love your business, you’ll need to find out how to hyperfocus in order to get more done in less time.
The newest term for extreme focus on a particular subject and one of my personal obsessions is hyperfocus.
Traditionally, hyperfocus was described as an experience of deep and intense concentration in some people with ADHD. In this case, I’m talking about hyperfocus as a theoretical state of being where one is able to obtain an intense gazelle-like focus on particular items on their daily task list to the point that it results in extreme productivity.
Wouldn’t it be nice to hyperfocus on important work tasks throughout the day instead of avoiding them or procrastinating? I recently started reading Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey and it’s been a game changer for me.
The book shares some groundbreaking insights about humans’ ability to focus and backs it up by solid research. Then, Chris also shares actionable advice and proposes clear action steps for readers to take to improve their hyperfocus.
We all get distracted and lose focus at times, but I had no idea the average internet user gets distracted every 40 seconds which sounds like a nightmare for anyone doing work on the computer. If you want to improve your hyperfocus and get more done in your business, here are some tips to get started.
Stop Multitasking…It Doesn’t Work to Hyperfocus Yourself
If you’re going to hyperfocus, you need to understand that you can’t possibly focus on everything. Multitasking will likely not help you reach your goals although it may be able to provide some temporary relief.
There is actually a very finite limit on how many things we can focus on at one time so you need to do your best to limit your list so you can hyperfocus on one to two things at a time.
When you think about it, so many different things are bidding for our time and attention throughout a given day or even an hour for that matter. In the book Hyperfocus, Chris describes how we can divide up our attention into 4 main categories or quadrants. The 4 quadrants should include tasks that are productive, unproductive, fun and attractive, or boring and unattractive.
Once you have your categories, start filling them in with tasks then start drawing conclusions depending on how the categories match up. For example, a task that is productive and attractive/fun will likely be purposeful work. A task that is unproductive and unattractive will be distracting work.
So how do you add more purposeful work to your day and limit the distracting work?
Get Out of Autopilot Mode
We all operate in autopilot mode from time to time. No, I’m not exactly talking about those moments when you completely zone out and start daydreaming for a few moments.
In Hyperfocus, autopilot mode can be described as us gravitating toward distracting work that may seem fun and relieving but does nothing to help our productivity.
For example, you may open a new tab and start scrolling through Facebook while you’re in the middle of completing an important task. I’m guilty of constantly checking my email throughout the day when I feel like I “need” to be doing something.
You may not even realize you’re operating in autopilot mode. When you allow a random email or Tweet to send you off on a tangent. Whether it’s researching something new or signing up for a free webinar that just landed in your inbox. You may think those things were important. Chances are, they probably weren’t in your original plan in terms. Try to stay true to what you want to focus on for the day.
To escape autopilot mode, you need to direct your attention to what you choose is important. Not what your subconscious is telling you to do. Your choices should be very firm and deliberate and shouldn’t just be lucked upon.
When you escape autopilot mode, you’ll be able to confidently direct your attention to the most important items of your choosing AND be able to keep your attention there.
Commit to Working Fewer Hours
This may sound scary but just try it. Cut your typical 40-50-hour work week down a bit and commit to fewer hours. What’s the worst that can happen? You stop taking your time for granted perhaps? Maybe start speeding up your processes so you can get more done in less time?
In fact, that’s exactly what we’re hoping will happen. When I know I don’t have a ton of time to complete a task, that sense of urgency almost always pushes me closer to working in a hyperfocus state to get more done with the time I have.
If you know you’ve got time to do whatever you need to get done between the hours of 8-5, it will be easier for you to get distracted and not use your time wisely.
Working fewer hours isn’t a bad idea in general. Most Americans are guilty of overworking themselves and not taking enough days off. By cutting down your active working hours, you can start to have a better work-life balance. Possibly even feel better about your business.
Choose to Run the Day
When you have a business, you can either run the day or let the day run you. Hyperfocus is a fascinating topic to explore for anyone who’s looking to maximize their productivity levels and do more purposeful work that creates a bigger impact.
I can’t take full credit for these tips seeing as how Chris Bailey’s book, Hyperfocus, hits the nail on the head with some of the best strategies to become more productive in your daily life.
Remember that hyperfocus stems deeper than time management – it’s all about managing your attention. The better you become at managing your attention, the less time you’ll waste overall.