Hyperfocus: What is it and How to Control It
* Verified by a US-based board-certified doctor.
Have you ever found yourself “in the zone” where you tune out the world while engaged with particular tasks or activities? Can you focus your attention on something that interests you for very long periods of time? This is known as hyperfocus.
While hyperfocus can be useful for people who enjoy being productive, there is a negative side to hyperfocused behavior. For people who become hyperfocused on work, hobbies, projects, or activities, you’ll want to recognize the signs of hyperfocus and how to control it.
What is Hyperfocus?
A psychological research study found that hyperfocus becomes:
- An intense state of fixation on something of interest to the individual.
- All-consuming, where external stimuli are no longer consciously perceived and the individual loses perception of their environment.
- So engaging that task performance improves.
When individuals experience hyperfocus, they often tune out everyone and cannot re-engage until their project or activity is complete.
Sometimes hyperfocus can be a symptom of ADHD, especially for children. Parents of children often don’t realize their child had ADHD because the child can focus for long periods of time on activities they enjoy.
Hyperfocus can be a symptom of ADHD in gifted people. Because gifted people naturally can overcome learning disabilities, often associated with ADHD, they may not be diagnosed.
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What Causes Hyperfocus?
When an individual finds their project or activity so rewarding, the frontal lobe and medial temporal lobe of their brain change to increase cognitive flexibility, allowing the individual to focus solely on the project.
How Hyperfocus Manifests in Children
The child will block out hearing or seeing anyone or anything that might distract them from the subject or activity. This often occurs while watching TV or playing a video game. They lose a sense of their environment and their actions.
How Hyperfocus Manifests in Adults
A hyperfocused adult might miss appointments, forget to eat, forego sleep, or ignore relationships to complete the task or activity. When the adult becomes so engrossed with the activity, their personal and work life can suffer.
Benefits of Hyperfocus
If you have hyperfocus, you get projects done. Being productive is always positive, especially if you enjoy or are interested in what you are doing. Because the individual can focus so intently, they often get things done quickly and successfully.
In a work environment where the individual enjoys their job, they quickly and efficiently get tasks done. They are the more productive members of their team and come in clutch on tough assigments.
An individual who can get into the zone is known to have good work flow. These people can balance their hyerfocus while still being present in their environment.
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Related Link: Ways to Stay Focused at Work
Disadvantages of Hyperfocus
While being productive is good, sometimes it can turn on you. Ever hear of a workaholic? When you tune out relationships and lack balance in your life, you need to learn to control your hyperfocus.
Are you losing sleep because of hyperfocus? Sleep deprivation is another symptom of hyperfocus because the individual can’t sleep until the project is done.
Hyperfocused people can also be so focused on their one task that other tasks and priorities are neglected. They can miss deadlines or meetings because they are so engrossed in their hyperfocused state.
How to Control Hyperfocus
Luckily there are techniques to help you control hyperfocus so you can gain balance in your life:
- Identify the types of projects or subjects that trigger your hyperfocus.
- Don’t start anything you might become hyperfocused on when it is close to bedtime.
- Don’t start a triggering project if you have other tasks that you’re likely to put off.
- Be mindful and take breaks to disrupt concentration. It’s easy to get hyperfocused, so try to be aware of what and how you are doing.
- Do mindfulness training exercises to practice being fully present with those around you.
- Set alarms and time limits for activities that can trigger hyperfocus. When your alarm buzzes, it’s time for a break from your activity or project.
- Set short goals or priorities for each project, then take a break after you complete each one.
- If you recognize you are in hyperfocus, move or change position to bring you back to your surroundings.
- Engage in activities that promote social behavior.
- Have a friend or colleague call at specific times to break your hyperfocus.
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Loaded with scientifically backed ingredients to help you be more productive, Magic Mind is an excellent solution for people who struggle to stay present.
To help children control hyperfocus:
- Limit TV and video game time.
- Keep a regular schedule and routine.
- Help them recognize the signs of hyperfocus and how to stop it.
Utilizing Hyperfocus to Your Advantage
Once you understand how to control hyperfocus, you can use it to your advantage. By recognizing the triggers, you can prioritize your tasks and activities so that your relationships, work, and life find balance.
And by managing your hyperfocus, you can find a state of Flow where you can have a healthy heightened attention span without losing control of your actions or the loss of your environment.
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