I received an unexpected gift from my friend Sami Ergin in March of this year. He said it was a super late Christmas gift, and I find it very sweet and thoughtful. His present is a book called, "Hyperfocus: How to work less and achieve more" by Chris Bailey.

I want to share my experience reading the book. Some books in our life deserve to share not because they're best sellers or written by a famous author, for example. But because you felt connected with the words and the message that was trying to tell you.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to share this book with my friends in Clubhouse (a drop-in audio social app). We share personal thoughts and comparisons on understanding Hyperfocus vs. Scatterfocus and know the book's benefits in our daily lives.

The book is divided into two parts Hyperfocus and Scatterfocus.

Hyperfocus or being productive by devoting all your attention to completing a task. Scatterfocus is where you allow your mind to wander, which supports your creativity and helps you recharge.

Chris Bailey is a Canadian writer and productivity consultant. He wrote Hyperfocus in 2018 and The Productivity Project in 2016, published in eleven languages.

Bailey advised us on how to focus better on reading the book.

  • Put your phone out of sight.
  • Mind your environment.
  • Make a distractions list.
  • The question is whether this book is worth consuming at all.
  • Consume some caffeine before reading.
  • Grab a pen or highlighter.
  • When you notice your focus is wavering.

But when it comes to our daily tasks, how do we determine which takes priority over the other? How do we promptly complete said task with even more time to spare?

For the book Hyperfocus, he conducted a yearlong research experiment to determine how people can be as productive as possible daily in a world with nonstop technology distractions.

First, he broke it down into four categories, the types of tasks.

  • Necessary work.
  • Unnecessary work.
  • Distracting work.
  • Purposeful work.

The question is, is it to realize the limits of your attention? Yes, each of us has a different level of attention span, and there's a limit to how many things we can focus on. Knowing what you're thinking about is one of the best practices for managing your attention.

Distraction is a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something specific. Bailey talked about distractions, which were also divided into four types:

  • No control annoying.
  • No control fun.
  • Control annoying.
  • Control fun.

What is Hyperfocus?

Hyperfocus is one task that fills your entire attention space. This is a task that is probably at a comfortable level of difficulty. Personally, I struggle with this.

For Bailey, entering Hyperfocus is challenging but possible. It makes us wholly dedicated and immersed in our work, and happier.

  • Choose a meaningful subject of attention - setting your intention is the most important thing to start with.
  • Eliminate as many external and internal distractions as you can.
  • Focus on that chosen subject of attention - set a reasonable time so you have a clear start and end.
  • Continue to bring your attention back to that subject of attention - draw your attention when your mind wanders.

I pick two things to focus on. It is challenging for me to multitask. It is probably easy and exciting for some people, but for me, no. Even completing one task is a big deal.

I learned that when setting an intention, ensure it has when and where you'll do it. For example, “Go for a walk” becomes “Schedule and go for a walk on Sundays after lunch.”

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

What is Scatterfocus?

According to Bailey, scatterfocus is when you intentionally rest your brain and allow it to wander. In doing so, you casually tap into that hidden creative mode that's always been there. You could be more creative than ever by training your brain to do the purposeful wandering.

It is your brain's most creative mode. You activate it by consciously letting your mind wander.

Knowing that you're in a scatterfocus mode is exciting, and Bailey mentioned three styles that resonate with me a lot.

  • Capture mode: letting your mind roam freely and capturing whatever comes up.
  • Problem-crunching mode: Holding a problem loosely in your mind and letting your thoughts wander around it.
  • Habitual mode: engaging in a simple task and capturing the ideas that arise (this is the most potent mode).

The fun part about this is that now I know I’m always on scatterfocus mode (not that I’m always creative), and these three styles activate simultaneously within just an hour.

When I write, I usually open my notebook, let my mind wander, and write whatever comes up. And, when I get distracted by a particular issue or problem, I pull my thoughts back and solve the problem even if sometimes it doesn't make sense. It's fun because it expands my attentional space.

I highly recommend this book; it offers advice and suggestions to maintain and control focus, determine our priorities, and minimize interruptions to increase productivity.

You can increase focus and improve your attention span by reducing your time on the internet, letting your attention wander, and focusing on building a quality attention span.

Bailey also recommends meditating daily to increase productivity and setting intentions daily, weekly, and yearly.

Research shows that positive thinking doesn't make you happy. Instead, it allows you to feel and react in a balanced and productive way.

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

Set your system and focus on the system, not the result.