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Hyperfocus: The New Science of Attention, Productivity, and Creativity

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A practical guide to managing your attention--the most powerful resource you have to get stuff done, become more creative, and live a meaningful life Our attention has never been as overwhelmed as it is today. Many of us recognize that our brains are unable to multitask but feel compelled to do so anyway, as we easily become uncomfortable and try to cram as much into every A practical guide to managing your attention--the most powerful resource you have to get stuff done, become more creative, and live a meaningful life Our attention has never been as overwhelmed as it is today. Many of us recognize that our brains are unable to multitask but feel compelled to do so anyway, as we easily become uncomfortable and try to cram as much into every moment of our lives as we can. Hyperfocus provides profound insights into how we can best manage our attention in a distressed world. The most recent neuroscientific research on attention reveals that our brain has two powerful modes that can be unlocked when we use our attention well: a focused mode (hyperfocus), which is the foundation for being highly productive, and a creative mode (scatterfocus), which enables us to connect ideas in novel ways. Hyperfocus helps readers unlock each of the two mental modes so they can concentrate more deeply, think more clearly, and work and live more deliberately every day. Chris Bailey examines such topics as the four key types of distraction and interruption; establishing a clear physical and mental environment in which to work; managing motivation; and learning when to pay attention and when to let your attention wander usefully. As timely as it is enlightening--and as informative as it is entertaining--Hyperfocus will transform how readers think about and manage their attention on a daily basis.


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A practical guide to managing your attention--the most powerful resource you have to get stuff done, become more creative, and live a meaningful life Our attention has never been as overwhelmed as it is today. Many of us recognize that our brains are unable to multitask but feel compelled to do so anyway, as we easily become uncomfortable and try to cram as much into every A practical guide to managing your attention--the most powerful resource you have to get stuff done, become more creative, and live a meaningful life Our attention has never been as overwhelmed as it is today. Many of us recognize that our brains are unable to multitask but feel compelled to do so anyway, as we easily become uncomfortable and try to cram as much into every moment of our lives as we can. Hyperfocus provides profound insights into how we can best manage our attention in a distressed world. The most recent neuroscientific research on attention reveals that our brain has two powerful modes that can be unlocked when we use our attention well: a focused mode (hyperfocus), which is the foundation for being highly productive, and a creative mode (scatterfocus), which enables us to connect ideas in novel ways. Hyperfocus helps readers unlock each of the two mental modes so they can concentrate more deeply, think more clearly, and work and live more deliberately every day. Chris Bailey examines such topics as the four key types of distraction and interruption; establishing a clear physical and mental environment in which to work; managing motivation; and learning when to pay attention and when to let your attention wander usefully. As timely as it is enlightening--and as informative as it is entertaining--Hyperfocus will transform how readers think about and manage their attention on a daily basis.

30 review for Hyperfocus: The New Science of Attention, Productivity, and Creativity

  1. 5 out of 5

    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 notifications on your phone, 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

  2. 4 out of 5

    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 (and anything else) that could co 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stef

    Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey caught my attention because it spoke to me a student with ADHD. I now wish I left the book at the store. Let me tell you why... The book is based on a bunch of researches. Most of them aren't explained properly and are just statistics out of context. The actual research is never explained and the headlines of the researches are used as anecdotes. The write up between them is horrible. Bailey constantly showboats his ability to write a lot of words in small periods of ti Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey caught my attention because it spoke to me a student with ADHD. I now wish I left the book at the store. Let me tell you why... The book is based on a bunch of researches. Most of them aren't explained properly and are just statistics out of context. The actual research is never explained and the headlines of the researches are used as anecdotes. The write up between them is horrible. Bailey constantly showboats his ability to write a lot of words in small periods of time because of the use of his methods. I can't argue with this, because I don't know the speed at which the book was written. But in my opinion, it's all about quality and not about quantity. And the book absolutely lacks it. Chapters aren't exclusive and sentences are often repeated. Sometimes even whole parts and anecdotes are repeated. And even the repeated parts ain't worth repeating. Sentences aren't straight forward. Bailey turns simple tips into 4 page ones, without adding value. When some tips offer real value and are good, they are lost in a sea of unnecessary cheap talk. Other tips are just plain stupid or don't apply to most of us. Tips like, 'Hit the gym or the sleeping room at your work'. I don't see most companies offering a sleeping room in their building. Tips like 'Put your phone away and unplug your lan cable.' aren't that great working in sales or IT and tips about how meetings are setup and who should be present aren't applied to most of us, because guess what Mr Bailey... Most of us aren't writers and can't get these privileges but listen to their boss. This is the real pain point of the book. The book is written from a bunch of random researches, patched together by some very personal perspectives. Everything is written from a single perspective. Its written by, and for, people like Bailey. And it seems Bailey loves to hear himself talking. Its all about how he likes a cup of coffee, how he loves this coffee place, his meditation and Ed Sheeran. For me this book is a definite no go. I read it completely and at the end of the book it said "Invest your time wisely." and I felt like I hadn't been doing the same. I wouldn't advise anyone to buy it and I wouldn't even advise you to torrent it. The actual value of this book was to me practically non existent. The few good tips in the book don't weigh up against the nonsense the book is patched together with.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    At first, I didn’t think much of the book, but now having read this far, currently I’m on p.77 I can honestly say that the book is certainly adding to me and challenging me to get better in my productivity and taming my distractions. I have always hoped to get some practical pieces of advice on how to improve and this book meets this need, and how timely. I’m reading this because I obviously need it and every bit of reminder I can get my hands on ;). If I focus deeply on just one important thing At first, I didn’t think much of the book, but now having read this far, currently I’m on p.77 I can honestly say that the book is certainly adding to me and challenging me to get better in my productivity and taming my distractions. I have always hoped to get some practical pieces of advice on how to improve and this book meets this need, and how timely. I’m reading this because I obviously need it and every bit of reminder I can get my hands on ;). If I focus deeply on just one important thing at a time that is called hyperfocusing here, when it’s really just focusing. By doing that I become the most productive version of myself. I need to direct my attention toward the most important object of my choosing and sustain that attention. I am what I pay attention to. I’m what I contemplate. I become what I get focused on. To be continued …

  6. 4 out of 5

    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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    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. 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Jarmula

    This past year of grad school was my own personal hell, and in the intensely toxic culture of academia I internalized a lot of really horrible beliefs about productivity which resulted in a truly awful period of burnout once I finished. I am still unlearning a lot of things, and I wish I had read this book a lot sooner. It made me feel a lot more forgiving towards myself when I was feeling burnout, especially in how I was struggling to focus on things. This book clarified a lot that I had been t This past year of grad school was my own personal hell, and in the intensely toxic culture of academia I internalized a lot of really horrible beliefs about productivity which resulted in a truly awful period of burnout once I finished. I am still unlearning a lot of things, and I wish I had read this book a lot sooner. It made me feel a lot more forgiving towards myself when I was feeling burnout, especially in how I was struggling to focus on things. This book clarified a lot that I had been thinking about throughout my time in grad school and afterwards, and is a wise guide to rethinking focus.

  10. 4 out of 5

    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. 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rakshith Kunchum

    I would give it more stars if I could! This is book is extremely good in understanding your brain and hacking your way into improving its productivity. The author is more scientific in his approach and less like a motivational speaker! This makes the book even more interesting and engaging. I have pages of notes made from this is book and I wish to follow these to the dot and confirm all the productivity claims made by the author. More importantly the book presents better practical ways to recover I would give it more stars if I could! This is book is extremely good in understanding your brain and hacking your way into improving its productivity. The author is more scientific in his approach and less like a motivational speaker! This makes the book even more interesting and engaging. I have pages of notes made from this is book and I wish to follow these to the dot and confirm all the productivity claims made by the author. More importantly the book presents better practical ways to recover from mental fatigue, which most other authors try to do the same thing with grandiose quotations. Like most other self help books, reading them is only 10% of the task. Following them is the rest 90%.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jacobo Carballada

    The book could be summarized in 20 pages, but the guy repeats over and over the same ideas. You get a couple of good tips, it is the first book I read about this topic so for me it was interesting but the style of the author repeating himself it is tiring.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nopadol Rompho

    I love the concept of this book. It helps me improve my focus. But for some reasons, I found that it is hard to focus when I read this book. Don't know why, perhaps I should apply knowledge obtained from this book while I was reading it. I love the concept of this book. It helps me improve my focus. But for some reasons, I found that it is hard to focus when I read this book. Don't know why, perhaps I should apply knowledge obtained from this book while I was reading it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    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! 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!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aman RANA

    ✍️A book to build focus and focus habits, how we can focus more on tasks we do in our daily life. But not every task we do needs hyper focus, some are essential tasks and some are not, so the hyper focus is for the few and essential tasks we do in daily life. I like how author has explaind things briefly and in sections, tips to devide our tasks into 4 categories. 1. ( productive ) Necessary work 2. ( productive ) Purposefull work 3. ( unproductive ) Unnecessary work 4. ( unproducitve ) Distracting wo ✍️A book to build focus and focus habits, how we can focus more on tasks we do in our daily life. But not every task we do needs hyper focus, some are essential tasks and some are not, so the hyper focus is for the few and essential tasks we do in daily life. I like how author has explaind things briefly and in sections, tips to devide our tasks into 4 categories. 1. ( productive ) Necessary work 2. ( productive ) Purposefull work 3. ( unproductive ) Unnecessary work 4. ( unproducitve ) Distracting work ✍️we can simply identify what's right for us to do by putting works in these for categories, i actually did this, and it works. It helps me to know what's right thing to do at what time. Also book has explained how multitasking works and in which cases. 🤷‍♂️Now about if this book your time or not? ✍️i'll suggest you to read this book if you haven't or you want to control procractination. Book has good tips that helps to learn how to built good focus, or how to consantrate on one tasks at a time. there's more tips on setting reminders in phone or somewhere else, so you can keep your head empty and an empty head is every read to give it's 100% Now what i don't like about the book? you can put this book down after reading 1st five chapters, i found them very common tips that most of us already know, so why waste time, you can read them of you're a beginner these chapters would be really help full for you. 🖤let's make this review short save your time ( it's precious )

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tõnu Vahtra

    Meta awareness - the new word that I discovered from this book and already added to my vocabulary for the confusion of several people. Chris Bailey is aggregating and reviewing productivity methods and tools (also in his book The Productivity Project). Since I have been reading high number of books on productivity and focus myself then it's difficult to find something completely new and novel but the book definitely acts as a focus-check for your daily unconscious productivity/focus inhibitors a Meta awareness - the new word that I discovered from this book and already added to my vocabulary for the confusion of several people. Chris Bailey is aggregating and reviewing productivity methods and tools (also in his book The Productivity Project). Since I have been reading high number of books on productivity and focus myself then it's difficult to find something completely new and novel but the book definitely acts as a focus-check for your daily unconscious productivity/focus inhibitors and the small tweaks that improve your focus and limit procrastination (i.e. disabling all sorts of notifications). The book is discussing both hyperfocus and scatterfocus and this is the first time I hear such term being used (I would also refer to serendipity here). So if you have been reading a lot of such books then it's an OK summary/reminder and if you have not yet then read this book. Hyperfocus is the state when one task fills your entire attention space. A task that is hard but not impossible. A task that makes us completely immersed in our work and happier as a result of that. Entering 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 Scatterfocus- brain's most creative mode, you activate it by deliberately letting your mind wander. 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 (the most powerful mode). I'm doing this when cleaning the house, cutting the grass or working in the greenhouse/garden. Tactics for improving focus: * 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 (i.e. flying in a plane) * 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. * Grab a pen or highlighter and actually write in the book that you’re reading to actively consume the information. I sometimes do this in addition to listening to audiobook and reading it in parallel. * Notice when your focus wavers. If it does, take a break doing a mindless task to recharge your attention. Four types of tasks: * Necessary work - unattractive yet productive (we only do these when we have a deadline) * Unnecessary work - unattractive and unproductive (typically we use these tasks to procrastinate) * Distracting work - attractive and unproductive tasks (e.g. social networks) * Purposeful work - attractive and productive 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ivy Samuel

    This was a book and half. I hated every word. It's a popular book, so maybe it's because I hate being lectured and told what to do. This was six and half hours of torture. The author droning on and on in a throwback to my mother during my teenage years. Pay attention, don't waste your time, even your leisure time can be useful, do something productive... The reading is horrible. He "acts" through each sentence. So "spending time doing something productive will make you happy" (upbeat with a laug This was a book and half. I hated every word. It's a popular book, so maybe it's because I hate being lectured and told what to do. This was six and half hours of torture. The author droning on and on in a throwback to my mother during my teenage years. Pay attention, don't waste your time, even your leisure time can be useful, do something productive... The reading is horrible. He "acts" through each sentence. So "spending time doing something productive will make you happy" (upbeat with a laughing voice), and "wasting your time on unproductive tasks will make you sad" (depressed, sad voice) all in one sentence. I can't remember how I even chose this book. Has to be one of three reasons: my fat fingers, my blurry eyesight, or shopping on the edge of sleep.

  18. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    In my ongoing quest to become a more productive and disciplined human being, I recently picked up Chris Bailey’s book, “Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction”. Like most people, I occasionally struggle with focusing on an important task and more than once have found myself at the end of the day having not checked off a single item on my to do list. In his book, Bailey provides some useful insights to help people like you and me free ourselves from distractions and impro In my ongoing quest to become a more productive and disciplined human being, I recently picked up Chris Bailey’s book, “Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction”. Like most people, I occasionally struggle with focusing on an important task and more than once have found myself at the end of the day having not checked off a single item on my to do list. In his book, Bailey provides some useful insights to help people like you and me free ourselves from distractions and improve our productivity. Since finishing the book, I have put into practice some of his suggestions and have already seen a jump in my productivity. However, before I get into the details, I feel like I need to clarify that Bailey relies heavily on the research and writing of other productivity experts. Beyond experimenting on himself, I don’t think that he has done any original research. So keep in mind that this is just one man’s (well informed) opinion. There is nothing groundbreaking here. OK, on to the heart of the matter. In “Hyperfocus”, Bailey shares his four step approach for achieving a state of “intense focus with deliberate attention”. The main idea here is that we can control our internal and external environments in such a way that we are able to focus all of our mental energy (what Bailey calls “attentional space”) on a single task. While in this state of hyperfocus, we can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time and with greater results. Not to be confused with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “Flow”, Bailey claims that hyperfocus is the mental state that precedes flow. In other words, by following the principles of hyperfocus, you are more likely to slip into a state of flow. So how does it work? There are four easy steps (again, nothing earth shattering here): 1. Chose an object of focus – This is the most important step in Bailey’s opinion because “productivity is not about doing more each day, it’s about doing the right things at the right time”. 2. Eliminate as many internal and external distractions as you can – This involves steps such as turning off the TV or music, making sure you are comfortable and well rested, and most importantly… putting your smart phone in a different room (more on this later). 3. Focus on your chosen object of attention for a pre-determined amount of time – Set a timer and don’t stop before it goes off. 4. Continually draw your attention back to that object of focus – Here was something novel that I found useful. When your mind begins to wander (as it inevitably will) note what you are thinking on a piece of paper and set it aside. This allows you to get the idea out of your way and ensures that you won’t worry about remembering it later. I’ve found this one to be especially useful, as I am always worried that I will forget a good idea unless I act on it immediately. That’s it! When you follow the steps above, you set yourself up to achieve hyperfocus and potentially even fall into a state of flow. I know it sounds simple, and that may lead some to dismiss it outright. But take an honest assessment and ask yourself, when was the last time you did all four of these things, and how did your productivity improve as a result? If you haven’t ever tried all four of these practices at once, what have you got to lose? Taking the concept of hyperfocus one step further, Bailey explored the benefits of implementing these principles while at work. Did you know that the average knowledge worker (i.e. sits at a computer all day) switches between computer applications 566 times in an average work day?! Think about that for a minute. If you work an 8 hour day (480 minutes), you are shifting your attention from one thing to another more than once per minute! How in the world can that be productive? One of the main culprits behind this phenomenon is our email, which consumes far more of our attention than it really warrants. I learned in this book that 70% of work emails are opened within 6 seconds of being received! People… unless you have your finger on the nuclear launch codes, you can afford to wait a few minutes before you check your email! (I know… I’m guilty of it too.) I experimented with this at work the other day, only opening my email once each hour. At first, I felt a little anxious that I was going to miss something… but let me tell you, I blew through my to do list before lunch! It was awesome, and I’m definitely going to be doing more of that in the future. Now, a word on smart phones. Bailey’s book really called attention to how much of a distraction our smart phones can be. The problem is, our smart phone allows us to always feel busy. We check it in line at the grocery store, while riding an elevator, or even during pauses in a conversation. But being busy is not the same as being productive! While reading this book, I took an honest assessment of how I had used my phone in the previous 24 hours, and most of what I used it for was just to distract myself from getting bored with doing what I was supposed to be doing. I really came away from this exercise with an understanding of one of the main points of the book: “Your smart phone is a productivity black hole that sits in your pocket”. I’m definitely going to be making some changes in the near future. To wrap this up, Chris Bailey’s book “Hyperfocus” gave me a good reminder that there are simple things I can do to dramatically improve my productivity. Again, none of this is groundbreaking stuff, but most of us need an occasional reminder that we can be doing a little bit better. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who feels like they are always busy and never accomplishing enough!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jyoti

    It's a good book. I listened to its audiobook and Chris has narrated it really well. It was engaging, helpful and interesting. Highly recommend it. It's a good book. I listened to its audiobook and Chris has narrated it really well. It was engaging, helpful and interesting. Highly recommend it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Manal Omar

    An overall helpful and eye-opening read. Good insights and interesting experiments and studies. I liked the concepts it presented.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Some great tips on how to effectively focus, and surprising advice on letting your mind wander. Could’ve been a bit shorter, but has some great tips and lessons to keep with you.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    A great book you must read. It explains how we loose focus all the time and how much time we waste by getting distracted – it is an awful lot of time. The book shows you ways to keep focused and get a lot more done in a time slot. Even better, it explains you how you can distract yourself on purpose. What sounds stupid is necessary to boost your creativity and to come up with new ideas. We need both modes of our brain and with the exercises in this book we can get a lot more done.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dora

    Bailey did not disappoint me, as I expected. Apart from the many interesting findings and statistics he includes in the book to support his ideas and personal experiments with productivity (kudos on that!), I greatly appreciated the sections that explain the benefits of meditation for increasing focus and the suggestion to divide your work into the intentional-unintentional-purposeful-distracting diagram, which could greatly improve the way we look at tasks and prioritize them. There are, of cou Bailey did not disappoint me, as I expected. Apart from the many interesting findings and statistics he includes in the book to support his ideas and personal experiments with productivity (kudos on that!), I greatly appreciated the sections that explain the benefits of meditation for increasing focus and the suggestion to divide your work into the intentional-unintentional-purposeful-distracting diagram, which could greatly improve the way we look at tasks and prioritize them. There are, of course, many other gems in the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    JP

    Hyperfocus assembles all of the latest and longstanding insights about how our brain can use focused attention and open awareness to solve problems and invent new possibilities. We've long been riding modern tools on a path that diverges from our evolutionary roots. Email and cell phones have accelerated that divergence substantially. Throughout this book, Bailey leverages a simple model about our mindshare to illustrate the benefits of using hyperfocus and "scatterfocus" to be intentional and c Hyperfocus assembles all of the latest and longstanding insights about how our brain can use focused attention and open awareness to solve problems and invent new possibilities. We've long been riding modern tools on a path that diverges from our evolutionary roots. Email and cell phones have accelerated that divergence substantially. Throughout this book, Bailey leverages a simple model about our mindshare to illustrate the benefits of using hyperfocus and "scatterfocus" to be intentional and creative. I was already more conservative about my phone use than most people, and now I'm inspired to be even more selective about how I use all my time. This book would especially benefit students who have grown up digital natives, not to mention anyone scared by the idea of being alone with their own thoughts.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pat Camalliere

    Heard the author on the radio and the book sounded like something helpful for a household that has two aging people, one who had a recent stroke. I found the book interesting but not life-changing. It seems my habits have developed over the years to have discovered almost all the tactics that are recommended, many of which I do and others I believe I should do. The book was of value to me nonetheless because it validated my habits and routines, and it explained why they work in a way I hadn’t ta Heard the author on the radio and the book sounded like something helpful for a household that has two aging people, one who had a recent stroke. I found the book interesting but not life-changing. It seems my habits have developed over the years to have discovered almost all the tactics that are recommended, many of which I do and others I believe I should do. The book was of value to me nonetheless because it validated my habits and routines, and it explained why they work in a way I hadn’t taken the time to consider. I would recommend this book to people who want to organize their productivity in accord with their brain’s capabilities. I might suspect, however, that many people will fall into two categories: those that are already following most of the advice within, and those who probably won’t make the effort. Which is a shame…

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex Fürstenau

    I like his reading style and I like his attitude (check out his Podcast, it's interesting and funny and you get to know his fiancé). Back to the book: It's basically divided in two parts. The first is about Hyperfocus (hence the title) and the second part is about scatterfocus (the counterpart if you will). I didn't find too many new things in the first part but it was absolutely worth reading the second part (and experimenting with his ideas). I like his reading style and I like his attitude (check out his Podcast, it's interesting and funny and you get to know his fiancé). Back to the book: It's basically divided in two parts. The first is about Hyperfocus (hence the title) and the second part is about scatterfocus (the counterpart if you will). I didn't find too many new things in the first part but it was absolutely worth reading the second part (and experimenting with his ideas).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fabricio Rigotto

    Very good reading on a tired subject I am an executive with more than 20 years of experience. I often find this kind of book inaccurate or simply boring. This one is neither! I am enjoying increased productivity and meaningful life just by implementing a few tips. Read this!!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Max Hristov

    Very charming and easy to read, extremely useful, so much so that I re-read it. Really realistic with expectations and highly relatable- hard to see how anyone can read it and not take away a thing or two

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linnéa

    It was fine if you've never read anything else about productivity, but there aren't any particularly novel ideas. He really reiterated the points that didn't need quite that much repetition. It was fine if you've never read anything else about productivity, but there aren't any particularly novel ideas. He really reiterated the points that didn't need quite that much repetition.

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