I still remember what I said when someone suggested I had ADHD.
I can't have ADHD, I have no problem focusing on things when they are interesting. I can stay focused for hours!
— naive misinformed Jesse
Looking back, it sounds so silly.
Hyperfocus is when you focus intently on things you find interesting, often to the point of losing track of everything else. You become so hyperfocused on one thing that you lose track of even important things like "have I eaten today?" and "I should probably go to the bathroom."
It becomes all consuming, and it's a prime symptom of ADHD.
It's definitely a double-edged sword. When you can "harness" the power of hyperfocus, look out world! Nothing can stop you and you can get 10x the amount of work done as other people.
But this does two things that can hold us back:
We get so focused on the one thing that we lose track of anything else important (projects, people, bodily functions)
It gives us unrealistic expectations of our own performance and ability to get things done
Not to mention, hyperfocus often leaves in a blaze of glory—hello burnout and overwhelm. And suddenly it feels impossible to do even simple tasks or rekindle our interest.
Then you might beat yourself up thinking back to the season of hyperfocus and wondering why you can't match that level of performance.
Try to remember that hyperfocus performance isn't your "norm" and don't beat yourself up when it can't be attained.
But you can certainly enjoy it when it's around!
Jesse J. Anderson
I'm writing a book on ADHD tentatively titled "Refocus"!
Check out the preview site where you can join the waitlist, view the table of contents, or even contribute.
🚶♀️📝 My mind is always playing a cruel game of stuck in the mud. Have you ever experienced the paralysis of not doing anything and just wishing you could do something, anything? Emma King writes about her experience of dealing with the anger and disappointment of not feeling in control of your motivation, and the struggle when your brain just says "no."
🩺📝 Are You Living With Undiagnosed Adult ADHD? This Lifehacker interview with Terry Matlen is a great overview on how so many adults with ADHD still live undiagnosed.
Quote of the week
When a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.
— Alexander Den Heijer