Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction – Book by Chris Bailey

Key takeaways:

Often people have told me that we need to manage time to increase our productivity. However, this book lays down on the idea that one should ‘manage the attention’ for managing productivity.

The mechanics suggested by the author to manage attention is to hyperfocus (i.e., to maximize productivity) and to scatter focus (i.e., to maximize creativity). At first, the idea of hyperfocus is discussed, then the author’s moves on to explain the benefits of scatter focus (also known as intentional mind wander) to improve creativity and to enhance energy level.

HYPERFOCUS MODE: One can focus on a limited number of tasks at a time. Hence,

  • Choose when to focus
  • Choose what to focus on
  • Limit and manage distractions
  • Focus for a set period
  • Maintain the focus

SCATTER FOCUS: During intentional mind wandering, one leaves a lot of space in working memory to let in wander. The author did mention that mind-wandering is only bad during the Hyperfocus stage. Otherwise, it has several benefits as it may help plan for the future, increase creativity or recharge the brain, and take a rest.

The author suggests some mechanics of intentional mind wandering like scheduling time to record ideas, focusing on easy tasks during certain phases etc.

The author also reflects why we need proper rest to increase our productivity. Also, certain methods of triggering creative insights are discussed in the book, some of which are:

  • Intentional mind wandering in a busy environment (like busy cafe, train station etc.)
  • Delaying the decision where situation permits: If more time is given to mind to wander, more would be the possibility of finding an innovative solution
  • Sleep on it: Sleep is more or less like intentional mind wandering, and sleeping over certain thoughts may trigger creative insights
  • Zeigarnik effect: When we leave a certain task and move to an easy one, the brain will try to encounter the unresolved task, looking for solving it.


The views in all sections are personal views of the author.