Leo Babauta is doing it. Tim Ferriss is doing it. Even Seth Godin has been doing it. I’m talking about hyper-focusing, a technique that can turn you into an insanely productive, crazily over-delivering, and absurdly successful, go-getting maniac.
Project Work on Steroids
Hyper-focusing is a technique designed to clear out all distractions, to minimize the costs that occur from switching between tasks, and to lift your motivation to the stars by focusing exclusively and excessively on one single goal over a limited period of time.
Instead of evenly mixing web design, content building, and guest posting while building my blog, I focused almost completely on web design first, then on content building, and now I’m writing guest posts like a lunatic.
Instead of halfheartedly launching his first big business project after hours, the great Seth Godin skipped his university lectures and got the venture off the ground in what he calls a “sprint”.
Instead of studying French for 10 years at night school, you could move to France for one year and dedicate the whole of your days to learning the language.
Besides the advantages you get from your increased motivation and improved focus, you’ll also discover that concentrating on one thing only — and doing an unreasonably over-the-top job of it — often yields exponentially greater results.
But that’s still not all! The benefits of hyper-focusing go far beyond “just” super-charging your productivity. By immersing your whole self into the pursuit of one single goal, you create a whole new life experience — one that you’ll never again want to miss.
Hyper-focussing is mentally and emotionally challenging, but it’s not a terribly complicated thing to do. Nevertheless, there are a couple of guidelines you should follow to make sure your periods of abnormal focus become a ridiculous success:
1) Plan Meticulously
Limiting yourself to one goal in any given time-frame means going all out. If that goal later proves to have been the wrong thing to pursue at that particular moment, you’ll have wasted a lot of time.
That’s why it’s critical that you plan the sequence of your hyper-focus periods in advance. For example, it wouldn’t have made much sense for me to start guest posting like a mad-man before I had even set up a blog with good content myself.
2) Make Your Priorities a Priority
Hyper-focusing isn’t hyper-focusing if you don’t hyper-focus. While this may sound like the random utterance of a crazy person, it is, in fact, the very foundation of successfully applying this productivity technique.
You need to make the pursuit of your one goal your absolute top priority. Reserve the biggest and most productive chunk of your day for it, and treat this time as holy. All the maintenance work you must do to keep your life from falling apart should be organized around your priority tasks and ideally be dealt with later in the day.
If you don’t do this, then you don’t hyper-focus.
3) Allow for Relaxation
Throwing yourself into a project like there’s no tomorrow is awesome, but exhausting. Make sure to plan for a brief holiday after each period of hyper-focus. That way, you’ll be able to recover from your phase of supernatural productivity and be ready to tackle the next big thing full throttle as well.
Hyper-focusing requires that you approach a specific set of tasks with the mindset of a fanatic, and then add a pinch of obsession. To save you from losing your mind, schedule at least two sessions of physical exercise per week. They will allow you to let off steam and gain a fresh perspective from time to time.
Enjoy the Ride
Granted, hyper-focusing is not for everyone. You need that touch of madness, the uncontrollable craving to fall in love with a specific goal, and the outrageous ability to abandon it without shedding a tear when it’s time to move on to the next step.
But if that sounds like you, lean into it, and enjoy the roller coaster ride. There’s nothing like it.
Untemplaters, have you ever tried hyper-focusing? What are the biggest distractions you struggle with now?