Harness your hyper focus

ADHD Business Tips - Harness your hyperfocus

As an entrepreneur with ADHD, you’re likely all too familiar with the struggle of distractibility and lack of focus. But there’s a flip side to that coin that can be an incredible asset: the ability to laser in on tasks with intense, unwavering concentration known as hyper focus.

Hyper focus is a state of intense absorption where you become oblivious to everything around you as your brain zones in on the task at hand. It’s common among those with ADHD brains and can last for hours on end. During hyper focus, the rest of the world seems to fade away as you tackle your work with renewed clarity, energy and motivation.

The problem is that it’s usually a state we find ourselves in accidentally and we often “waste” it on topics or work that’s not actually important. That’s why finding ways to hack our hyper focus can have a huge pay off.

It’s not “normal” focus

Unlike regular focus which relies more on conscious effort, hyper focus feels effortless – you become completely absorbed in the task at hand. While incredibly valuable for productivity, hyper focus can also become an obsessive trap where you neglect basic needs like eating, sleeping or engaging with loved ones if left unchecked (more on that later). This dichotomy of laser-focus married with the risk of going too far makes hyper focus both a blessing and a curse for the ADHD brain.

While getting stuck in hyper focus has it’s downsides, it can be an entrepreneurial superpower when leveraged strategically. The razor-sharp focus allows you to dive deep into complex challenges, churn through work at lightning speed, and generate innovative ideas and solutions. Many successful entrepreneurs with ADHD have harnessed their hyper focus abilities to launch businesses, develop products and disrupt industries.

Intentional hyper focus

While hyper focus can arrive spontaneously (read: accidentally) when you happen upon something highly engaging, there are strategies to intentionally induce these laser-focused states when you need to tackle crucial tasks or projects. Being able to summon hyper focus on-demand is an enormously powerful ability for an entrepreneur.

So how can you intentionally trigger and take advantage of your hyper focus abilities? First, it can be helpful to understand the neuroscience behind it. The ability to hyper focus is thought to stem from the unique neurological wiring of the ADHD brain. We tend to have lower levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in motivation, attention, and concentration. However, when presented with a highly engaging task, the ADHD brain can release a surge of dopamine and other focus-enhancing neurochemicals like norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter flood allows the brain to become hyper-focused and tune out all distractions.

Your ideal work

To induce a state of hyper focus, look for projects that you find exciting and meaningful – tackling passion projects you care about deeply can be an easy route to hyper focus. It can be helpful to start by identifying the types of work that tend to draw you into a hyper-focused zone. For many with ADHD, it’s tasks that are novel, creative, personally meaningful, or slightly out of your comfort zone that act as the biggest concentration bait, so seek out projects rich in these motivating elements.

Ideally, you’ll want to leverage your hyper focus times wisely on high-value activities. Save busy work for when you’re naturally more unfocused. Prioritise creative projects, difficult challenges, and critical milestones for when you can give them your full, distraction-free attention.

Your ideal environment

The right environment can help minimise external disruptions and facilitate you slipping into those coveted laser-focused zones, so it’s worthwhile spending time to create an environment tailored to your preferences.

Think unconventionally about your workspace setup. For some, a traditional office environment is too stifling and brimming with distractions to allow real focus to take hold. Experiment with different locales like outdoor settings, coffee shops, libraries or co-working spaces. An environmental shift can help jolt you into a different headspace. Or build yourself a backyard office pod or garden shed workspace for a quiet, insulated space.

Keep sensory inputs in mind as well. Level of sensory stimulation can make or break your ability to hyper focus. Pay attention to factors like lighting, sound, temperature and even smell. Adjust accordingly to find your ideal settings. Do you concentrate best with ambient noise like music or café chatter? Or do you require total silence to minimise distractions? Fidget objects like stress balls can also provide a sensory outlet for restlessness.

Consider tools to structure your environment. Use noise-cancelling headphones, blue-light blocking glasses, calming essential oil diffusers, white noise machines or make a playlist of focus-enhancing binaural beats and sounds.

Even small environmental hacks can also work wonders. For example, facing away from windows can prevent you from getting distracted by any movements outside. Or surround yourself with inspirational objects that speak to your passion and reinforce your motivation.

The key is to experiment continually and get creative until you’ve moulded an environment tailored to facilitate your hyper focus. When all the elements from sensory inputs to spatial setup are just right for you personally, you’ll find it infinitely easier to sink into those satisfying bouts of profound concentration and productive flow.

More tips to harness your hyper focus

Here are a few other things to consider when you’re setting yourself up for hyper-focus-success:

Add time pressure or create urgent stakes. Implementing tight deadlines or lining up commitments with consequences can make your brain treat tasks as a priority worthy of hyper focus. Make use of tools like website blockers to forcibly restrict distractions during key time periods.

🤓 Prepare for work sessions with focus-enhancing rituals. For example, listen to specific music, do breathing exercises, or visualise getting “in the zone.” Creating cognitive patterns can cue your brain over time. 

🥗 Make sure your body’s needs are met first. Poor sleep, hunger, dehydration, and other physiological factors can zap your ability to concentrate. Attending to basic needs first allows hyper focus to take hold more easily.

By understanding what environments and mental triggers facilitate hyper focus for you personally, you can strategically summon this state of profound concentration and unbeatable productivity as needed. It’s an incredibly powerful skill for any entrepreneur navigating the demands of business ownership.

Don’t get stuck!

As I mentioned earlier, because hyper focus has the potential to become an obsessive trap where you neglect to eat, sleep or handle crucial responsibilities it’s important to exercise some caution. Building in regular breaks and prompts to regain awareness can prevent going too far down the rabbit hole. Try the Pomodoro technique of working for 25 (or more) focused minutes followed by 5-minute breaks or simply set a timer or alarm when you start to ensure you have an end point if you need one. And be sure to balance your hyper focus sessions with organisational systems and routines to keep other areas of your work and life on track.


The 5-Minute Prep Ritual

One simple but effective way to prime yourself for hyper focus is to create a short pre-work ritual or routine. This provides mental cues to flip the switch into an intensely focused mindset.

The ritual can be as short as you like but should include a sequence of steps that become associated with transitioning into a distraction-free, hyper-concentrated state. The routine brings awareness to the intention of focused work ahead.

Here’s an example 5-minute hyper focus prep ritual to try:

  1. Set a timer or reminder for 90 minutes from now. This creates a time-box for your hyperfocus session.
  2. Do 2 minutes of deep breathing exercises to clear your mind.
  3. Write down the most important task or project you need to accomplish during this focus period.
  4. Put on noise-cancelling headphones and launch a “focus” playlist with ambient background music.
  5. Recite a short positive mantra about channelling focus like “I have unlimited concentration available to me.”

After running through those steps, you’ve created separation from previous activities, centred your mind, articulated your priority for the upcoming focus session, and established environmental cues like music that your brain will begin to associate with hyper focus going forward.

The beauty is you can customise your 5-minute ritual to incorporate whichever focus-enhancing elements work best for your own neurology and needs. The key is making it a consistent sequence you go through each time you need to tap into your deepest powers of concentration.

Over time, simply initiating the first step of your ritual can set off a trigger response in your brain, rallying the neurochemicals and mindset required for hyper focus to take over. It’s a practical, bite-sized way for busy ADHD entrepreneurs to more reliably summon their superhuman powers of focus and productivity.

When you’re running a business with ADHD, your hyper focus abilities can be a true gift. While conventional focus and attention to detail may be more difficult for you at times, you possess the remarkable ability to become completely consumed by challenging and interesting work for hours on end. By harnessing your hyper focus strategically while implementing routines for balance, you can unlock profound productivity and breakthrough results.

So, if you constantly struggle with distractions and lack of focus, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, identify the tasks and projects you find most intriguing and use that motivation to induce your secret hyper focus weapon. With intense concentration comes the power to churn through vast workloads and generate your most innovative entrepreneurial ideas yet. Hyper focus can truly be an entrepreneurial superpower when we learn how to leverage it effectively.

Until next week,

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