Book Review: Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

Staying focused on important tasks has become increasingly difficult in today’s fast-paced world, where numerous distractions constantly vie for our attention. In his latest book, Hyperfocus (2018), Chris Bailey lays out a plan to sharpen your attention and boost your performance in order to succeed.

In his method, he uses two techniques – Hyperfocus and Scatterfocus. Together, they help the mind focus on what is important while doing what needs to be done. Anyone can take advantage of Hyperfocus and Scatterfocus if they make the effort, and Bailey presents a simple strategy for doing so.

You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.

At the end of this book review, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Lesson 1: Attentional space is the mental capacity that allows a person to process things and focus on them at present.

The ability to concentrate and remember information in the here and now is called “attention space.” Tasks take up more or less of this space depending on their complexity. For example, routine tasks generally take up much less space than complicated tasks that require much more mental effort.

There are two categories of multitasking that work well together. The first category involves performing some routine tasks simultaneously, such as listening to music while jogging and monitoring heart rate. The second type of multitasking involves doing two different things at the same time, but requiring the same level of concentration.

In addition, a complex task that requires a high level of concentration may take up all of one’s attention, such as attending a work meeting.

Tasks become more tedious when your attention is distracted by too many things. To avoid this, you should focus and eliminate all potential sources of distraction.

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Lesson 2: Increasing your productivity comes from focusing on fewer tasks at a time.

When a person is hyperfocused on a single task, that task fills his entire field of consciousness. This stage is reached by training one’s attention with conscious intent. By focusing on fewer things at once, you can increase your productivity.

The process of hyperfocusing takes place in four steps: you decide what to focus on, turn off all distractions (both internal and external), concentrate intensely, and return to the original task again and again. To begin hyperfocusing, consider how long you want to focus and what types of distractions might interfere. Then set yourself a time limit and do your best.

Lesson 3: Reduce as many distractions as possible.

You can classify distractions by whether or not you have influence over them and whether or not they are pleasant or frustrating. Telephone alarms, for example, can be a frustrating form of self-controllable distraction, while telephone calls can be a pleasant form of uncontrollable distraction.

Irrelevancies can come from your own thoughts or from your environment. Start by ridding your workspace of distractions if you want to increase your productivity.

Put on some light music and replace the distractions with a whiteboard and other items that can help you get more done. Make to-do lists and fill a calendar with important dates and other tasks to get the ideas floating around in your head out there and create mental space for the task at hand.

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Lesson 4: To immerse yourself in the hyperfocus process, choose to complete more complex tasks.

If you want to fully engage in the hyperfocus process, an effective strategy is to consciously choose to complete more complex tasks. This is because complex tasks require more attention than simple ones, so you are forced to focus more intently on your work and your mind has less opportunity to digress.

The difficulty level of your work should not overwhelm your abilities. How much you become engrossed in a task is directly proportional to how well you accomplish that task. If the task is too easy for you, you will become bored; if it is too difficult, you will become nervous.

It is possible that your mind will resist your efforts at hyperfocus. As a countermeasure, you should shorten the duration of your hyperfocus at the beginning of your journey until the resistance is gone. You need to review your time management and make some changes. Making hyperfocus a daily habit and realizing that you need to replenish energy when your mind starts resisting the process can also help you overcome mental resistance.

Lesson 5: You can enter scatterfocus mode by relaxing and allowing your thoughts to wander.

However, while your brain is most productive in hyperfocus, it’s most creative in scatterfocus. The key to scatterfocus mode is to relax and let your mind wander. It’s the opposite of tunnel vision. In this mode, you work whenever you’re doing something unfamiliar, such as jogging or riding a bike.

In terms of productivity and creativity, scatter focus offers three main advantages. The first benefit is that it makes it easier to plan for the future and achieve those goals.

If you can’t divert your attention from the immediate situation, it becomes difficult to set goals. Taking a break and letting your mind wander can help you decide what to do next. Involuntary future planning takes place when the brain is at rest. What it really needs is time and distance.

A second benefit is that scattering your thoughts gives you a chance to rest and recover. Focusing on one thing all day requires a lot of mental energy, even if you manage and guard your attention space. Therefore, with the help of Scatterfocus you can maintain your concentration longer.

Finally, scatterfocus can create original thoughts. It enhances imagination by bringing disparate ideas back together and bringing forgotten ideas back to light. Focusing on nothing in particular improves the brain’s ability to make connections. If you’re working on something particularly creative, it’s best to focus less.

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Lesson 6: Take a mental break to refresh your mind.

The effort you have to put in to maintain your focus while hyperfocused can deplete your reserves over time. Scatterfocus mode helps you refuel. The more often you use it, the more energy you’ll have for the things that really matter.

The tremendous benefits of regular scatterfocus can be achieved through a variety of fun and refreshing break activities without negatively impacting your ability to hyperfocus after the break. Find something you can do at work at least twice a day that you enjoy doing in your free time.

Make a pact with yourself that you will do the work every day. You could take a walk around the office, go to the gym down the hall, or meet up with some of your most motivating colleagues.

Make these activities a mental break from heavy thoughts. A walk in the park, a run through the woods, meditation, reading for pleasure, listening to music or a podcast, or just spending time with friends are all great alternatives.

Hyperfocus Quotes

“When your mind is even slightly resisting a task, it will look for more novel things to focus on.”


“The most focus-conducive environments are those in which you’re interrupted and distracted the least.”


“Whenever I have to focus, I adopt the two tactics mentioned above—and I also bring a pen and a notepad with me.”


“Just as you are what you eat, you are what you pay attention to. Attention is finite and is the most valuable ingredient you have to live a good life—so make sure everything you consume is worthy of it.”


“One of my (many) habits that bother my fiancée is that I tear out the first page of every book I read to use as a bookmark. (She argues this is sacrilegious; I say there are more copies of the same book at the store.”


“While you can improve your attention span, it’s only a matter of time until it begins to waver.”

View our larger collection of the best Hyperfocus quotes.

About The Author

Chris Bailey is a productivity expert and author from the United States. He is the bestselling author of The Productivity Project (2016), which has been translated into eleven different languages. He has given productivity talks all over the world. He’s written for major publications like The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal.

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