Today I had an experience I haven't had in a while. I started doing some things this morning that needed to be done; but they weren't what I planned on doing. The trouble was that it felt really good to do them, I could finally get it taken care of, I didn't mind doing it for once, and I wasn't really working hard to get them done.
This can happen with hyperfocus- where you get so focused on something it is hard and even painful to break it off; or it can just happen with a sort of flow.
There are some things that can help manage this accidental flow or accidental hyperfocus:
- as always, identify what's going on
- check with yourself whether there's anything super critical that you need to be doing instead
- check your mental and physical energy level or state
- stop struggling against your state of being
In my case this morning, my mental energy is somewhat low, and my
attention is somewhat foggy. I'm at the end of a pregnancy and it
basically feels like I'm losing neurons by the hour. But, it also feels
the same as when I'm having a bad focus day or a very tired day in general. It's hard right now
because I'd love to be efficiently finishing up a pile of things, tying
up loose ends, in a way that takes more intentional focus than I've got
right now. But if I fight with how I'm doing, I'll just get tired and frustrated, and waste a whole lot of time trying. Hence tip #4. Sometimes it's possible to improve focus or energy, but not by struggling!
I want to add that sometimes if you are having a terrible day mentally and/or physically, it works well to proactively choose to let yourself get hyperfocused on something or to find some kind of flow of tasks that you wouldn't have gone with initially. In other words, you're making the best of an imperfect situation. For me, that's when I might put on some energetic music and start filing papers or cleaning out my inbox; a task where I don't have to do a lot of planning or thinking, I just do what's in front of me. The task can be chosen based on how you're feeling. Today, it happened by accident, but that's ok, too.